Message from the Executive Director
Bus and coach services are attracting a lot of attention with the extensive media coverage associated with the Greta crash. If you follow NSW news, you would also be aware of the NSW Bus Industry Taskforce appointed by the Minns Government to determine how to deliver more efficient and reliable services and make recommendations to the Government on how to address so called “bus operators’ performance issues”.
Whilst public transport is primarily a state and territory government issue where each state does things a little differently, it is well known
that what happens in NSW can have implications for what is happening in the other states and territories. We are consequently closely watching the progress of the NSW Bus Industry Taskforce and are intending to make a submission on behalf of the industry and directly engage with the Taskforce.
Our discussions and submissions with the Taskforce need to be evidence based. Consequently, the BIC held an operator’s roundtable at the beginning of August with the 6 big operators and we are planning a virtual roundtable for suppliers on 24 August. Invitations to the supplier roundtable will be sent out shortly. If you don’t receive an invitation but would like to participate, please get in touch with me directly.
We will keep you informed of this important work as well
as the outcomes of a newly announced Ministerial Roundtable on bus safety in the weeks ahead.
Executive Director, Bus Industry Confederation
Nominations for the 2023 National Achiever Award and the National Safety Award are now open. The National Achiever Award is open to BIC and APTIA operator members as well as operator members of state bus associations. The National Safety Award is open to both operators and suppliers.
The awards will be presented at the National Conference being held in Adelaide from 29 October to 1 November. Thanks to the award sponsors Sura Australian Bus and Coach and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
Nominations close 15 September 2023. Eligibility criteria and nomination forms can be downloaded from the BIC website.
Policy, Advocacy and Technical Updates
In the wake of the tragic bus crash at Greta, an Australian Buses Preventative Safety Taskforce has been formed. The Taskforce is headed up by John Gaffney – the father of the groom and a recognised road safety expert, Adam Bray – the father of one of the victims of the crash, and Alex Tigani – one of the survivors of the crash.
The BIC Secretariat met with John Gaffney ahead of the Taskforce meeting with Catherine King – Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development. We had the opportunity to discuss the
safety record of the bus and coach industry and provide technical background on the various standards, regulations and ADR’s in place which enforce high standards in both the vehicle design and service delivery to ensure the safety of passengers and other road users.
The Taskforce presented Minister King with a 7-point plan and called for the Australian government to establish a national taskforce to review safety protocols in the bus and coach industry. The plan proposed is outlined below.
- Compulsory provision of and wearing of seat belts on all buses including mini buses.
- Coach bus operators to provide a
fully trained professional “safety attendant” similar to commercial airline flight attendants to manage passenger seat belt wearing and other in cabin safety protocols.
- An intensive and sustained education program on seat belt wearing to the general public until a similar level of wearing is achieved to that of driving in cars.
- Improved selection, training and ongoing education for bus drivers including psychometric testing and the compulsory fitting of real time driver monitoring systems readily available in the market.
- A review of road design standards on motorway interchanges where the posted speed limit is well above the design standard.
- Bus roll over standards to be reviewed immediately including bus window glass and emergence access and egress. Bus rollover and stability test to be enhanced to provide for worst case loadings.
- All Australian buses to be equipped with the world’s best onboard and real time safety equipment such as:
- Speed limiters on all buses
- Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA)
- Vehicle Rollover Warning System – All heavy vehicles should have Roller Stability Control (RSC) technology installed especially buses
- eCall and bCall where emergency response to a traffic centre is automated following a crash or breakdown
- Automatic emergency braking (AEB installed on all buses
- Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems to be fitted to all buses carrying paid passengers
- A minimum standard test for a loaded bus for braking distance
- Lane Departure Warning System be provided on all buses
- As with aeroplanes all buses be fitted with data loggers (black box) which are regularly monitored using telematics for measuring speed and driver behaviour, against
speed limits and traffic and weather conditions. Monitoring could be undertaken by existing government bodies such as the Transport Certification Australia’s (TCA) – Intelligence Access Program (IAP). Non-compliant drivers can be reported to the authorities for prosecution and bus companies notified
- Legislation changes to allow all buses carrying passengers to be monitored by authorities.
In response to the request of the Taskforce, Senator Carol Brown – Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport has organised a Bus Safety Roundtable. The Senator has indicated that some form of bus safety forum or summit will be held to consider the proposal put forward by the Australian Buses Preventative Safety Taskforce. The BIC has assisted the Senator in
pulling together the Roundtable and she has invited the BIC to be an active participant at the Roundtable. We will continue to keep the industry informed on this important issue.
New ADR on reversing technologies
Australian Design Rule (ADR) 108/00 – Reversing Technologies has been published on the Federal Register of Legislation and is harmonised with United Nations Regulation No. 158 (R158). This new ADR mandates the installation of reversing technologies to increase driver awareness and vision of vulnerable road users behind a vehicle.
ADR 108/00 is applicable to all new vehicles and specifies the performance requirements for reversing technologies, such as reversing sensors, reversing camera systems and
rear-vision mirrors. The effected vehicle categories include: MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, NA, NB, and NC; specific applicability is provided in Section 3 of the ADR. The full ADR and explanatory statement is available online at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2023L01006/.
ADR108/00 will apply from 1 November 2025 for new models and from 1 November 2027 for all new vehicles (light, medium and heavy vehicles), with exceptions for prime movers and vehicle types/applications where installation is not suitable for their on-road use.
The Australian Government intends that ADR108/00
will play a critical role in reducing the number of reversing collisions with pedestrians that result in severe or fatal injuries. The Government anticipates better road safety outcomes for the broader Australian community—estimated to save 13 lives and prevent 140 serious and 62 minor injuries over 45 years.
