navigating Department of Transport Perth

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 18:38
ThreadID: 95221 Views:2870 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Hi all
We have just purchased a 1992 Toyota Coaster with the intent to convert to a campervan. The bus was previously a tour vehicle and has TC plates. I am now stuck in a Dept Transport nightmare with conflicting information. I have one week left before I must transfer the ownership and the latest information is that I should take the seats out (well yes we will anyway), put in a cargo barrier and re-licence it as a panelvan!
Has anyone out there successfully navigated this bureaucracy?
Roslyn and Don
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Reply By: Wayne's 60 - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 21:01

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 21:01
Hi guys,

Is there any successful navigation of the D.O.T. bureaucracy??

.............. anyways ..........

my understanding is that it would be best to run the vehicle to the D.O.T. licensing centre, hand in the TC plates ....... interesting that you still have them as there are stringent conditions that go hand in hand with the T.C. plates, vehicle inspections and insurance coverage being two of them.

Have the vehicle re-tagged/complianced - with two seats in it and move on from there, and try to get the vehicle licensed as a motor home.

Previous experience dictates that what happens WILL be a reflection on the people that you deal with on the ground ... on the day .... and how you treat them ............ regardless of the information you have previously sourced.

Hope it all goes well for you, installing a cargo barrier will stop you from installing other seats, if that is your need .............. please keep us posted.

Wayne & Sally.
AnswerID: 484488

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 21:51

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 21:51
Thanks Wayne & Sally

Your suggestion to "Have the vehicle re-tagged/complianced - with two seats in it and move on from there, and try to get the vehicle licensed as a motor home" is ultimately sensible but, until it has a bed and cooking area, it apparently cannot be classified as a campervan.

We DEFINITELY DO NOT want to put a cargo barrier in and I am unsure how we can get one made up in the timeframe. This was proposed by a DOT inspector as an interim measure and the 'easiest' way to get it transferred to private plates as a panel van.

You seem to have some knowledge of the TC plates. We are wondering if we can just transfer the ownership as is (with TC plates) and deal with the re-certification before it is due for the pits in June?

We have owned the bus for 5 days and I am already pulling my hair out!

Cheers, Roslyn and Don
FollowupID: 759766

Follow Up By: Wayne's 60 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 02:19

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 02:19
Hi folks,

There have been some good answers in reply to your initial question.

Maybe attending the Kelmscott centre will result in a different outcome.

With tongue in cheek .......... a bed roll, 20 litre water container and a gas stove will cover the basic requirements for a motor home .......... and the reduced costs associated with that classification.

While I am not clear on all the regulations for a vehicles carrying "TC" plates ........ dealing directly with a DOT centre .......... and being polite .................. would be a good place to start .............. and with respect to ALL EO members ......... probably the best.

Wayne & Sally.
FollowupID: 759791

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 11:25

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 11:25
Hi Wayne & Sally

I must say, the image of a bed roll taped to the floor and a water container and gas stove tied to the walls of the large, empty rear of the bus gave me a good laugh! Not sure if I would get away with that though!

Thanks again for all your support and suggestions.

Cheers, Roslyn and Don
FollowupID: 759811

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 22:52

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 22:52
Batman - A bureaucracy it is. A Govt Dept with so many rules and regulations, they can rarely interpret them properly themselves.
Talk to two different people in there, and you'll get little help, and quite often, two different conflicting sets of advice.

So - let me get this right. You want to transfer the ownership from another operator who was in the tour business - and you want to register it as a motorhome?
Firstly, the TC plates are not transferable, they are "permit" plates issued to a commercial operator for a specific use.

If the bus ("omnibus" in Department-speak) ownership is to be transferred to a private owner, the insurance category has to be changed, the number plates changed to private plates (new plates issued) the transfer form submitted, additional fees paid - and the omnibus MAY require inspection (go over the pits).

