Safety week starts

The inaugural Bus Safety Week in Victoria begins this week with the theme of shared responsibility

The inaugural Bus Safety Week kicks off in Melbourne this week with the theme of ‘Bus safety – it’s a shared responsibility’.

The theme recognises that the rising bus major incident statistics reported for 2015 appear to be falling and it is important that trend continues, and the initiative has been created by Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) and the Bus Association Victoria (BusVic) .

Over the past five years, metropolitan bus patronage increased by 17 per cent, boardings increased from 106 million in 2010-11 to 124 million in 2014-15 and 111 million kilometres were travelled.

On average, more than 183 million bus trips are taken in Victoria each year of which approximately 118 million are in Melbourne.

 "Given the number of bus trips taken, it is encouraging to see that collisions between buses and bicycles, motorbikes and people have declined from a moving average of 5.4 in 2014 to 3.8 in 2016," says TSV director David Hourigan.

"Serious injuries have also declined from a moving average of 15.4 in 2014 to 13.7 in 2016.

"This is only for the first quarter of 2016 – it is just the beginning of a trend I want to see continue.

"The question for today, this week - Bus Safety Week - and into the future is ‘what can you do to make safe bus travel even safer?

"Whether you are a road user, passenger, school student, hirer of buses or user of local community buses now is the time to think about your responsibility."

As part of the initiative, TSV has launched a range of materials and activities including guidance material for drivers and operators on handling difficult passengers, co-sponsoring a schools education program to address anti-social behaviour around and on buses before it starts and conducting compliance activities to ensure buses are safe, often in partnership with other regulatory agencies such as Victoria Police, VicRoads, Parks Victoria

BusVic executive director Chris Lowe says bus travel is one of the safest forms of travel because accredited operators have comprehensive safety and risk management systems in place.

"These systems are kept in check by TSV regularly," he says.

"From the industry point of view, we are proud that Victoria’s bus legislation is a world leader in terms of the safety framework and should provide peace of mind to bus passengers.

"Victoria's bus operators are typically transgenerational family businesses that have developed a reputation over the years as safety professionals and community leaders.

"To maintain this excellent safety track record, everybody has a role to play, from drivers, to commuters, pedestrians and passengers. Everyone benefits when we all keep public safety front of mind when navigating the road network."

TSV has also released a suite of five new animated videos containing specific safety messages for each of the identified groups who interact with buses and can contribute to safety.

"The videos are short and sharp and include really useful tips on how you can share the responsibility for bus safety," says Hourigan.

"You’ve seen the videos - now it’s your turn to take some of the responsibility for safe bus travel."

The week will be launch at Southern Cross Station on June 20, with other activities including presentations in regional centres and school bus safety sessions at primary schools.

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