Maintenance management systems
Accredited bus operators must develop their own maintenance management system (MMS) based on their own operating conditions, risks, incident history and determined safety objectives.
The purpose of an MMS is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that each bus operated by an accredited bus operator is safe and roadworthy whenever it is carrying passengers.
An MMS is applicable to accredited operators of a commercial or a local bus service, and persons who are accountable to the accredited operator for the maintenance and repair of buses.
An accredited bus operator must establish and maintain a system for ensuring that the buses they operate are maintained in accordance with the following requirements.
The MMS may assist an accredited bus operator to meet its obligations under the Bus Safety Act and associated regulations. There are separate requirements for:
- Accountabilities and authorities
- Defect reporting and clearance
Accountabilities and authorities
The accountabilities and authorities for persons involved in all activities associated with an MMS must be clearly defined and documented.
Each person who has a role under an MMS must be appropriately trained and have the required competence to perform that role.
An MMS must prescribe maintenance activities as specified by the manufacturer or other sources deemed appropriate by the accredited bus operator.
An MMS must prescribe an inspection regime for pre-trip inspections which includes the following items:
- A requirement that inspections are completed prior to the first passenger carrying trip on each operating day
- Clear identification of the person undertaking the inspection, the date, bus details and result of the inspection
- A system to ensure and record that each bus is checked in accordance with a checklist
- A checklist that references any documentation deemed appropriate by the operator
- A requirement that a bus is not operated if any defects are identified.
Vehicle safety inspections
An MMS must prescribe an inspection regime for vehicle safety inspections (VSIs) which includes a specification that the maximum permissible inspection interval is:
- As specified by the vehicle manufacturer and or reference to any other relevant source
- In the event where the manufacturer does not specify inspection intervals or other relevant source is unavailable, three months (plus or minus seven days) or a specified travel distance, whichever occurs first.
Annual bus safety inspections
An MMS must prescribe an inspection regime for annual bus safety inspections which includes a requirement that:
- An accredited bus operator must ensure that each bus used to provide a commercial bus service or local bus service undergoes a safety inspection in accordance with the regulations annually, or at prescribed intervals
- The date of the first annual bus safety inspection is the anniversary date for each bus and the inspection must be completed annually.
Following industry consultations, an annual safety inspection (ASI) may now be substituted for one of the required quarterly vehicle safety inspections (VSI) by complying with this guidance.
The reverse, however, is not the case, a VSI may not be undertaken in place of an ASI. All operators must ensure that each bus used to provide a service undergoes an ASI.
The following guidance outlines the requirements and examples should you decide to introduce the process into your maintenance management system.
Note 1 - Accredited bus operators
Accredited bus operators must use the appropriate references to develop an inspection regime of sufficient detail to satisfy themselves that the buses within their fleet are safe and roadworthy at all times.
References must include, but are not limited to, vehicle manufacturer's specifications, national heavy vehicle inspection manual and any applicable legislation or vehicle standards.
Note 2 - To assist accredited bus operators
To assist accredited bus operators to determine the appropriate frequency of vehicle safety inspections for the buses in their fleet, the age of a bus shall be determined in the following manner:
- For an Australian manufactured new bus: the date of registration of body or chassis, whichever is earlier
- For an Australian manufactured second hand bus: the date of first registration of body or chassis, whichever is earlier
- For an imported new bus: the date of registration of body or chassis, or Australian compliance plate, whichever is earlier
- For an imported second hand bus: the date of manufacture of body or chassis, whichever is earlier.
Defect reporting and clearance
An MMS must establish processes to identify, record, report and address defects in buses. An MMS must contain the following processes and treatments for defects:
- Method(s) for preventing a bus from use until any defect(s) are repaired
- References must include, but are not limited to, vehicle manufacturer's specifications, national heavy vehicle inspection manual and any applicable legislation or vehicle standards, for the development and maintenance of inspection checklists and for defect identification
- Recording and reporting procedures for any defect discovered during operation, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that appropriate action is taken in relation to that defect.
Records of all activities associated with an MMS must be identified and maintained in English and held for a minimum of three years.
Accredited bus operators should reference these documents when developing their MMS:
- Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic)
- Bus Safety Regulations 2020 (Vic)
- Vehicle Standards Information – VicRoads
- Vehicle manufacturer specifications and manuals – Available from manufacturers
- Heavy Vehicle National Law and Regulations and Inspection Manual – National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)
Unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms have the following meanings:
- Accredited bus operator: a person who holds accreditation under Part 4 of the Bus Safety Act.
- Anniversary date: the date of the bus safety inspection for each bus. Subsequent inspections must be completed annually.
- Bus: has the same meaning as set out in section 3 of the Bus Safety Act.
- Defect: a defect is present if any circumstance that would render the bus unroadworthy or unsafe, as described in applicable Vehicle Standards Information Bulletins or the Standards for Registration, applies to a particular part or system being examined.
- Annual bus safety inspection: an inspection of each bus operated by an accredited bus operator, as required by section 19(1) of the Bus Safety Act.
- Licensed bus tester: a person who holds a tester's licence issued under Chapter 6 of the Road Safety (Vehicles) Regulations 2009 (Vic) authorising the person to examine and test buses.
- MMS: a system for managing vehicle maintenance.
- Nominated manager: an individual who has been nominated by a body corporate to act on behalf of the body corporate.
- Person: for the purpose of accreditation under Part 4 of the Bus Safety Act is an individual or body corporate (see Who can apply?)
- Pre-trip inspection: an inspection that is completed prior to each operator's first passenger carrying trip each day, and includes as a minimum the inspection elements set out on this page.
- Vehicle safety inspection: an inspection completed at defined intervals by a qualified person, and includes as a minimum the inspection elements set out in the inspections section above.
- Qualified person for the purposes of vehicle safety inspections, means:
- a motor mechanic who has completed a motor mechanics apprenticeship and gained a certificate of proficiency or certificate of completion or a person who has been trained overseas and obtained the equivalent qualification in NZ or the city and guilds 1, 2 and 3 from England
- a person who having been trained overseas, has obtained a Commonwealth tradesman's right, or
- a person who has had seven adult years trade experience as a motor mechanic and has obtained a tradesman's right, or
- a person who is a full or associate member of the Institute of Automotive and Mechanical Engineers (IAME)
- a person who is qualified with the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) as a motor mechanic, senior motor mechanic or "A" grade motor mechanic
- a person who holds a certificate issued in recognition of prior learning by Bus Association Victoria Inc or other training provider accredited by the appropriate TAFE body.
We have put together some practical examples to help you develop your own MMS. You can download these as a PDF or accessible Word document: