Light bus seat modifications

Adding or removing seats in motor vehicles as a modification may change the vehicle’s Australian Design Rule (ADR) classification.

This can affect the vehicle’s compliance with ADRs for its vehicle classification.

Seating modifications may be done for operational reasons, such as wheelchair access for persons with disabilities or to improve luggage carrying capacity.

Modifications shouldn't be done to meet driver licensing conditions. There is no maximum seating criteria for a C class driver licence.

Light bus categories

A light bus must have a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3.5 tonne or less.

There are two categories of light buses based on seating capacity:

  • MD1 - seating capacity of 9 to 12
  • MD2 - seating capacity of more than 12.

Modification rules

Removing seats from an MD2 bus so that it qualifies as an MD1 bus is classified as a basic modification when it is supported with engineering certification for the change of the vehicle category.

Basic modifications are modifications that don't affect the level of safety, strength and reliability of the vehicle's systems.

A basic modification is assessed and approved at an MVR vehicle standards centre. You don't need to submit a written application.

Under a “type-approval” arrangement, prior assessment of the modification type has been approved by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for specific modifiers – refer to Information Bulletin V80 Light vehicle bus seating reduction and vehicle category change (MD2 to MD1) PDF (582.1 KB).

Engineering report

You must get an engineering certification for your modifications by a recognised engineer. This needs to be submitted to the MVR.

The engineering report must include all of the following:

  • details of seating removed
  • details of child restraint anchorage fitment
  • details of all applicable ADRs for the vehicle category
  • certification that the modified vehicle meets the intent of all ADRs for an MD1 vehicle and that it is fit for purpose.

For example, an MD1 bus has additional design requirements when compared with an MD2, including:

  • safety rims
  • head restraints
  • passenger car tyres
  • anti-theft lock
  • child restraint anchorages and child restraint fittings
  • certification requirements.

What is excluded

These rules about modifications don't cover a factory new vehicle modification. This type of modification requires an Australian Government second stage of manufacture approval.

More information

For more information get a copy of V80 Light bus seating reduction and in-service vehicle category change PDF (582.1 KB).

Last updated: 15 October 2021

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