ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

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.

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.

Above: 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.

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