In this edition of the BIC Bulletin, we are excited to announce our successful Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) funding bid, we look at some of the highlights from the Australasian Bus and Coach Expo and we recap important industry messaging from government.
We would also like to remind members the BIC are holding our election for the 2023 BIC Council this October. Nominations opened Friday October 7 and close Friday 14 October. Please remember a second, support nomination from the same membership category is
Policy, Advocacy and Technical Updates
Zero Emissions Buses Committee
The Zero Emission Buses (ZEB) Committee convened on Monday 19 September to discuss the first draft advisory. The first draft advisory covers industry standards and specifications. Members engaged in robust analysis and discussion, confirming the draft advisory will meet industry needs and serve as an interim solution addressing gaps in the current Australian Design Rules. Members have also identified key topics which will be put forward for inclusion in the next advisory. With a view to release at the 2022 BIC National Conference, Advisory 1 is currently being
The ZEB Committee also deliberated on the specific state and territory repair and maintenance requirements of battery electric buses. The BIC raised inconsistencies with the Commonwealth and Queensland Government in efforts to ensure national harmonisation and efficient operation. We aim to reduce any barriers for industry in transitioning to ZEBs.
Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative – BIC Advisories Project
We’re excited to announce the BIC’s Transition to Zero Emission Buses (ZEB) Industry Advisories Project will be one of 16 grantees to receive funding as part of the Federal Government’s $5.6 million investment towards Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) projects. The BIC’s ZEB
Advisories project is set to be delivered over the next 12 months.
To ensure the safe design, configuration, operation, and maintenance of buses, coaches and heavy vehicles more broadly the BIC will engage government and industry to develop a number of advisories. National advisories related to ZEBs will assist manufacturers and suppliers, operators, and infrastructure providers, first responders and all levels of government. They are an interim measure while a regulatory framework is put in place by local governments.
The BIC’s Transition to ZEBs Industry Advisories Project primary focusses on buses and coaches manufacture and operation however much of the work will be applicable to heavy freight vehicles and the wider heavy vehicle industry. The project will directly benefit zero
emission bus, coach and truck operators, manufacturers, and associated service providers. The advisories will promote best practice and include material that may, in time, be covered by Australia Design Rules or the Heavy Vehicle National Law. Our goal is to support the industry during the transition to zero emission vehicles.
For more information visit https://www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi
Important Messages from Government
OTSI Bus Safety Investigation – Green Valley Bus fire
The NSW Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI) has launched an investigation into an incident at Green Valley in Sydney on 8 August 2022 in which a bus was destroyed by fire. The driver and passengers were safety evacuated and no injuries were reported.
OTSI is currently investigating three separate bus fire incidents involving a passenger service on NSW roads (and recently published the investigation report on a fourth bus fire), all of which resulted in the catastrophic loss of
the bus from fire.
Information on the Green Valley incident and the investigation scope is available on the OTSI website, visit: interim factual statement
NSW Government Zero Emissions Bus Rollout
The NSW Liberal Government has advised that its rollout of Zero Emissions Buses will take 17 years to roll out across the entire state. Former Liberal Minister for Transport Andrew Constance originally promised that the entire fleet would be
rolled out by 2030. The Government now aims to electrify all buses in greater Sydney by 2035. The Government also indicated that it would take until 2047 to electrify the entire fleet.
Public Transport Operators Vehicle Reviews in 2022
While the Disability Standard for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) are currently under review by the Australian and State and Territory Governments. The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) would like to remind members, from Saturday 31 December 2022, all operators will be expected to comply with the minimum accessibility and design requirements of the current Transport Standards made under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) (DDA).
The Transport Standards first came into effect on 23 October 2002. New vehicles introduced into public transport fleets after 23 October 2002 required compliance with the Transport Standards from the outset.
It is worth noting, The Transport Standards also currently exempt dedicated school buses from complying with the physical access requirements, but only when the vehicle is used to transport primary or secondary students to or from school or for other school purposes.
The prescriptive accessibility requirements of the Transport Standards include the need for:
- Boarding ramps
- Access path on buses (for example, from the entrance to the allocated space)
- Allocated space for mobility devices
- Manoeuvring areas
- Signage, and
- Priority seating.
In light of these timeframes and consequences for non-compliance, the BIC recommends all members
review their fleet and operations according to the Transport Standards to ensure all applicable legal requirements are met.
If you are unable to comply by the 31 December deadline, McInnes Wilson Lawyers have highlighted some options which should be considered, including:
- Equivalent Access, involving the provision of direct assistance as an alternative method of accessing the service. Note, a segregated or parallel service, such as an accessible taxi service substituting for an inaccessible bus service, does not constitute equivalent access. Operators must also consult with passengers with disabilities who use the service or with organisations representing people
with disabilities about any proposal for equivalent access.
