16 tonnes, what do you get?

Weight measuring devices are being fitted on a selection of Victoria’s buses, testing the 16 tonne GVM limit on the state’s road network

16 tonnes, what do you get?
16 tonnes and what do you get?

By David Goeldner | September 10, 2010

The gross vehicle mass weight limit of 16 tonnes for bus and coach passenger services is being put to the test in a field study rolling out across Victoria this month.

BusVic, VicRoads and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) have each agreed to set up the Mass Limits Working Group, reviewing the adequacy of GVM under current regulations, BusVic Executive Director Chris Lowe says.

The review was initiated due to incremental GVM increases in bus and bus freight over the years, says Lowe.

"The councils are a major stakeholder in their concern over heavier mass vehicles running around on their roads."

He says the common vision between each member of the working group is to ensure the current legislative and regulatory mass limit requirements for Victoria’s bus and coach operators are adequate.

The current limit for a two-axle bus or coach is a mass limit of 16 tonnes when loaded.

Each party – BusVic, VicRoads and the MAV – are jointly funding the study which is in two parts, a desk top study and a field study using a GPS-based weight measuring system on a selection of operator services around Victoria.

Advantia Consulting will coordinate each part of the study.

"The 13 BusVic operator members who have volunteered for the field study will have their buses fitted with a GPS-based tracking device and on-board weight measuring equipment," Lowe says.

"All 13 services will have recording devices fitted by mid-October, and at the moment about half of the test vehicles have been fitted," he says.

Lowe explains the measurement study will record tonnages at different times of the year, such as school terms, holiday periods, highs and lows.

"This is so that we get an aggregate figure to provide any case for change (of the GVM limit)," he says.

He says the services being tested are a variety of short, long distance, route and charter services in various regions across Victoria.

"We have to record at least six months worth of data to understand the true life and nature of these different bus services," Lowe says.

"It’s anticipated the field study will go on for about nine months."

Assisting the working group and field studies are Shane Dyson of Dyson Group and Peter McKenzie of McKenzie’s Tourist Services.

Lowe expects to see data coming back from the field study within the next few weeks from buses fitted with the GPS measuring device at the start of September.

"The working group will scrutinise that data, but it’s only early," he says.

"We want to capture as much data as possible across a six to nine month period to represent the true nature of a bus’s scope of operation over a year."

Lowe says the level of co-operation among the stakeholders is extremely high.

"We all share a common vision, and we also realise other jurisdictions are watching this project," he says.

"If change is embraced in Victoria, it may be pursued by other States."

Lowe and his colleagues are waiting to see what the field study data presents.

"We hope to have everything wrapped up by mid-2011."

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook