Bus reps call for coordinated fire prevention

BusNSW and the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) agree more coordinated bus fire prevention is needed

Bus reps call for coordinated fire prevention
Industry calls for better bus fire prevention
By Sean Muir | May 22, 2013

National and state
industry representatives
have called for a more coordinated approach to bus fire prevention, following the retrofitting of fire suppression units to hundreds of NSW State Transit Authority (STA) buses.

The NSW Government recently announced it had retrofitted 254 STA Mercedes Benz gas buses with fire suppression units, prompting reaction from state association, BusNSW, and national association, the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC).

BusNSW Executive Director Darryl Mellish says the announcement seems to indicate
government is yet to have an industry-wide policy on mitigating the risk of fires on buses.

"It’s good that the safety of STA’s CNG buses is being improved, however we would like to see a coordinated approach based on good data," Mellish says.

Mellish says the announcement also raises questions about what bus specifications the state’s government requires for non STA buses.

"As far as I know, the government’s O/MBSC bus specification as yet does not require suppression systems," Mellish says.

"Whereas the media release indicates ‘all new buses received by STA have fire detection systems fitted at the time of manufacture’."

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps says BIC is chairing a steering committee to develop a bus fires advisory, involving NSW, QLD and WA governments.

"The steering committee is looking into the range of complex issues related to bus fires," Apps says.

"There is no single solution for all buses, and the steering committee final advisory will provide comprehensive advice on bus fire risk across the fleet and appropriate action for bus operators, workshop, managers and drivers."

Apps says BIC will work with NSW, QLD and WA governments to have other states agree to adopt the outcomes of the steering committee's work to allow a national approach.

"It is hoped by BIC that this will include an ongoing role for BIC to maintain a comprehensive national bus fires database if federal, state and territory governments are willing to fund such an initiative," Apps says.

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