3-AXLE UNIFORMITY A STEP CLOSER
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.