Safety was top of mind for Acting Director, Bus Safety, Lisa Faldon when she learned 20,000 people and 400 buses were expected at the Rutherglen Winery Walkabout in north-east Victoria.

“The safety regulator plays a role at these big events. Thousands of people are travelling on hundreds of buses to have a good time and I need to know they will get home safely.

“At Rutherglen 370 private buses were carrying the majority of 20,000 people between 19 wineries increasing the potential risk for a bus incident.

“Our presence at these events helps reduce risks,” said Ms Faldon.

Six members of the Bus Safety Victoria (BSV) compliance squad partnered with the Victoria Police Heavy Vehicle Unit (HVU) in a joint operation enforcing bus safety at Rutherglen over the Queen’s birthday weekend.

Three teams inspected 58 buses and issued:

  • Twelve defect notices for problems including worn tyres, cracked windscreens, inoperative headlights, and oil leaks
  • Two infringements for failing to hold driver accreditation
  • Two infringements for out-of-date fire extinguishers.

“Festival goers experienced minimal inconvenience as the buses were inspected in the parking areas.

“In the two instances where drivers did not hold driver accreditation they were prohibited from continuing to drive the bus. Replacement drivers were quickly sourced so festival revellers could continue their journey with minimal impact.

“Our team spoke with many festival goers and private bus hirers and they were sure their safety was being taken care of by someone else. And they are quite right. It is a fundamental requirement of a bus operator to run buses safely.

“No one expects to be in a bus incident and reducing that risk is at the heart of bus safety regulation.

“We had great feedback from good operators who welcomed us at the event and asked us to keep coming back. Nearly all of them are doing the right thing, they are proud that they are complying and rightly so.

“Operators doing the wrong thing ruin the entire industry’s reputation.

“We set a high standard in Victoria. We believe in safety regulations because when they are adhered to it helps save lives.

“Thank you to the compliant operators for helping maintain the reputation of Victoria’s private bus industry. They do their utmost to provide a safe service and play a part in getting people home safely,” said Ms Faldon.