Dubbo Buslines is managing the first and free sanitisation station trial in country NSW for point-to-point vehicles including taxis which have been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSW Regional Transport Minister Paul Toole officially opened the station at the Dubbo Buslines White Street depot on Wednesday morning, a day after its "underemployed" taxi and bus drivers started "thoroughly" sanitising vehicles eligible for the service.
They include taxis, community transport and ride share vehicles.
The state government's fleet of vehicles including police cars and ambulances can also pull into the station open from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, and 7am to 4pm on Saturdays.
The state government is funding the trial which will run for "at least a few months", according to Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders who joined Mr Toole at the opening.
Both the minister and Mr Saunders emphasised the important role the sanitisation station would play in protecting drivers and passengers from Covid-19 and boosting community confidence in using point-to-point vehicles.
"This is a bit of a game-changer," Mr Saunders said.
"We're seeing taxi drivers already cleaning their own cabs but this way they are getting a deep clean at least once a day."
The group operations manager for Buslines Group, which owns Dubbo Buslines and 12 other operations in NSW, elaborated.
"It will be done at least once a day here and maybe twice a day, in the case of double shifts," Geoff Ferris said.
"If they had a vulnerable passenger they certainly could come even more."
Mr Ferris told of the impact of the pandemic on taxis in regional NSW during the official opening.
Dubbo Buslines has six taxis "as part of Dubbo Radio Cabs".
"The taxi business across regional NSW has been very hard hit," Mr Ferris said.
"If you take out every hotel, restaurant, cafe, bar in a country town there is no where else to go.. of a night, particularly."
He said weekend and night fares were down by 80 per cent.
Point to Point Transport Commissioner Anthony Wing is urging all taxis and booking service providers to use the station.
"Vehicle sanitisation includes disinfecting high-touch areas like outside and inside door handles, window controls, headrests and payment terminals," he said.
"Drivers are also encouraged to do spot cleans in between sanitisation as they continue to deliver their essential service to the community.
"We encourage all point-to-point vehicles including community transport and wheelchair accessible taxi vehicles to come through for sanitisation as they support the needs of our most vulnerable passengers."
Mr Toole outlined further measures making public transport "safe" such as "enhanced cleaning" on trains and coaches and limited bookings on TrainLink services to enable social distancing.
"We don't want our public transport to be the mode that's going to spread the virus," he said.