- Unjustifiable Hardship Exemption, is when compliance with a requirement of the Transport Standards would result in unjustifiable hardship on the operator. There are a number of relevant circumstances which are considered when determining whether this exemption applies. Note, compliance is required to the maximum extent not involving unjustifiable hardship, the operator is required to prove that a requirement would impose unjustifiable hardship on them. The Australian Human Rights Commission will only consider unjustifiable hardship applications where a complaint has been made.
- A Temporary Exemption (up to five years) from the Transport Standards, operators can apply with
the Australian Human Rights Commission for an exemption, however there is no guarantee an exemption will be made. The lengthy application process can span several months and will include open public consultation with relevant organisations and bodies.
HEAVY VEHICLE ROAD USER CHARGE LEGISLATIVE INSTRUMENT (FED)
In line with a decision of Infrastructure and Transport Ministers in April 2022, the Australian Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King, recently tabled the legislative instrument allowing for an increase in the heavy vehicle road user charge.
The charge has increased by 0.8 cents per litre
effective from 29 September 2022, this also coincided with the reinstatement of the Fuel Tax Credit at 18.8 cents per litre for fuel purchased from that date.
The road user charge is intended to recover the greater cost of maintenance and repair as a result of the use of heavy vehicles on our roads. The States and Territories have already mirrored the decision in raising heavy vehicle registration fees.
Bus Industry Confederation 2022 National Conference
From Sunday 13 November to Wednesday 16 November 2022 the Bus Industry Confederation’s (BIC) National Conference Moving People – Navigating Change will be held at the Sofitel Brisbane Central, QLD. The Conference will provide delegates with the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, politicians and bureaucrats, to share ideas and collaborate on current and emerging industry challenges and opportunities.
The program includes operational sessions that explore the relationship between driver and passenger, covering safety assurance schemes, industry best practice
and service delivery. Other highlights of the Conference will include subject matter expert presentations on funding, asset management and contracts for operators transitioning to zero-emission fleets.
Nominations are still open for the 2022 National Industry Awards, submit any nominations via our website. Nominations close Friday 14 October 2022.
2022 Australasian Bus and Coach Expo
Hosted by BusNSW, this year’s Australasian Bus and Coach Expo was held Wednesday 5 to 6 October at the Sydney Showgrounds, NSW. The 14,000 square metre exhibit housed over $50 million worth of state-of-the-art buses, coaches and zero emission technology. Over one hundred exhibitors were present, showcasing products, services, and industry advances.
It was fantastic to see so many BIC members in attendance and to witness so many organisations and individuals embracing the industry transition to zero emissions. Attendees participated in technical workshops and demonstrations, as
well as social networking events with other like-minded industry professionals. On Wednesday evening over 700 delegates attended the Gala dinner, and what a great night it was, with entertainment by String Diva, The Boys in The Band, and the Players.
We would like to give a special acknowledgment to the new Life Members, including Frank D’Apuzzo, Steve Scott, and the late Eddie Ogden; as well as congratulate all of the industry award winners including Jessica Kane for the Achiever Award, BusInsure for Supplier of the year, Trandev NSW for the Safety Award, Busways for the Environment and Innovation Award, and Peter Dwyer from
Piper Alderman for the Outstanding Contribution Award.
To stay up to date with all BIC events please visit our National and International Events Calendar on our website.
In this month’s issue of APTIA’s Everybody Out, we hear about the Thredbo 17 Conference, the AEC’s four yearly elections of the APTIA Council members, advice that Chairperson Wayne Patch, and Deputy Chairperson Steve Scott are stepping down following 12 years with APTIA, and the introduction of two new Bills to parliament obligating employees to provide ten days family and domestic violence leave to all staff.
A copy of the Everybody Out can be viewed on the APTIA website.
Hitachi helps bus operators to plan, implement and manage optimized zero emissions transport fleets and energy infrastructure. Operating in 71 countries with more than 380 000 staff, Hitachi has been providing trusted proven Operational and Digital Integration products to the Automotive Industry for the past 110 years.
Hitachi’s mission is to deliver the industry’s most innovative end-to-end decarbonization solutions and power the global transition to a Zero-Carbon world. ZeroCarbon offers an unmatched range of next-generation technologies and expertise to help decarbonize fleets, discover untapped revenue streams, and maximize opportunities for long-term growth in the new, net zero world. This includes an innovative ‘Battery as a Service’ solution helping fleet
owners to de-risk this emerging technology while unlocking potential value creation.
For more information visit Hitachi’s website here.
From designing and constructing transport networks to operating them, John Holland is transforming the way people travel and providing better connections across the country.
Every day, more than a million passengers travel on John Holland networks. Their long-standing experience in mass transport means they know how to put together the right solution – from start to finish. Focused on the future of transport, they innovate today for the best outcomes tomorrow – from digital engineering and digital asset management, to targeting zero-emission transport modes.
For more information visit John Holland’s website here.