Fleet on the Road – 2020 Fast Facts

Fast facts about the bus industry can be accessed by using the above quick-links. These statistics were last updated and verified in October 2020.

In February 2020, the BIC undertook a significant analysis of the data from the ABS Motor Vehicle Use Survey (2018) and ABS Motor Vehicle Census 2019 census. Through this analysis, the BIC has been able to identify the number and types of buses being utilised by Industry to accurately reflect the current fleet on the road.

The BIC analysis identifies 43,684 ‘commercial-use’ buses operating in the bus and coach industry delivering public transport, school and other government contracted services, tour, charter, long distance and other commercial services.

A buses life cycle often starts as a high patronage urban passenger service and ends with lower patronage services in regional and rural areas. Route and school bus services procured by or operated by state and territory governments operate at service levels that result in very low vehicle kilometres travelled each year.  Therefore, the vehicles full life cycle, if maintained to specification, can be up to 25 years.

23% of the Australian bus fleet is 17 years or older and operate with Euro III or less emission standards. The average age of the public transport and school bus fleet should be 12 years with a maximum age of 25 years. It is important that the integrity of the bus frame at 20 years is assured by industry best-practice maintenance regimes.

Distribution of buses is broadly proportional to the population split in the country. Close to three quarters (31,557) of the total number (43,684) represents 72% of ‘commercial-use’ buses are registered in the eastern states NSW, Vic and Qld.

NSW has the largest fleet with approximately 4,500 more buses than either Qld and Vic.

2 axle buses (41,004) accounted for the bulk (93.9%) of registered buses on Australia’s road network. Of these 60% have a GVM of 12 tonne or more.

Emissions and environmental performance of the fleet

Environmental performance of new buses is mandated by the federal government (Euro Emission Standards). In 2018-2019, Euro V comprised 72.70% of deliveries and Euro VI, 20.02%. Euro VI is expected to be mandated in 2027.

Over 90% of the current fleet uses diesel fuel (92.7%). 

Public transport emits less than half that of private car by passenger kilometre transported.

Buses emit 2 million tons (or 2%) of enhanced greenhouse gases per annum. This is only 2% of the transport sectors emissions of 97 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Fuel efficiency has improved by 14% since 2010 – an average of 25.4 L/100km travelled for buses built after 2012. This figure varies between 18.4 L/100km for petrol buses, 25.7 L/100km for diesel buses and 24.6 L/100km for LPG/CNG/dual fuel/hybrid and other fuel types.