ARTA rejects call for operators to use B-triples in NSW

By: Jason Whittaker

Calls from the New South Wales Government for road train operators to change to B-triples have been referred to as

Calls from the New South Wales Government for road train operators to change to B-triples have been referred to as "illogical" by Australian Road Train Association (ARTA) Chief Executive Duncan Bremner.

According to Bremner, there is little chance of road-train operators changing to B-triples because the Australian Transport Council (ATC) is expected to pass significantly higher registration charges which will force operators to pay more to use B-triples.

If the higher charges are passed, registration for a B-triple will hit more than $20,000 a year, while double road train and triple road train operators will, in 2010, need to pay $10,390 and $12,440 respectively.

As such, Bremner says there is an "obvious disconnect between the regulators’ dream ideas on things and the sheer reality of it". He says the registration hikes highlight how "illogical" it is to call for road train operators to change to a vehicle for which they will have to pay more to register.

He has also questioned the Government’s decision based on the benefits a road train operating with a tri-axle dolly brings as opposed to bogey-axle dollies.

"The tri-axle dolly handles better, is capable of carrying more weight [and it is] a safer vehicle," Bremner says.

Despite this, the Government is standing firm in its reluctance to grant road-train access which, according to Bremner, is mainly due to revenue issues.

"The NSW argument is that they get a lot of through traffic from vehicles registered in Victoria and Queensland and therefore they don’t get the income to support it," he says.

The Government is also justifying its decision based on the damage caused to roads by tri-axles, which has been met with scepticism by the industry. Bremner says there is little evidence to support the claim tri-axles cause substantial amounts of damage to roads, and "there is hardly a trailer in Australia that doesn’t have a tri-axle set up underneath it".

He says government inaction has left road train operators "hamstrung" when they cross state borders. With road trains "running everywhere else quite safely", Bremner wants NSW to follow the example of other states.

"I think were it comes profoundly irritating is that when you hit the Queensland border everything is rosy," he says.

"Queensland is a textbook case of state you can operate in."

Bremner says B-triples do have their place, but are more suited to inner city freight movement where vehicles are required to break down to meet the size and weight limits of specific regions.
"Road trains on the other hand commonly run from point A to Point B without having to alter their combination makeup due to the regions they are running in [such as outtback to outback destinations]," he says.

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