Focus on tour and charter bus sector safety

14 March 2019

During the recent Lunar New Year period, the state’s bus safety regulator conducted enforcement blitzes at iconic tourist attractions to help keep passengers safe.

Bus Safety Victoria, a branch of Transport Safety Victoria, focussed coordinated enforcement blitzes on tour and charter bus services on the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island.

Such enforcement activities are conducted regularly in response to intelligence obtained by Bus Safety Victoria.

Incident data, successful prosecutions and in-field intelligence suggest that shortcuts are being taken by some bus operators to meet the rapidly growing international tourist market. This puts passengers and other road users at risk.

Agency collaboration

In a collaborative partnership with the Victoria Police Heavy Vehicle Unit (HVU), the two agencies worked to ensure the compliance of drivers and operators with various legislated requirements, or ‘safety duties’.

The enforcement activity included a focus on requirements such as:

  • Management of driver fatigue
  • Driver licence and accreditation
  • Operator accreditation and registration requirements
  • Vehicle roadworthiness.

The Bus Safety Victoria team included a Chinese interpreter which proved effective in reducing language and cultural barriers. And a communications advisor also conducted interviews with drivers to gather qualitative analysis of driver and operator understanding of bus safety regulation in Victoria, and their safety duties.

An unexpected collaboration

Bus Safety Victoria regularly undertake enforcement activities with HVU, and VicRoads, however there was an unplanned addition to the enforcement effort on this occasion.

VFA and Safety Director

An inspection of one vehicle revealed an unusually large collection of fishing equipment, which prompted a phone call to nearby Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) officers so they could investigate.

Pictured: VFA officers speaking to Transport Safety Victoria's Safety Director, David Hourigan

Blitz results

  • 234 buses inspected in total at the Twelve Apostles and Phillip Island Penguin Parade
  • 26 vehicles found to have defects – two were grounded
  • 10 operators and drivers did not have the appropriate accreditation or registration
  • 40 work diary issues were detected – resulting in infringements being issued.

Ongoing collaboration

Such enforcement activities are conducted regularly in response to intelligence obtained by Bus Safety Victoria, in collaboration with partner enforcement agencies.

Past operations have included blitzes at Tullamarine Airport, the Dunkeld races and the Geelong Cup, and with the Australian Border Force targeting agricultural seasonal worker transport in Mildura.

Bus Safety Victoria will continue enforcement activities with partners throughout the year, balanced with community engagement and education efforts, to ensure bus safety is top of mind with the growing tour and charter transport sector.

Learn more about bus operator regulation in Victoria

Joint operation

Pictured: Officers from Bus Safety Victoria and the HVU during the enforcement blitz

BSV and HVU officers Grounded bus

Twelve Apostles

Pictured: The Twelve Apostles