Safety duties for bus operators

An operator of a bus service must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety of the bus service.

The information on this page provides guidance for bus operators on how to meet their safety duties.

Definition of a bus operator

A bus operator is the person responsible for controlling or directing the operations of a bus service in connection with a business or activity involving the transport of passengers. This does not include a person who:

  • arranges for the registration of a bus
  • maintains or arranges for the maintenance of a bus.

An operator of a bus service should consider:

  • the maintenance, servicing and inspection of buses
  • passenger safety
  • driver safety including, driver fitness and fatigue management
  • driver qualifications.

Managing difficult passengers

Drivers may encounter difficult or aggressive passengers during the course of their duties. These passengers have the potential to distract and distress the driver. More information about how to manage difficult passengers can be found on the managing difficult passengers page.

Alcohol and drug management

Accredited bus operators must develop their own alcohol and drug management policy. More information about what needs to be included in this policy is available on the alcohol and drug management page.

Driver accreditation

Driver accreditation is mandatory for drivers of commercial and local bus services.There are medical standards applicable to bus drivers. These standards are administered through the Taxi Services Commission, which licenses bus drivers.

Management information systems

Bus operators must develop their own management information system (MIS) based on their operating conditions, risks, incident history, and determined safety objectives. More information, including access to sample forms and case studies, is available on our website.

Maintenance management systems

Accredited bus operators must develop their own maintenance management system (MMS). The purpose of an MMS is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that each bus is safe and roadworthy whenever it is carrying passengers. More information about what needs to be included in an MMS is available on our website.

A factsheet providing information about safety duties for bus operators is available to download: