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Russel Northe MLA:
Bus inconsistencies raised

The 20-passenger restriction does not apply in the case of school buses and public transport buses?

By Portal Admin - 30th November 2020 - Back to News

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said he was concerned for some local private bus operators who are contending with different sets of rules with respect to the number of passengers they are able to transport during COVID-19 restrictions.

Passenger restrictions on tourism vehicles

It seems that buses described as "tourism vehicles" are restricted to 20 passengers yet this same rule does not apply in the case of school buses and public transport buses."Its difficult to make logic that a bus can carry 50 V/Line passengers for example, but then the same bus can only carry 20 passengers if taking passengers for a holiday to East Gippsland," Mr Northe commenced.

"You have to ask what is the difference if you have 50 people using public transport via a bus than taking 50 people to a tourist destination in Gippsland via a bus" Mr Northe continued.

Increased costs with restrictions

"The problem emanating from this restriction is also one of viability for the bus operator and costs to passengers. By saying to the operator who has a 50 seater bus, well you can only take a maximum of 20 people, then the operator has no choice to increase the costs for the service to their passengers, and in many cases this could well be prohibitive" Mr Northe said.

Mr Northe also said this directive seemed in contrast to the Governments message in encouraging and even incentivising people to take holidays in Regional Victoria destinations. "Unfortunately we have these mixed messages once again and whereby the Government is offering Victorians travel vouchers to visit Regional Victoria, but on the other hand they are constricting people using buses to get to their destination and that makes no sense" Mr Northe said.

"And then we have the other anomaly whereby one bus can carry 50 passengers to a certain destination but the other bus can only carry 20 passengers to the same destination. A number of groups, and particularly senior groups enjoy travelling to events, functions and holidays together with private bus operators but at the moment this is being denied in many instances and this just seems unfair" Mr Northe said.

"I will continue to raise these matters directly to the relevant Government Ministers as the current rules are not only inconsistent but they still hampering many local business owners/operators from recovering from what has been a disastrous economic period for many" Mr Northe concluded.


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