BREAKING: A NEW INCREASED WEIGHT LIMIT for all NSW 3-axle buses and coaches means the push for national uniform adoption is closer to being achieved, according to industry experts at a NSW Government media announcement today.

The Hon. Melinda Jane Pavey, MP, surrounded by BusNSW advocates, announces new permit availability for 3-axle bus and coach increased weight limit, outside NSW Parliament House.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey says raising the gross mass limit for 3-axle buses from 20.5 tonnes to 22 tonnes would help bus operators improve efficiency, while others have welcomed the increased safety aspects for passengers and drivers alike.

"Today’s coaches carry a lot of extra equipment – from wheelchair lifts to entertainment and toilet facilities – which all add considerable weight to the vehicles," the Minister says.

"NSW Bus operators will now be able to apply for a permit for the increased 22-tonne mass limit to operate on our roads."

The latest ruling follows intense lobbying from BusNSW to invoke such a change, and a NSW Government Review that found 3-axle buses operating at 22 tonnes cause less road wear than 2-axle buses operating a maximum legal weight of 18 tonnes.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward says: "Buses operating at the new 22-tonne mass limit will also be safer as they will need to have anti-lock braking and electronic braking systems installed, as well as electronic stability control to qualify for a permit."

"The 3-axle bus mass limits are also being reviewed by the National Transport Commission to work towards a consistent national approach," he explains.

BusNSW executive director Matt Threlkeld expresses relief at the decision and labels it a common-sense approach, stating the new limits would particularly benefit long-distance express coaches.

"Coaches are always picking up new passengers and luggage along their routes. The increased weight limits will give drivers the confidence to use the vehicle’s full seating capacity, meet safety standards and comply with the law," Threlkeld says.

"More robust suspension and braking systems, fire suppression systems, heavy-duty seats with seatbelts, complex engine designs to reduce emissions and the provision of wheelchair lifts have all added to the overall weight of modern-day buses and coaches."

"We commend Minister Pavey for recognising that an increase to the 3-axle mass limit provides safety benefits for passengers and the public as well as productivity benefits for bus and coach operators."

BusNSW president John King says the announcement by Minister Pavey is a win for all and will allow operators to use vehicles with the latest engineering and safety technology.

"Three-axle buses and coaches operate thousands of journeys every year and make a significant contribution to the visitor economy by transporting students, seniors and tourists around NSW," King says.

"The increased weight limits will now give operators the confidence to use a vehicle’s full authorised seating capacity in the knowledge that they are meeting safety standards and complying with the law.

"We hope this initiative from the NSW Government will give the National Transport Commission some incentive to expedite work on a national approach that provides consistent 3-axle mass limits across borders.

"We look forward to seeing the detail relating to eligibility for the higher mass limit in NSW," King says.

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