Now, the rub here, is that even a privately owned omnibus (not for hire or reward - with seating for more than 12 passengers), is still liable to much of the omnibus regulations that apply to commercial operators.

Virtually no omnibuses with substantial passenger-carrying capacity, are in private hands and registered as private vehicles.
The reasons being, that the Dept considers an omnibus with seating for more than 12 passengers as a commercial vehicle designed for hire or reward - and they do not have a category for private ownership of omnibuses, that still have passenger seating for more than 12 passengers.

Now, you're saying that you can't register the Coaster as a motorhome unless it has a bed and cooking facilities. These are obviously going to take time to install. So you are currently in limbo.
The simple solution that I see to your problem is to let the rego lapse, but send in a transfer form for the purchase and ownership transfer.

The Dept will issue you with a receipt stating the vehicle details, and that they recognise that ownership has been transferred to you, but that registration has lapsed until you present the vehicle for inspection and registration again.

Upon completion of the internals that you're installing to make it a motor home, you present the vehicle for inspection and re-registration.
This Departmental receipt is then proffered as proof that you're the legal owner, and it also cues them in to the fact that there is a full record of the vehicles previous rego details on file.

I have gone through this process with the Dept for a Mazda van that I purchased, that was being used as a campervan. The rego was current when I inspected it, but when I sent in the transfer, the rego had lapsed. The Dept sent me this receipt that identifies me as the new owner, and all I have to do is present this receipt upon inspection for re-registration, and all the vehicles previous rego records are still held on file, to smooth the re-registration.

You obviously need time to revamp the interior. By letting the rego lapse, you can re-register at your leisure - but by transferring the ownership, without registration, you have proof that you legally own the vehicle - and the Dept has the record of the vehicles rego history.

The Dept is mostly concerned that all registration or ownership transfers are above board and traceable. They have a problem with shonks trying to pull swift ones on them every day - with rebirthed vehicles - attempted ownership transfers with no paper records to back up the transfer - stolen vehicles being re-registered - and a 100 other shonky moves.

As a result, they are intent on tracking and tracing every single vehicle that has ever been registered - and who bought what from who, and where, to the nth degree.
If you present a vehicle with no plates, an unknown previous rego record - and minimal paperwork showing a sale - you get to fill out a lot of forms that involve asking lots of questions about the sale details - and this is also a statutory declaration.

I hope this helps you somewhat. A call to the Dept's Passenger Services Business Unit on 1300 660 147 might get you some advice and assistance. Just hope you don't get an officious Indian female dog Dept employee, who tries to browbeat you.

Commercial plates -

Passenger transport vehicle services -

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 484500

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:06

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:06
Thanks Ron for your very informative discourse!

Reading between the lines I can guess that you have also had such experiences. In my case, the the officious DOT call centre employee was male who, I can only guess had recently attended a course on the Federal guidelines. He was only interested in directing me to various publications such as...

Your reply "Dept considers an omnibus with seating for more than 12 passengers as a commercial vehicle" has given me another idea... I can take out most of the seats (which is our intent anyway) and we should be able to register it as a private omnibus. Letting the licence lapse is not so desirable as we will need a permit to take it for rust work and electrical certifications etc.

I now can't wait til Monday and start asking more questions.

We WILL succeed. Defeat is not an option

Cheers, Roslyn and Don
FollowupID: 759778

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:43

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:43
Batman - Yes, that's a stunt I didn't think of. If you reduce the seating to less than 8 passengers, I would expect it could effectively be registered privately, the same as any people mover, such as a Tarago.

The only difference to a Tarago then, is needing a truck licence to drive it, if it's GVM is over 4.5 tonnes, as I suspect it is.

Bush Wanderers suggestion can be taken a step further. All country shires are able to inspect and register most vehicles. You don't have to go to a city licencing centre to conduct the transfer or have the vehicle inspected.

