Bus SA Policy recommendations

Policy recommendations

The following 10 policy proposals tackle structural, economic and social issues, as well as productivity issues, by underpinning existing government goals. They are all part of the challenge to deliver improved mobility for South Australians. They are divided into three areas: City; Regional; Standards and Safety.

Click on a link below to read our recommendations  in detail.


Regional residents have poor service access. We can and should do better. Our 2016 research showed regional South Australians have limited options when travelling between regions or within their own region.

By benchmarking the investment made in other states, we conclude that $70 per regional resident is an achievable target for SA. This investment should focus on network development and integration to provide services for a decent span of hours at a reasonable frequency.

Our 2016 research also found there is a need to coordinate mobility access for people in regional towns by providing practical ground level support.

We recommend a mobility solution for locals by locals, integrating all transport modes for travellers within specific geographic areas. RACs are cheap and efficient ways to help people move around.

The current yellow fleet is and run by time-poor school principals and managers. The increased burden of the 2018 Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations make managing a school bus run even more onerous.

Using skills and expertise available in the private sector to deliver professional school bus services would be of considerable benefit for government and communities alike.

It is our view that the cost of complying with CoR laws would be much higher than engaging the private sector to either manage the existing fleet or deliver services outright.

We believe that school transport policy should allow children within the 5km zone to travel on school buses. This should be cost neutral – making use of existing vacant/unused seats.

The School Card could be used as the determinant of who can travel inside the zone. There is no need for school buses to travel with empty seats – they should be used as a community resource.

Standards and Safety

There is no forum for those in the business of moving people to directly and regularly engage with their Minister. We propose an annual forum that brings together taxi, chauffeured vehicle, community transport and bus organisations to raise specific issues.

Bus SA is willing to convene and administer this activity in collaboration with the government sector.

We promote operator accreditation in the form of a safety management system that covers business operation, vehicle maintenance and driver management.

Bus SA has long advocated for the establishment of an operator accreditation regime that sets minimum standards for bus operators, whether they are government contractors, private operators or in the community sector. It is our view that all bus passengers should expect the same level of safe operation, regardless of how their ride is funded.

With the new Chain of Responsibility Laws now in place, an operator accreditation regime is of greater importance than ever before.

With changes to the regulatory environment this program could be at minimal cost to government. Our industry has the expertise to lead the process and administer the regime.

Government has privatised heavy vehicle inspections, but the scheme excludes buses.

Bus SA calls for the opportunity to offer private bus inspections through a road safety inspection scheme along the same lines as the existing system in Victoria.

Again, our industry has the expertise to lead the process and administer the regime. It would lift standards and support our views on operator accreditation at no direct cost to government.

A Bus Safety Week initiative would promote the good safety record of the bus industry and at the same time promote the ‘shared responsibility’ of bus safety. The initiative would focus on:
  • shared roads (giving way to buses, school bus stop safety)
  • the differences between accredited and registered operators
  • correct safety behaviours on and around buses (respect for staff, wearing seat belts, the ramifications of anti-social behaviour).
Bus Safety Week could also be the flagship for a further program of school safety seminars whereby every public school could access an education program for students. This could occur every 2 -3 years. We believe it would be a very worthwhile government investment.


We support the development of a clearly identifiable public transport interchange in the heart of the city, including:
  • Develop Currie and Grenfell streets (between Hindmarsh and Light squares) as a bus transit street.
  • Redesign King William Street between Victoria Square and North Terrace to prioritise trams and buses.
  • Improve pedestrian connections to and within the interchange.

The first and last mile problem is a tough one to resolve. Solving it could boost bus usage and improve community access.

A bikes on buses trial would allow Adelaide Metro buses to better integrate with other public transport modes (such as trains).

On-demand trials for morning and afternoon peak services can provide door-to-door connectivity to the existing trunk networks. Options can include small buses in specific suburbs bringing patrons to and from super stops or train stations. This has been trialled successfully overseas.