Give way to buses signs

Whilst driving in Cairns yesterday afternoon, I noticed a Trinity Anglican School bus with a Give Way To Buses sign on the rear.
I have only seen these on public transport buses such as Translink buses and never on private buses, nursing home buses, tour company buses, or school buses including St Augustine’s College and Love’s Bus Service.
I tried to use Qld Transport’s online form to try to find out just who is entitled to use these signs but I received a message that there had been too many contacts from my ip address and I should call them, which I did.
The person who answered me did not know so he checked with his supervisor but they could not find the answer. He suggested I should contact my local council or Translink.
Does anyone actually know just what buses are legally entitled to use these signs and if and how they get approval to do so, or is it just a case of the toffee-nosed school doing as they please?


In Queensland, any bus can use the ‘Give Way to Bus Sign’:

One has to look at the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009. This regulation defines what a bus is, namely ‘bus means a motor vehicle built mainly to carry people that seats over 12 adults (including the driver).

If the bus in question has a seating capacity of 13 or more (including the driver), it can have the ‘Give Way to Bus Sign’ displayed. One would need ensure that they drive to comply with this bus signage, otherwise they would not be in compliance with/in breach of section 77 of the Regulations.

In Brisbane I have seen them shown on Translink marked (Council) buses, private bus lines, community buses, school buses etc.

Here also is a recent news article about signage:


If you have the time to read the traffic regulations: Refer to Div 4 Set 77. This is non specific to bus type or use.

But note carefully the sign on the bus is a regulated traffic sign. Your local friendly police station may help to clarify if there is an offense in affixing such a sign to a vehicle without authority to do so.

It’s reasonable to expect that the sign is on the bus because the Qld Transport has authorised the bus to have the sign.
I’ve noticed it is usual for all the school buses in my part of QLD. Most of the buses are also privately owned companies or school brand marked.

It makes sense that all school buses should have the same courtesy afforded though the traffic regulations as a public transport service. Ultimately someone in the Qld Dept will know the exact answer as to whether the signage is covered by a general permit or specific application.
I tried hard to find any reference to state or national traffic regulations relating to toffee of any sort. Good luck with your quest.


I think one might need to look inside oneself to find the answer here :wink:


From what I have previously read, and going by the feedback so far, it appears that in Qld, a bus means:
“bus means a motor vehicle built mainly to carry people that seats over 12 adults (including the driver).”
If that is the best the Qld Government can do to legally describe a “bus”, can one therefore extrapolate that definition to also cover old buses that are now used as campervans and motor homes, should they be displaying the “Give Way To Buses” signage?
And if so, can drivers actually be legally fined for failing to give way to such vehicles entering the road?
I recall that some years ago there were a number of bus operators in Cairns which had the “Give Way To Buses” signs displayed, but apart from the Trinity Anglican School’s own buses, I have not seen any other operators except the Translink/Sunbus buses in the last few years with these signs.
And as for the requirement that the buses that display this signage actually use their indicators for 5 seconds before entering the road, it is not always adhered to, just as on a great many occasions I have witnessed the Translink/Sunbus vehicles fail to indicate correctly, or at all, on roundabouts, run through red lights, and commit other traffic offences.
However, reverting to my original post, if all buses designed and /or registered to carry more than 12 persons can display the “Give Way To Buses” signage, then why don’t they, especially the school buses?


These won’t qualify as a bus, as they won’t meet the 12+1 minimum seating capacity. They may have in the past in their former life been a bus, but now wouldn’t meet the bus definition.

The bus definition is also a national definition, not that of Queensland only.[quote=“Fred123, post:5, topic:15626”]
And if so, can drivers actually be legally fined for failing to give way to such vehicles entering the road?

If they still are a bus (with signage) by definition, then yes. If a bus converted into a motor home with less than 12+1 seating capacity, then no.

A converted bus should not have such signage displayed.[quote=“Fred123, post:5, topic:15626”]
carry more than 12 persons can display the “Give Way To Buses” signage, then why don’t they, especially the school buses?

Because it will be up to the bus owner to gain necessary approvals for the signage. If it is a rural school bus, the operator may think there is no value in such signage.

The signage is also not compulsory for all buses.


The definition also complements the varying licence classes in Queensland/nationally, where, a special licence is required to drive vehicles built to carry more than 12 adults.


What? Are you stuck??? Sweet.


We have a 12 seater which is registered as a “bus” in Queensland, although we only use it for us. According to Qld Dept of Transport and Main Roads because it has 12 seats it must be registered as a “bus”. There is no alternative as we have found out to our chagrin. It also cost a lot more to register a “bus” than if we took one seat out and registered it as a van with 11 seats.

To be able to use bus lanes, the vehicle (bus, taxi, or hire car) also has to charge for the passengers being carried. Similarly, I would suspect that the signage could only be used if a vehicle was used for a commercial purpose.

Recreational vehicle owners wouldn’t want to pay the extra registration, nor would they be allowed to be registered as a bus without the engineering certification and the 12 seats.

Therefore @Fred123, don’t have any fear about RVs ever displaying the signage.


Anyone who drives a vehicle that is classified as a bus has to learn and pass the stringent rules that apply to buses. However, for Fred 123, children in private school buses are not entitled to the same road safety observance of bus rules as other school children because they are “toffee-nosed”. What an incredibly bigotted remark.

