Bus safety management under the spotlight: NTC seeking public comment

By: Chris Smith


The National Transport Commission (NTC) is seeking public comment on a discussion paper ‘Improving Safety Management in Australia’s Bus Industry’

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is seeking public comment on a discussion paper ‘Improving Safety Management in Australia’s Bus Industry’ released today.

Safety management in the Australian bus industry is currently linked to bus operator accreditation and licensing, and differs in each State and Territory.

NTC General Manager (Safety and Technology) Tim Eaton says the paper was developed in response to industry concern about fragmented bus safety accreditation standards.

"The Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) has identified the lack of national minimum accreditation standards as a major concern for its members," Eaton says.

"The lack of a nationally uniform safety accreditation system is causing compliance headaches for some bus operators – we can’t even agree nationally on what a bus is."

The report examines the possibility of low probability/high casualty crashes and current bus crash statistics.

It also looks at problems currently faced by bus regulators, and reviews recent developments in safety regulation in the road freight transport and rail sectors.

Eaton says the report was a timely review of the safety arrangements in place in Australia’s bus industry.

"Bus operators provide important passenger transport services across Australia, from urban commuter services to rural and long distance inter-state services," he says.

"Our national bus safety record is generally good, but we can always do better.

"New South Wales made some significant improvements a couple of years ago and Victoria is currently reviewing its approach to bus safety. Now is a good time to look at bus safety nationally."

The paper presents several alternative options for managing bus safety, including leaving things the way they are, or introducing a risk-based approach whereby bus operators have a legal duty to manage safety.

"The NTC has put forward a number of reform options to consider and will work with bus industry stakeholders towards a practical outcome," Eaton says.

The NTC is seeking public comment on the document by 04 July 2008.

You can download the report here.

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