BIC, Opinion

BIC provides update on its latest bus and coach initiatives

BIC’s technical team gives the lowdown on what’s been happening during a busy period for the national bus and coach body

Never has there been a time in recent history when there have been such significant changes in the pipeline that could fundamentally change what the bus industry does and the technology we use.

The BIC Technical Team have been busy supporting the industry with the many technical aspects of these changes and opportunities. Given the importance of some of the issues we thought we would also take this opportunity to communicate with you some of the important projects in the technical arenas Luke Hardy and Dean Moule have been deeply immersed in.

The first of the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) advisories has now been finalised by Luke and is scheduled for release in July. Once released it will provide concise guidance to manufacturers, suppliers and operators on the technical specifications and standards that BIC recommend be included as part of any ZEB. It includes a detailed overview of two forthcoming Australian Design Rules: ADR 109 – Electric powertrain safety and ADR 110 – Hydrogen fueled vehicle safety. Also included are recommendations regarding Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) of components used in buses, based on the European Regulation EU ECE R10.

The following two advisories cover other key areas such as workplace safety, Australian Standard AS3752, signage and first responders’ information. Work on these are underway and BIC members have the opportunity to provide input to the advisories as they are drafted.

BIC appreciates the recent industry feedback we received on two proposed Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) standards. These standards cover mounting of electrical equipment and electronic systems requirements.  Since coming on board two months ago, our new National Technical Manager Dean Moule has been busy reviewing the drafts and industry feedback and then engaging directly with TfNSW, who were very appreciative of the industry collaboration. These standards are expected to be published on the TfNSW Standards Portal in the coming months. We are building a collaborative relationship with TfNSW to ensure the best outcomes for our industry.

From a general regulatory and standards perspective, BIC continues to advocate to governments for harmonisation with industry standards.

The federal government recently undertook consultation on Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS). While it was aimed at passenger cars and light vehicles only, BIC thought it important to provide feedback given the potential ripple effect such new laws will eventually have on the bus industry once they are applied at a wider scale. In this feedback, three key areas were identified as requiring further work and consideration: driver’s workplace noise, public noise pollution and local testing of systems.

The Queensland Electrical Safety Act is also currently under review by the Queensland government and BIC have also been working closely with QBIC to review and prepare a submission. The government review has several wide-reaching recommendations, which, if implemented, would mean only ‘licensed electrical workers’ can carry out electrical work on the electrical components when the vehicle is being serviced or repaired.

BIC’s view is we should, with the support of government, continue to upskill existing industry personnel with EV competency. This can be achieved through post apprenticeship qualification or accreditation such as those offered by TAFE Queensland and OEM specific courses. This is something the automotive industry has been doing in Australia, Europe and the USA for a decade now.

Further to our April update, BIC are also lobbying the government to recognise the plight of our industry suppliers who are bearing the brunt of high inflation, parts and shipping cost increases, and labour shortage. Our advocacy document was submitted to the federal government as a joint industry policy position compiled with our supplier members.

All that said and we haven’t even begun to provide Disability Standards (DSAPT) or ADR updates, which we will share in coming

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