Transcript for bus operator accreditation video

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Hello and welcome to Transport Safety Victoria.

As the safety regulator for bus transport in Victoria, TSV is responsible for:

  1. Registering and accrediting bus operators
  2. Monitoring their safety performance and safety compliance
  3. Taking enforcement action where necessary, as well as investigating and reporting on bus safety matters
  4. Providing advice and recommendations to the government on transport safety issues
  5. Collecting, analysing and reporting on safety data, and
  6. Providing guidance and training to promote awareness of bus safety issues.

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Aimed at promoting continuous improvement and public confidence in bus safety, Victoria enacted new safety legislation, the Bus Safety Act, in 2009.

The Act and its accompanying regulations deal with:

  1. The effective management of safety risks in bus operations
  2. Continuous improvement in bus safety management
  3. The involvement of relevant stakeholders in bus safety, and
  4. Promoting a safety culture among all those involved in providing a bus service.

The purpose of this video is to provide you, as a future bus operator, with the information you need when applying for bus operator accreditation and, once accredited, how you can to continue to comply with your legal obligations as an accredited bus operator.

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A vehicle that carries nine or less people on a commercial basis is not classified as a bus under the Bus Safety Act, even though it could possibly look like a bus.

In these circumstances, the operator requires a license from the Taxi Services Commission and not accreditation or registration.

If your vehicle carries 10 or more people – including the driver – it is a bus as far as the Act is concerned.

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Bus services where operators are required to be accredited by Transport Safety Victoria are those that are provided for profit using a bus built with seating for 13 or more adult passengers (including the driver).

These include commercial bus services, such as:

  1. Route bus services
  2. Demand responsive bus services
  3. Tour and charter bus services
  4. Courtesy bus services, as well as
  5. Local bus services, which seat 13 or more adults, are operated on a regular basis or subject to demand, and are available to the general public at no extra cost.

The second category includes those services provided on a not-for-profit basis and are either community and private bus services provided by religious, educational, health, welfare, philanthropic, sporting or social bodies; commercial mini-bus services, or bus services that only use 10, 11 or 12 seat buses to provide a route bus service, or a demand responsive bus service or a tour and charter bus service. The operators of these services are only required to be registered by TSV.

A privately owned bus and used for personal purposes only, is not covered by the Bus Safety Act and does not need registration or accreditation.

If in doubt, please contact Transport Safety Victoria on 1800 223 022 and follow the prompts to speak to a member of the Bus Safety branch.

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Before applying for accreditation, you should determine whether in fact you do need to be accredited and think about whether you wish to apply as:

  1. an individual person
  2. a body corporate
  3. a partnership, or
  4. an unincorporated body or association.

When applying you will need to provide Transport Safety Victoria with:

  1. A completed application – the form is available from TSV's website
  2. Proof of ID
  3. A copy of current roadworthy certificates from a licenced bus tester for each bus to be used in your bus service
  4. The dates of any previous licence, registration or accreditation held by the applicant for the operation of a bus service
  5. Evidence of the successful completion of an approved training course, if the applicant has completed such training
  6. A National Police Certificate issued by Victoria Police of all individuals involved in the application, and
  7. A copy of your management information system and your maintenance management system. These systems must comply with the requirements notified by the Safety Director. Guidance for those requirements can be found in the publications section on the TSV website.

You will also need to provide evidence of your competency to safely operate you bus service. Later in this presentation we will detail the option you have for evidencing your competency.

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Applicants for accreditation must demonstrate that they have the competence and capacity to safely operate their commercial bus service.

While many safety risks apply to all bus services, each bus service will have its own unique safety risks which the operator will need to manage if they are to operate safely.

It is important to understand that accreditation is not automatic and, before approving any application, the Director Transport Safety must be satisfied that an applicant has the competence and capacity to operate safely.

To that end there are three options for demonstrating competence:

Option 1. You can successfully complete the Safety Management Course for Bus Operators. This course is two units of distant learning provided by Monash University. Applicants who provide evidence of successful completion of the Safety Management Course are judged by TSV to meet their obligation to demonstrate their competence to safely operate their bus service. Information on the Safety Management Course is available from TSV's website and also directly from Monash University.  

Option 2 is to provide a statement of competence against each of the Safety Management course's learning outcomes. These are listed on TSV's website.

TSV has an expert panel that will assess these statements and evidence and the panel will make a recommendation to the Safety Director as to whether the applicant has demonstrated the required competence.

