Obligations of registered bus operators in Victoria

Bus operator registration is subject to conditions under law. This page provides an overview of these conditions with links to further information.

Certificate of registration

Bus operators must keep their certificate of registration and must be able to produce if requested by Bus Safety Victoria. If the operator ceases to operate the service they must return the certificate to us.

Notification of changes

Bus operators must update their details with us if:

  • the nature of the bus service changes
  • the details specified in the application for registration change
  • the operator of the bus service ceases to operate the bus service.

Duty of operator to ensure safety

Bus operators must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety of the bus service in determining what is reasonably practicable. Consideration must be given to:

  • The likelihood of the hazard or risk
  • The degree of harm that would result if the hazard or risk eventuated
  • What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk and any ways of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk
  • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce the hazard or risk
  • The cost of eliminating or reducing the hazard or risk.

Annual bus safety inspections

A registered bus operator must ensure that each bus used to provide the service undergoes an annual bus inspection by a licensed bus tester.

Alcohol and drug management policy

A registered bus operator must develop, maintain and implement a written alcohol and drug management policy. This must be developed in consultation with bus safety workers or contractors. 

The policy must specify that a bus driver must not have alcohol or drugs present in their blood or breath immediately before or while driving a bus. It must also comply with any guidelines regarding the form and content of alcohol and drug management policies issued by Bus Safety Victoria.

Maximum number of passengers

For each bus used to provide the bus service, the bus operator must:

  • Determine the maximum number of passengers that may be safely carried on each bus
  • Maintain a record of the number
  • Ensure that the driver of each bus is aware of the number recorded.

Bus standards

The bus operator must ensure that every bus complies with each bus standard that is applicable to the bus unless an exclusion applies, or we have granted an exemption.

Devices for school buses

If you are operating a school bus service you must ensure that any bus used to provide such a service is fitted with complying lights and signs.

Fire extinguishers

The operator of a bus service must ensure that each bus used in the provision of the bus service is not used unless all fire extinguishers fitted to that bus are maintained in operating condition.

Driver licence requirements

A registered bus operator must ensure that each person who drives a bus holds an appropriate driver licence for the category of motor vehicle that person is driving for the registered bus operator. 

An appropriate driver licence is:

  • A full driver licence for that category of motor vehicle or an equivalent driver licence issued in another jurisdiction
  • Where the registered bus operator has been granted permission under section 22(5A) of the Act to use probationary drivers, a probationary driver licence for that category of motor vehicle (section 22A(4)-(5) of the Act).

A bus operator who is registered in respect of a commercial minibus service must ensure that a person driving a bus for that bus service is the holder of a driver accreditation under Division 5 of Part VI of the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic) to drive that bus.

Duty to notify us of incidents

A registered bus operator must verbally notify Bus Safety Victoria as soon as possible after becoming aware that a bus incident has occurred.

You must provide us with a written notification of any bus incident within 72 hours of the bus incident, unless we have agreed in writing to an extension of time. The notification form is available to download from the report a bus incident page on this website.

Bus incident investigation

If directed by Bus Safety Victoria to do so in writing, a registered bus operator must undertake an investigation into a bus incident.