Topics / Productivity / Three-axle bus mass limits review

Investigating whether mass limits should be increased for three axle buses.

Three-axle bus mass limits review

  • Scoping > 
  • Analysing issues > 
  • Analysing options > 
  • Implementing


This project will identify whether there is a need to increase the mass limits that apply to three-axle buses and assess the potential implications.

For some time, there has been a mismatch between regulatory provisions for determining bus occupancy numbers and those setting maximum axle mass limits. Bus mass has increased for several reasons, including the increased average weight of the Australian population over recent years and the increased tare weight of buses as a result of regulatory requirements for specific safety and environmental improvements.

Next steps

In November 2018, transport ministers approved a gross mass limit increase for three-axle buses from 20 tonnes to 22 tonnes.

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 NTC Decision Regulation Impact Statement.


In February 2014, the NTC released a discussion paper Mass Limits for Two-Axle Buses, which identified and discussed options to facilitate an increase in mass limits for buses fitted with two single axles.

The same concerns – increased tare mass of vehicles due to modern regulatory requirements, and the increase in average mass of Australians – affect the operation of three-axle buses.

However there are also other issues associated with three-axle buses, which are more widely used in long haul, tourist and charter operations, where a component of their gross mass is likely to include passenger baggage and small parcel freight.

Get involved


Contact us

Project Manager Anthony Pepi
Last Updated: 11/4/2019