You can go to any Shire and have the transfer done, and an inspection carried out, even if your residential address for rego is in Perth.
The Shires get a slice of the rego fee for doing the Depts work - plus they get the whole inspection fee if an inspection is done. As a result, they are generally keen to do regos, because it's extra money for them.
The Shires all carry new Perth rego plates in stock, and people registering in the Shire have the choice of a Shire number plate, or a standard city-style number plate when they register a vehicle.

You generally need to call the Shire of your choice and organise a time for the rego transfer, and particularly, inspection. Usually, the Shire mechanic does the inspection.
The Shires run at a slower pace than anything in the city, and you won't have to run the gamut of massive queues for everything, as in the city.
I'd be calling the York or Beverley Shires, and making the 100 or 130km trip to do the transfer and inspection, if needed, in either Shire.
You will need a certified weighbridge ticket for the transfer or inspection, so ask about this, before you go to a Shire.

Cheers - Ron.
FollowupID: 759783

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:00

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:00
I am sooo happy I joined this forum. This is the first time for a few days I have had any hope.

The tare weight of the Coaster is 3.17 tonnes. I am fairly confident we can keep the GVM to under 4.5 tonnes. Most are driven on an ordinary licence and, if needs be, we can get the Light Rigid licence without too much hassle.

I just want to thank you all again for lifting my spirits and giving me a glimmer of hope, not to mention the excellent ideas.

Cheers, Roslyn
FollowupID: 759784

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:18

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:18
Hmmm - I think you'll find that if your Coaster currently weighs 3.17 tonnes, and you fully equip your Coaster as a motorhome, it will run to over 4.5 tonnes. It's amazing how the weight builds up when you're installing living equipment.

Don't forget that your rego is based on vehicle tare, and the vehicles intended use. The useage category determines the 3rd party insurance premium, and the licence fee is based on the tare weight of the vehicle.

If you register it now as an 8 seater people mover - when you fully fit it out, you will have to apply to alter the registration details, and re-register it as a motorhome - as the useage category has changed, along with the weight.
This useage category change, and weight change, will probably incur another vehicle inspection requirement.

Don't forget that it's $145 just for the inspection fee, for any commercial vehicle over 1 tonne (it might have gone up, too - that's what it was, last time I checked).
As a result, you need to weigh up the costs involved in my first suggestion of letting the rego lapse - installing all the internals that's involved in the conversion - then just doing the one inspection and registration.

Permits to move the unregistered vehicle are pretty cheap, and last for 48 hrs - and you don't need to have it inspected for moving under a permit, you only have to state that the brakes and lights work, and that it's roadworthy.

Cheers - Ron.
FollowupID: 759787

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:26

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 01:26
Thanks again Ron. More food for thought.
Cheers, Roslyn and Don
FollowupID: 759788

Reply By: Bush Wanderer - Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 23:58

Saturday, Apr 28, 2012 at 23:58
I would speak the Kelmscott guys......they are pretty easy going and have always been helpful with sorting rego issues. They just sorted an issue with my dads 5th wheeler and Isuzu truck with QLD plates, whereas dealing over the phone and on the net prove very unhelpful. They even upgraded a licensing issue with the truck, and passed the trailer without filling checking the correct width with the awning.
AnswerID: 484505

Follow Up By: Batman59 - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:12

Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 00:12
Thanks BW
I have thus far been dealing with Midland. I am sure the suggestion to licence it as a panelvan was a genuine attempt to help, but you can't just go out and buy a cargo barrier ready made for a Coaster!
The Kelmscott suggestion will be my next attempt.
Cheers, Roslyn
FollowupID: 759779

Reply By: Batman59 - Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 22:59

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 22:59
Hi all
I am pleased to announce that we are now the proud owners of a 7 meter long panel van (ex tour bus). It went over the pits today and is now licensed with normal plates.
My thanks again to Wayne & Sally, Ron and BW for their advice and encouragement
Now comes the 'fun' of kitting it out
Cheers, Roslyn and Don
AnswerID: 485414

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