Bus Safety Victoria (BSV), the state’s independent regulator of bus safety legislation, spent a busy weekend working with inspectors from the Victoria Police Heavy Vehicle Unit (HVU), targeting buses being used to bring tourists to the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, and the Dunkeld Races.

“Our teams gather and monitor intelligence which has provided clear indications that some operators of ‘tour and charter’ bus services are choosing to operate outside of the law,” said Acting Director of Bus Safety, Lisa Faldon.

“This has significant potential implications for the safety of the passengers on their buses, as well as other road users. We recognise that the majority of operators in Victoria do the right thing.  But where people are wanting to take shortcuts with safety, we will be looking to catch them in the act and hold them accountable.”

Over 50 million overseas and domestic visitors come to regional Victoria every year.

“Many of those visitors, particularly overseas visitors, may be unaware of the laws in place to ensure that bus operators meet established safety requirements,” said Lisa Faldon.

“It is essential that people operating a bus service are appropriately accredited, that their buses meet the required safety standards, and that drivers hold the required license.”

“It’s also important that when long distances are involved, that drivers are managing fatigue appropriately.  These are safety non-negotiables, and we and our compliance partners will continue to hold operators accountable to meet these standards,” she added.

With growing interest in visiting Victoria’s natural attractions, we anticipate a busy summer season.

“Where operators are taking tourists, they can expect to see us waiting to make sure that passengers are not being put at risk,” added Lisa Faldon.

This activity is part of a program of work conducted by Bus Safety Victoria’s compliance and audit teams every year, demonstrating the regulator’s continued focus on the safety of people who use buses throughout Victoria.

Dunkeld operations summary

  • 35 buses were inspected at the Dunkeld Races by BSV and Victoria Police HVU staff.
  • 6 buses were detected which were being operated without the required permission from BSV.
  • 2 buses were grounded, with those operators having to make other arrangements to get their passengers home.
  • 6 infringement notices were issued by the Victoria Police HVU for fatigue related offences and for drivers not maintaining their work diaries as required.
  • A number of defective vehicles were detected, with defect notices issued for those buses.

Twelve Apostles operations summary

  • 31 buses were inspected at the Twelve Apostles by BSV and Victoria Police HVU staff,
  • 10 infringement notices issued to drivers, largely for log book offences,
  • 2 defect notices issued for buses which did not meet required standards.

In addition, a bus was detected at the Twelve Apostles that was suspected to be operated by a suspended operator. Despite being advised that the bus was not permitted to operate, the driver left the scene. We are working to verify the identity of the bus operator. Investigations revealed that the suspected operator had at no time been accredited to operate a bus service. However, the driver did possess the required qualifications to drive a bus.

Operators detected over the weekend who were operating outside of the requirements of the law will be followed up by BSV and further action taken.

BSV greatly appreciates the participation of Victoria Police in undertaking our compliance activities”, said Lisa Faldon, “as it means that we can address a full range of bus safety related issues.”

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