Weight limit for two-axle buses increases in Victoria

Investigations into two-axle buses illegally exceeding weight limits have led VicRoads to increase the limits by two tonnes.

Weight limit for two-axle buses increases in Victoria
Weight limits for two-axle buses increase to 18 tonne
By Sean Muir | April 19, 2012

An investigation into the prevalence of two-axle buses
illegally exceeding the 16-tonne weight limit has led VicRoads to increase the limit by two tonnes.

BusVic Executive Director Chris Lowe announced today VicRoads had issued a gazette, effective immediately, to change the weight limit of two-axle buses and coaches in Victoria from 16 tonne to 18 tonne.

Lowe says the change is a win for the bus industry.

"The changes recognise the incremental changes in the bus and coach operating environment, reduce operator risk, provide an opportunity for flow on benefits to suppliers, and provide a platform for national adoption," Lowe says.

"We will now turn our attention to the mass limit for three-axle coaches and establish a united position on the dimensions discussion."

Today’s announcement follows an agreement made more than two years ago between VicRoads, BusVic and the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) to investigate the inadvertant unlawful operation of two-axle buses in Victoria.

Lowe says the agreement resulted
VicRoads appointing Advantia Transport Consulting to head a 13-vehicle-strong service field trial.

As part of the trial, buses and coaches on a range of route, school and charter services across metropolitan and regional Victoria were fitted with state-of-the-art axle-weight measuring equipment.

Lowe says the trial ended early this year and VicRoads recently finalised the collection of data from the measuring equipment.

"The data supports BusVic’s contention that vehicles are exceeding the current 16 tonne limit - 17 tonne for ULF vehicles - on a regular basis, but for very limited periods, typically less than
five percent of time in service,"
Lowe says.

"There are a few exceptions to this, with vehicles involved in undertaking school camp transfers, providing day tours and operating dedicated shuttle services exceeding the 16 tonne limit on a more regular basis."

Lowe says due to concerns about the pavement wear caused by excess weight, Vicroads had the results reviewed by the AARB Group, which advises road authorities on technical input.

But the AARB’s modelling confirmed there was negligible wear-related cost being incurred by the two-axle buses exceeding the 16-tonne weight limit.

Lowe says based on the results VicRoads has supported increasing the limit.

He says VicRoads has also requested that Advantia finalise their report on the study, consult with the Municipal Association of Victoria, and issue letters to all councils and stakeholders supporting the proposed changes.

"We are extremely pleased to report that VicRoads have now issued the Gazette increasing the mass limit of two-axle buses and coaches from 16 tonne to 18 tonne with immediate effect," Lowe says.

"The Industry is extremely thankful to Peter McKenzie and Shane Dyson for representing the operators throughout this project. We are also grateful to VicRoads for sharing our vision. We also thank MAV for their understanding."

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