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We’ve gath­ered up all the key, hard-hit­ting Aus­tralasian and in­ter­na­tional bus and coach news to keep you in the loop.

TRANS­PORT MINISTERS have ap­proved a gross mass limit in­crease for three-axle buses from 20 tonnes to 22 tonnes, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC).

NTC’s act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Ge­off Al­lan an­nounced that the in­crease in mass limit will bring Aus­tralia more in line with in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts.

“In re­cent years, bus mass has in­creased due to reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments to pro­vide spe­cific mo­bil­ity, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ments, and the in­creas­ing weight of adult Aus­tralians and their lug­gage,” Al­lan said.

“Aus­tralia’s limit of 20 tonnes is on av­er­age more than four tonnes lower than sim­i­lar coun­tries,” he said.

There are cur­rently more than 2,200 three-axle buses reg­is­tered in Aus­tralia, pro­vid­ing tourist ser­vices, long-dis­tance ser­vices, met­ro­pol­i­tan and re­gional sched­uled ser­vices and school trans­port.

The NTC com­mis­sioned Tav­erner Re­search to in­ves­ti­gate the size of the prob­lem and the rea­sons be­hind it.

“Mul­ti­ple in­dus­try sources con­tend that the gross loaded mass of three-axle buses is likely to of­ten ex­ceed the cur­rent al­low­able lim­its, par­tic­u­larly for route ser­vices dur­ing peak times,” Al­lan said.

“We have been set­ting the max­i­mum num­ber of ap­proved pas­sen­gers based on out­dated data of the av­er­age weight of Aus­tralians, which has in­creased over time,” he said.

WHEEL­CHAIR LIFTS

He also cited the in­creas­ing weight of wheel­chair lifts as an ex­am­ple of ad­di­tional weight, says the NTC.

“When you com­bine the weight of the lift, and spe­cialised doors and glaz­ing, this equip­ment can add one tonne to the weight of the bus.”

The NTC rec­om­mended an in­crease to 22 tonnes fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive re­search and con­sul­ta­tion,

“Aus­tralia’s limit of 20 tonnes is on av­er­age four tonnes lower than sim­i­lar coun­tries.”

which will bring other states and ter­ri­to­ries in line with New South Wales’ re­cent move to in­crease mass lim­its on three-axle buses.

The in­crease will take ef­fect once the Heavy Ve­hi­cle (Mass, Di­men­sion and Load­ing) Na­tional Reg­u­la­tion is amended, which is ex­pected to be in 2019. To ac­cess this in­crease, there are ad­di­tional safety re­quire­ments to be met, which are set out in the de­ci­sion Reg­u­la­tion Im­pact State­ment.

The de­ci­sion Reg­u­la­tion Im­pact State­ment and the Tav­erner Re­search Re­port are avail­able on the NTC web­site: www.ntc.gov.au

Above: The na­tional three-axle bus mass limit has been raised to 22 tonnes, the NTC an­nounced.

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