Shirley Ann Styles, formerly trading as J & S Transport Geelong, pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates Court on two charges: Operating a bus service without accreditation and failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

Director, Bus Safety, Stephen Turner said the successful prosecution sends a clear warning to others who choose to operate unsafe bus services in Victoria.

“Operators who are not compliant with the safety rules and regulations are put on notice. Bus Safety Victoria compliance activities uncover those who choose to flout the letter of the law.

“Often we work with operators to rectify the concerns without the requirement to take legal action. However in cases such as this one where we have issued warnings, prohibition notices and tried reasonable measures to help the operator meet their obligations, enforcement is the only viable recourse.

“Being accredited means that a bus service meets the standards and conditions required under the Bus Safety Act 2010 (Vic). Without accreditation, an operator is unable to satisfy safety obligations.

“We have attempted to remedy the non-compliant issues with J & S Transport since 2012. To ignore an illegal operation would be a dereliction of our duty to the Victorian community to effectively regulate the state’s bus services.

“Repeat offenders responsible for operations that are not compliant with the regulations will find that their buses will be given infringement notices and in some cases ordered to suspend operation immediately.

“I would advise those in the industry who believe they are above the law to take note of what happened to J & S Transport. It could happen to any operator who does not give their safety obligations the priority they deserve,” said Mr Turner.

The Magistrate presiding over the case made clear the serious nature of the offences and the potential penalties, but took into account mitigating factors such as an early plea of guilty, no prior offending and the closure of the business.

The imposed penalty included being placed on a 12 month good behaviour bond – without conviction. Ordered to pay a fine of $1000 as well as $800 to KIDS foundation in compensation for a non-returned bond.