Bus safety legislation

The Bus Safety Act 2009 and the Bus Safety Regulations 2010 are designed to promote an improved safety culture across bus operations, and apply to all commercial and non-commercial operations.

The Act came into full operation on 31 December 2010, replacing part of the Public Transport Competition Act 1995 (renamed the Bus Services Act 1995) and the Public Transport Competition Regulations 1999. 

Bus Safety Act overview

The Bus Safety Act provides a modern 'best practice' regulatory framework designed to assist in maintaining and improving the Victorian bus industry's good safety record.

The Act imposes 'safety duties' on bus operators and all others who have a role in providing both commercial and non-commercial bus services. It encourages greater safety awareness across all types of bus operations.

Compared with previous legislation, the Act significantly extended the range of enforcement powers and sanctions available to the safety regulator.

The Bus Safety Act:

  • Provides that an operator or procurer of a bus service 'must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety of the bus service'.
  • Provides that a bus safety worker 'must take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of persons who may be affected by the acts or omissions of the bus safety worker'.
  • Provides that a person who determines the location of a bus stop, or designs, constructs, installs, modifies or maintains a bus stop, 'must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the location, design, construction or condition of the bus stop is safe'.
  • Defines a bus to include minibuses (buses with 10 to 12 seats including the driver). This aligned the definition with the Australian Design Rules (ADR) and a majority of Australian jurisdictions.
  • Allows for large taxi-cabs and vehicles that do not meet other aspects of the ADR definition (such as stretch limousines) to be opted out of the bus safety regime.
  • Re-defines courtesy buses operated by hotels or in association with other paid services as commercial.
  • Excludes Hummers from the definition of a bus (they continue to be regulated as hire cars).
  • Provides an extensive hierarchy of enforcement powers and sanctions to the safety regulator (the Director, Public Transport Safety), allowing greater flexibility for the regulator to deal with safety breaches in a proportionate way. The hierarchy ranges from warnings and safety directions to improvement and prohibition notices and then to fines and suspension or cancellation of accreditation.

Bus Safety Regulations 2010

The Bus Safety Regulations 2010 cover matters such as:

  • bus operations, including maximum number of passengers, bus standards, signage etc
  • accreditation matters, including accreditation applications, fees, conditions, record keeping, management systems etc
  • registration applications
  • bus inspections; and
  • incident reporting and investigations.

For more information, please contact Bus Safety Victoria, a branch of Transport Safety Victoria.