New Standards – Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW)
TfNSW has requested the BIC to submit an industry response on their proposed package of four new technical standards which specify the requirements for battery electric buses / zero emission bus safety, interoperability and functional range.
- TS 00086 Battery Electric Buses – Electric Powertrain Safety
- TS 00089 Battery Electric Buses – Charging Interoperability
00090 Zero Emission Buses – Road Safety
- TS 00091 Battery Electric Buses – Functional Range
The BIC Secretariat recently emailed our supplier members inviting their feedback and suggestions to assist the BIC in formulating an industry response to TfNSW. For those companies that supply TfNSW with products/services, we encourage you to provide us with your views and suggestions to the BIC by 13th September. All responses will be treated in confidence. If you have any queries or comments, please contact Dean Moule via email email@example.com.
On a daily basis, the BIC Council and Secretariat advocates on behalf of the bus and coach industry. Often this is quiet advocacy via calls, emails and one to one meetings with senior bureaucrats, political staffers or with politicians themselves. At other times we are a lone voice for bus and coach at heavy vehicle industry stakeholder meetings.
Some advocacy highlights for July include:
The Minister also openly discussed with attendees their views and perspectives on road safety, network access and workforce issues throughout the industry.
Road Vehicle Standards – New Compliance and Enforcement Strategy 2023-26
The Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts has released a new Compliance and Enforcement Strategy 2023-26 which outlines how the department will conduct its compliance and enforcement activities under the Road Vehicles Standards legislation. It provides important information on the departments focus areas and what you can expect regarding their regulatory effort. Focus areas include:
- Approval holders participating in
the concessional RAV entry pathway – approved Model Report holders, registered automotive workshops, and authorised vehicle verifiers
- Large or established vehicle manufacturers and their compliance with their vehicle type approval conditions
- Entities that continue to operate without appropriate RVS approvals post 30 June 2023.
The strategy is available for download here.
Fuel Tax Credits
From 1 August 2023, fuel tax credit rates will increase in line with fuel excise duty indexation. The new rates are available on the Australian Tax Office Website.
Remember to keep accurate records to support your claims.
National Road Safety Grants
Applications are now open under the first two focus areas of the Australian Government’s new National Road Safety Action Grants Program.
Grants of between $20,000 and $1.5 million are available for Community Education and Awareness and the Vulnerable Road Users focus areas.
The Community Education and Awareness stream will fund campaigns, programs or other education
and awareness initiatives to support young or disadvantaged drivers to get their licence and have a safer start on our roads, reduce risky behaviours such as drink driving, improve workplace road safety, increase compliance with road rules, and ensure safer interactions between heavy and other vehicles.
The Vulnerable Road Users stream will support projects that improve road safety for pedestrians, people with a disability, young children, older Australians, motorcyclists, and cyclists. This can include developing technology and research that support these vulnerable road users to safely access roads, as well as initiatives to encourage other road users to better share the roads with them.
The program is open to a range of organisations including not-for-profit and
research, as well as local, state and territory governments. Grant funding is available for projects up to 2025-26.
Applications for these first two focus areas close at 11.59pm on Friday 25 August 2023. The BIC is considering applying for a Grant to fund industry wide projects.
New Chief Executive Officer at the National Transport Commission
The Albanese Government has announced the appointment of Mr Michael Hopkins as the National Transport Commission’s Chief Executive for a five-year term.
The National Transport Commission (NTC) was established by the federal, state and territory governments to develop national reforms to improve the productivity, safety and environmental performance of road, rail and intermodal transport.
Mr Hopkins brings many years of strategic policy reform experience, knowledge of the transport sector and existing senior stakeholder relationships to this
role. He has previously served in several senior executive roles for the Victorian Government and the NTC.
Mr Hopkins is meeting with the BIC in August to fast-track his understanding of the high priority issues for the bus and coach industry.
The BIC National Conference – updated program available
The Conference program is almost finalised and the presenter profiles are available on the website. It is great to see such a diverse group of topics and speakers.
During the conference, we will be covering driver safety and antisocial behaviour – a critical issue for industry right now. Delegates will hear from an expert in the field of behavioural science and learn about some of the driver and passenger safety initiatives being undertaken by bus operators in Australia and abroad. Click here to view the line-up on this not-to-be-missed session happening on Tuesday afternoon of the conference.
If you haven’t secured your Accommodation in Adelaide, we strongly recommend you do so now. The Adelaide Oval hotel is booking up fast with only 2 rooms left. There are still rooms at the other conference hotels at our special conference rates but don’t leave your booking too late.
There are only a few partnership opportunities left. If you are interested in being a partner, you will need to act soon to avoid disappointment. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
We are excited to announce that TWUSUPER is a major partner of the National Conference. For nearly 40 years, TWUSUPER has been proudly supporting the people who keep Australia moving. TWUSUPER has also been a strong supporter and advocate of the BIC and our industrial arm APTIA for many years. Thank you TWUSUPER for your ongoing commitment to BIC!
National Bus & Coach Show 2024
We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response to the first-round expression of interest for exhibitors. There is such as strong contingent of body, chassis and complete bus manufacturers and suppliers planning to exhibit that we have to redesign the floor plan to squeeze them all in.
Partnership opportunities for the show have now opened. Get in early as partners get priority when securing their exhibition spaces.
Latest news from APTIA
In the July edition of Everybody Out, APTIA provides an update on the national recruitment and retention project. Work is well underway with Hero Co and Navigate Health in developing strategies and campaigns to assist the bus and coach industry with securing our workforce. A comprehensive update is given on wage rates and the third round of IR legislation which appears set to be introduced in September and proposes changes such as “same, job same pay” and giving casuals more scope to become permanent employees. Download the full article here.