Regulator prosecutes bus operator after fatal crash on Great Ocean Road

24 August 2018

Bus Safety Victoria (BSV), a branch of regulator Transport Safety Victoria, has prosecuted a bus operator after one of his vehicles was involved in a fatal crash on the Great Ocean Road.

While the operator was not the driver of the bus, Frank Chang (trading as DCT Tour) was providing a bus service which rolled on the Great Ocean Road near Glenaire in April 2017, resulting in one fatality and serious injuries to several other passengers.

Chang was using the bus under a long-term lease from an accredited bus operator, but provided services without holding the accreditation required under the Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic).

Accreditation imposes strict requirements on operators: to have appropriate safety management systems in place that are regularly audited, for all buses to pass regular roadworthy inspections, and for drivers to be appropriately trained and supervised.

“Our growing intelligence base about some tour and charter operators has given us sufficient safety concerns to increase our compliance work in that area”, said Director of Bus Safety, Shaun Rodenburg.

“This prosecution, and ongoing BSV activities, demonstrates our increasing enforcement pressure on those who put bus passengers at risk in Victoria.”

Following an investigation by BSV, Chang was charged with operating a commercial bus service without being accredited, as well as displaying accredited bus operator number plates on a bus when not accredited.

The matter was heard on Wednesday 22 August at the Heidelberg Magistrates' Court. Chang pleaded guilty and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $10,000 to the Court Fund.

“The significant fine for this offence reflects the importance of bus operator accreditation as a means of ensuring public safety.

“BSV conducts regular activities to ensure bus operators are appropriately permissioned and complying with accreditation conditions,” Mr Rodenburg said.

Also on 22 August, BSV conducted a compliance activity with Victoria Police in Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road. One of BSV’s Transport Safety Officers discovered a bus service where the driver didn’t have the appropriate driver accreditation and the bus operator wasn’t accredited to provide the service.

The bus – a 21-seat Toyota Coaster with 15 passengers on board – was not permitted to continue.  BSV is continuing its investigation to ascertain further details about the operation of the bus service, while police are handling matters regarding breaches by the driver.

The detection of this operator was part of a routinely scheduled compliance activity targeting tour and charter buses visiting the region.

Media liaison: T 1800 223 022 E info@transportsafety.vic.gov.au