July 17, 1998
Western Australia's 1,000 bus and coach operators are to be given annual ‘star ratings' as part of a major industry overhaul aimed at ensuring higher levels of safety, maintenance and customer service.
Launching the Omnibus Operator Standards Scheme at the Claremont Showgrounds today, Transport Minister Eric Charlton said the concept had been developed in partnership with all sectors of the bus and coach industry and had the full support of major industry bodies.
"It will be phased in gradually with many operators expected to have met the required standards within 12 months," Mr Charlton said.
"To gain and retain an omnibus operators' licence, operators will have to meet a range of minimum standards covering vehicle maintenance, safety, customer service and marketing, and the keeping of proper records.
"In addition, buses and coaches will be assessed annually for presentation standards before being rated from one to five stars.
"These standards relate to seat comfort and air conditioning, additional facilities such as toilets and television, as well as the general appearance and physical condition of the vehicle.
"The standards scheme will apply to all segments of the market including safari tours, passenger tours, inbound tours, charters, regular passenger transport and school buses.
"Operators will welcome greater flexibility under this scheme and the removal of a number of highly restrictive conditions on some licences.
"This will enable operators to develop new markets and provide services in new areas. The increased competition will provide greater choices for consumers and operators."
Mr Charlton said the scheme would increase professionalism in the bus and coach industry by raising overall standards.
It would boost customer satisfaction at all levels of operation from one star school buses to five star luxury coaches for tourists.
"Because of the requirement for annual bus inspections, approved vehicle maintenance programs and random assessments, passengers can also be sure that high maintenance and safety standards are being monitored," Mr Charlton said.
Media contact: Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333