A Bendigo bus operator has had its accreditation suspended by Bus Safety Victoria (BSV) because of concerns about poor condition of buses and the potential for risk to passengers.

On Monday 23 September 2019, BSV invoked its suspension powers because months of working with the operator had failed to resolve a number of concerns.

Acting Bus Safety Director, Lisa Faldon said the operator was not permitted to provide a commercial bus service or local bus service while the suspension was in place.

“I have taken this action because of my concerns about

  • a number of recent serious incidents
  • the current un-roadworthy condition of the bus fleet
  • a number of non-compliances with this operator’s safety management systems.

“I question the extent to which this operator is able or willing to meet their responsibilities to adhere to requirements of the Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic) (BSA) and the Bus Safety Regulations 2010 (Vic).

A joint compliance activity with Bus Safety compliance officers, VicRoads and Victoria Police on 19 and 20 September at a Bendigo depot led to 14 buses being issued with a defect notice.

  • Seven buses had major defects and were subsequently grounded.
  • Seven buses had minor defects.

All buses will require a certificate of roadworthiness to clear the defect notices.

“Last Friday, notices were verbally given to three entities prohibiting them from providing bus services on the basis of the immediate risk to safety.

“BSV’s role is to ensure public confidence in the safety of travelling on buses and a consistent safety standard is essential for this.

“BSV will use all of its available powers and resources to take action against non-compliant operators to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities to provide a safe bus service to their passengers,” said Ms Faldon.

The suspension of bus operator accreditations will remain in place until an inquiry is held to determine whether further disciplinary action is warranted.