The final option is to evidence competence by other means – normally this involves a complete audit of the applicant's bus operation including extensive interviews with all persons of authority in the applicant's organisation. And a detailed assessment of their safety qualifications and experience. On completion of this process all of the evidence provided by the applicant is then assessed by the expert panel and a recommendation is made to the Safety Director.

Demonstrating the capacity to manage the safety of a bus service is in some ways simpler – the applicant must provide with their application:

  1. A copy of their management information system and their maintenance management system (which by the way needs to comply with these documents – both are downloadable from the TSV website)
  2. Copies of current roadworthy certificates.
  3. A national police check for all individuals involved in the application. This includes all members of the committee of management in an association and each of the company's directors and officers in a body corporate, a company, co-operative or an incorporated association.

If the person is not a natural person (such as a body corporate) and the application nominates a responsible person – a police check for that person must also be supplied with the application.

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Once your application is received by TSV, a Bus Safety Assessment Officer will check that all required sections of the application have been correctly completed, that the application is correctly signed and dated, and that the required copies of supporting evidence such as roadworthy certificates are attached.

If any part of the application or supporting documents is missing, your application cannot be processed.

Once the application is complete, you will be assessed as to your competence and capacity to conduct safe bus operations.

Your management information system and maintenance management system will be scrutinized by TSV's accreditation staff and, where necessary, the various subject matter experts such as risk engineers will assist in assessing the application.

Once satisfied that you have provided sufficient evidence that you have the competence and capacity to safely operate your bus service, the Safety Director will approve your application and you will be issued with your accreditation certificate and conditions of accreditation.
 
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To maintain your accreditation you must ensure:

  1. All drivers who drive a bus for a commercial bus service or local bus service hold a driver accreditation.
  2. All buses must comply with the vehicle standards applicable to buses under the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic), and comply with any prescribed requirements (section 35(b), Bus Safety Act).
  3. You must produce your certificate of accreditation whenever required by TSV. The accreditation certificate must not be defaced or altered in any way.
  4. If you have nominated a Responsible Person and that person ceases to be an employee or officer, you must ensure that another employee or officer completes the Safety Management Course for Bus Operators prior to taking up their duties. If this is not possible due to unforeseen circumstances the bus operator may apply to TSV to permit the new Responsible Person to undertake the Safety Management Course within a specified time after commencing in the role.
  5. You must determine the maximum number of passengers that can be safely carried on each of your buses and make your drivers aware of the seating capacity of the buses they are driving. Guidance on how you can determine this number and how you should display this information on your bus is available from the TSV website or by contacting the Manager, Compliance and Information on 1800 223 022.
  6. When operating a school bus service then you must also ensure that it is fitted with complying school bus lights and signs. There must also be adequate controls in place at all times to ensure the school bus lights are operated whenever the school bus is stationary on a roadway or highway picking up or setting down school children. Drivers of school buses must notify you whenever the school bus lights fail to operate as required. And, that bus must not be used to provide a school bus service until the defective lights are fixed.
  7. All buses must have serviceable fire extinguishers. All your buses must display accredited bus operator number plates and any signage required by written notice  from TSV.
  8. There must be a written alcohol and drug policy in place at all times that as a minimum requires your drivers to have no alcohol or drugs present in their blood or breath immediately before or while driving your bus. Refer to the TSV website for details or contact the Manager, Compliance and Information on 1800 223 022
  9. As an accredited bus operator, you must audit your management information and maintenance management systems at least annually.

Finally, your annual accreditation fee must be paid within 14 days of your accreditation being granted and within 14 days of the anniversary of your accreditation each year you maintain your accreditation.

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It is important that you provide a compliant management information system and a compliant maintenance management system with your accreditation application. The MIS is in eleven parts covering:

  1. Safety policy
  2. Governance and internal control arrangements
  3. Documented safety accountabilities and authorities
  4. Information management process
  5. Safety information communication process
  6. Drug and alcohol management policy
  7. Hazard, risk and change management process
  8. Emergency management process
  9. Process to establish bus safety worker competence
  10. Processes for incident reporting and investigation, and
  11. Internal audit procedures.

The MMS has six parts:

  1. Accountabilities and authorities
  2. Competence
  3. Maintenance
  4. Inspections
  5. Defect reporting and clearance, and
  6. Records

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If you are unsure about your bus operator application, please contact Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) on 1800 223 022 or email us at information@transportsafety.vic.gov.au