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What a nonsensical response. Did you even bother to read my post or did you not understand it?
What has a driver’s license got to do with bus signage?
I wanted to know why, apart from the Translink public buses, no other buses in the Cairns region have Give Way To Buses signage with the sole exception of Trinity Anglican School, and Qld Transport could not answer my question.
That includes all other private school buses, the contractor who services all schools in the area, the nursing homes’ buses, and the tour operators’ buses.
One would realistically expect that if these other operators are entitled to display such signage then they would do so, especially the school buses.
I am sure that the school contractor’s buses did have such signage several years ago but no longer do so.
Perhaps you could enlighten me with your expert opinions.

Trinity Bay School may have decided to get the signage as it bus services routes where it is required to re-enter traffic regularly. Other schools or bus lines may believe they don’t have similar risks or have the need to stop, and then re-enter passing traffic. The signage is voluntary and it appears that TB school believes their operational risks warrants signage.

I have no issue with non-public transport buses having the ‘give way to buses’ as it would reduce the chance of a bus being rear ended when entering traffic (when entering of traffic is consistent with the signage). Such accidents, particularly if a heavy vehicle is the one involved, could place bus passengers at significant risk of injury or worse.

I also think the indicating time (~5 seconds) is reasonable as it allows sufficient warning for traffic to allow the bus to enter.

I suppose your question is should private bus lines be allowed to use the signage. My view, which maybe is no different to a reasonable person, would be yes. The owner of the bus does not affect risks. The regular pulling out to enter passing traffic does. Only the bus operator/owner would know if such unreasonable risks exist,.


Phbriggs 2000 has given the reason why ALL buses should have the give way sign on the back - it is a safety issue. It is normal here in NSW and I am surprised that it is not normal in Queensland.


As a bus driver here in Brisbane , I can vouch for the fact that hardly anyone ever gives way to us until we start forcing our way out, then yes they abuse us, flick us the bird, and often come around in front of us and slam on the brakes. No Im not kidding. there are some real idiots out there


Whether a bus has signeage on the back
… as said by rjstevens - it is a safety issue in NSW.
Just who in their right mind would not give the right of way to a vehicle the size of a bus ??


Two things I’ve learnt here:

  1. There is a 5 second warning period between a bus first indicating pulling out and when it should move. When this traffic regulation was first introduced and publicised I don’t recollect this requirement. For the better informed and newer drivers perhaps the 5 second rule to them is the same as a yellow traffic light. Speed up to get past or thru? It’s also true I lived at the time in the sticks and only ever saw a real bus in the burbs twice a year.

  2. It also explains why when I drive in the big smoke I get similar respect to Sheryl. I tend to slow when approaching any bus at a stop. I understood it was not only polite but an absolute that to help public transport to keep moving you needed to give way.

In life we frequently stand in ques, without a second thought or malice. We might even pass a polite glance or words to those near by. Hopefully the self driving cars of the future have no ‘chicken’ driving mode option?


I finally managed to get to the bottom of the Give Way to Buses signage
I called the contractor who operates the school bus services in the Cairns region and the person believed that they used to have the signs on their buses but were told by the Transport Department that they were not entitled to use them and to remove them. I remembered seeing the signs on their school buses some years ago.
I then called the contractor who operates the special needs school childrens’ bus services in the Cairns region and they said the same thing.
I called into the Transport Department’s office to enquire further and I was provided with the direct telephone number for Compliance Cairns who I called.
The person stated that any bus that operates on a scheduled route can display the signs PROVIDING THAT THEY DO NOT TRAVEL ON ROADS WITH A POSTED SPEED LIMIT GREATER THAT 70 KM PER HOUR. Only the Sunbus/Translink buses can have the signs on these roads.
They do not want buses pulling onto roads where the traffic is travelling at speeds greater than 70 km/hr.
This afternoon I witnessed a Trinity Anglican School bus, which was displaying a Give Way To Buses sign, travel from the school and over the overpass and proceed down the off ramp onto the Bruce Highway in a 80 km zone and then turn off into Ray Jones Drive, which is also a 80 km zone until just prior to Aumuller Street, so that it travelled on roads with posted speed limits greater than 70km/hr for about 5 km.
So, there it is in a nutshell. As I originally suspected. It was just a case of the elitist school doing as they pleased.
And no, I have nothing against private schools. My sister and I, my wife and her siblings, and our children all went to private schools.
But I cannot tolerate “elite” schools who choose to do as they please as regularly reported by the Courier Mail.


I’m thinking it could just be a single arrogant individual, or possibly a single ignorant individual … although being Anglican, a church that only exists because a king wanted an annulment and got stroppy with the pope, maybe they are elitist? :wink:


Did the bus pull over and then out into traffic again?

I suspect this would be the test, not that the bus goes on a road over 70km/h. I suspect that for >70km/h roads, there would need to be dedicated bus stops which has adequate signage, turn out areas and such like. These roads are also more likely to be the responsibility of the state government, which has a lot more onerous operating conditions than that of local government, lower speed roads.

If travelling with signage >70km/h was the critieria , only Translihk controlled buses would qualify. I imagine it would be near impossible not to drive in such roads at some stage. Why then do any non-Translink buses display the signage, like the many do often seen in SE Qld.


What if the bus goes under 50 mp/h ?