Bus & coach / Charges

Bus and coach industry charges help to fund better, safer and more productive roads. Charges are based on a fixed annual registration (fee) and fuel-based road user fees.


The NTC calculates charges in accordance with the Model Heavy Vehicle Charges Act and principles set by both the Transport and Infrastructure and the Council of Australian Governments. These principles are binding on the NTC. The principles are:

  • full recovery of allocated infrastructure costs while minimising both the over and under recovery from any class of vehicle
  • cost effectiveness of pricing instruments
  • transparency
  • the need to balance administrative simplicity, efficiency and equity (e.g. impact on regional and remote communities/access)
  • the need to have regard to other pricing applications such as light vehicle charges, tolling and congestion
  • on-going cost recovery in aggregate
  • the removal of cross subsidies between vehicle classes.

Annual adjustment

An annual adjustment formula is automatically applied in July each year to ensure heavy vehicle charges keep pace with road spending programs.

The charge is calculated using an economic formula: annual adjustment (per cent) = road expenditure factor + road use factor.


Australia uses a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) model which is based on a fixed annual registration and fuel-based road-user charges. Revenue recovered through heavy vehicle charges helps governments provide better and safer roads. PAYGO was introduced in Australia in 1992 to:

  • help recover the marginal or attributable costs of road wear and tear for each heavy vehicle type
  • recover a share of common road costs which benefit all road users, such as street lighting, rest bays and signage
  • ensure heavy vehicles pay their share of road spending.

Around 40 per cent of heavy vehicle costs are recovered as state and territory registration fees, with the balance paid through a fuel-based road user charge which is determined by the Commonwealth Government.

The NTC calculates charges by using a seven year average for both expenditure and vehicle numbers. The averaging process is designed to ensure charges do not change significantly in response to short-term changes in expenditure. The NTC uses vehicle numbers obtained from the Survey of Motor Vehicle Use, which is independently compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Last Updated: 15/11/2018