VICTORIAN BUS OPERATOR FINED $10K AFTER FATAL CRASH; PLEADS GUILTY

By: Fabian Cotter


A VICTORIAN BUS OPERATOR has been prosecuted after one of his vehicles was involved in a fatal crash on the Great Ocean Road, it’s reported recently.

VICTORIAN BUS OPERATOR FINED $10K AFTER FATAL CRASH; PLEADS GUILTY
The operator was charged with operating a commercial bus service without proper accreditation.

According to Bus Safety Victoria (BSV) - a branch of regulator Transport Safety Victoria - while the operator was not the driver of the bus, Frank Chang (trading as DCT Tour) was providing a bus service that rolled on the Great Ocean Road near Glenaire in April, 2017, resulting in one fatality and serious injuries to several other passengers.

Chang pleaded guilty and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $10,000 to the Court Fund, it’s stated.

Chang was using the bus under a long-term lease from an accredited bus operator, but provided services without holding the accreditation required under the Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic).

Accreditation imposes strict requirements on operators: to have appropriate safety management systems in place that are regularly audited; for all buses to pass regular roadworthy inspections; and for drivers to be appropriately trained and supervised.

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NO ROOM FOR RISK

"Our growing intelligence base about some tour and charter operators has given us sufficient safety concerns to increase our compliance work in that area", said director of Bus Safety, Shaun Rodenburg.

"This prosecution, and the action taken against another operator at the Great Ocean Road yesterday [Wednesday], demonstrates our increasing enforcement pressure on those who put bus passengers at risk in Victoria".

Following an investigation by BSV, Chang was charged with operating a commercial bus service without being accredited, as well as displaying accredited bus operator number plates on a bus when not accredited.

The matter was heard on Wednesday 22 August at the Heidelberg Magistrates' Court.

"The significant fine for this offence reflects the importance of bus operator accreditation as a means of ensuring public safety."

"BSV conducts regular activities to ensure bus operators are appropriately permissioned and complying with accreditation conditions," Rodenburg said.

CONTINUED COMPLIANCE

Also on 22 August, BSV conducted a compliance activity with Victoria Police in Loch Ard Gorge on the Great Ocean Road. One of BSV’s Transport Safety Officers discovered a bus service in which the driver didn’t have the appropriate driver accreditation and the bus operator wasn’t accredited to provide the service. 

The bus – a 21-seat Toyota Coaster with 15 passengers on board – was not permitted to continue.  BSV is continuing its investigation to ascertain further details about the operation of the bus service, while police are handling matters regarding breaches by the driver.

The detection of this operator was part of a routinely scheduled compliance activity targeting tour and charter buses visiting the region.  

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