Busting bus red tape in NSW

21 March 2013

Busting bus red tape in NSW

Supporting public transport on our roads

Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay today announced a busting of bus red tape to increase weight limits for two-axle buses operating in NSW.

“For more than a decade, transport operators and the tourism sector have been asking for increased mass limits to reflect the added weight of additional engineering and safety features on modern day buses and coaches.

“More robust suspension and braking systems, stronger roll cage features, steel frames to better anchor passenger seats, complex engine designs to reduce emissions and the provision of wheel chair lifts have all added to the overall weight of modern day buses.

“Dare I say, but modern day lifestyles have also contributed to an increase in average passenger weights,” said Minister Gay.

The national average weight for men is now at 86 kilograms and 71 kilograms for women*. When Australian Design Rules for buses and coaches were first implemented in 1989, the average weight was mandated at only 65 kilograms.

As a consequence of these changing factors, bus operators can sometimes find themselves exceeding current mass limits despite complying with manufacturer requirements and staying within legal passenger number limits.

Research suggests when most two axle buses exceed current mass limits it only occurs for very short periods and has minimal impacts on road ‘wear and tear’.

Minister Gay said the increase in mass for two axle buses is yet another safe and sensible road reform by the O’Farrell Government. Most chassis for two axle buses are manufactured in Europe and are designed to operate at mass limits greater than those permitted in the majority of Australian states.

“Major manufacturers like Scania, Mercedes and Volvo have been producing vehicle chassis designed to weigh 18 tonnes at Gross Vehicle Mass for a number of years. Our buses should be allowed to travel at the weight they are designed to safely operate at,” he said.

“The vast majority of two axle buses in NSW are used for route services in metropolitan and regional areas. This change will remove an unnecessary regulatory burden for these operators and support the NSW Government’s objective of increasing the use of public transport.”

The new mass increase will not compromise road safety as bus operators still have to make sure their vehicles comply with relevant safety requirements to be able to travel at 18 tonnes.

To take advantage of the reform, buses with a mass limit of 18 tonnes must have standard safety equipment, such as anti-lock braking and electronic braking systems. The mass limit increase will apply to route services and charter/coach services across NSW, and will come into effect from 19 April 2013.

*From the Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12:
http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.001Chapter1002011-12

View the original media release:
Busting bus red tape in NSW. 

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