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Australia’s bus industry and relevant government authorities have been asked for their input to help resolve emerging pressures on the nation’s two axle buses and the current mass limits that apply to them.

Discussion paper into mass limits for 2 axle buses

25 February 2014

Australia’s bus industry and relevant government authorities have been asked for their input to help resolve emerging pressures on the nation’s two axle buses and the current mass limits that apply to them.

CEO of the National Transport Commission, Paul Retter, said Australia’s 88,000 buses were facing an increasing challenge of meeting transport demands while operating within their existing mass limits.

“We are looking for considered input to determine whether it is practical and sensible to increase the mass limits that currently apply to Australia’s two axle buses,” Mr Retter said.

“Australia’s two axle buses are carrying heavier loads as a result of utilising more fuel efficient engines and wheelchair lifts, as well as carrying a higher average number of passengers on some popular bus routes and the fact that the average weight of Australian passengers is going up.

“This means that it is possible that buses can be technically overloaded even when they are within their passenger limits.”

Under the current system, buses fitted with two single axles are permitted to operate at a 16 tonne gross vehicle mass limit. However, in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria, two-axle buses are allowed to operate at a 18 tonne gross vehicle mass limit.

Mr Retter said that it was important for regulations to be reviewed periodically to respond to emerging issues such as heavier engines, new safety requirements and larger passenger loads.

He said while he was particularly interested in getting feedback from the bus industry and relevant government authorities he would be interested in considered feedback from bus users or any other interested party.

The discussion paper explores solutions to address the issue of increasing bus weight. Some of these include:

  • the possibility of raising mass limits of two-axle buses to 18 tonne across the country under the heavy vehicle national law,
  • encouraging industry to adopt more innovative operational procedures, and/or
  • developing methods to allow drivers to better monitor the gross vehicle mass of their buses.

Feedback on the proposed options contained in the discussion paper is invited until submissions close on 21 March 2014. 

The NTC’s discussion paper, Industry Bus Axle Mass, can be downloaded here.

Last Updated: 18/11/2016