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. You should develop a method to handle these incidences.
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 is mandatory for drivers of commercial and local bus services.There are medical standards applicable to bus drivers. These standards are administered through Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) - formerly 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.
Certain previously registered operators were either deemed accredited on 1 March 2022 or otherwise exempt from the provisions of the Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic) and Bus Safety Regulations 2020 (Vic).
The exempted operators provide services with under 26 seats for:
- Religious purposes
- Philanthropic purposes
- Social purposes
If you provide one of the above services with a bus that has 27 or more adult seating position you must be accredited.
It is up to these operators to determine whether they fall under these categories.
Read more about fatigue management and work diaries on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website.