Gold Bus Ballarat driver faces court over Montague St bridge crash

A Ballarat bus driver who crashed into South Melbourne's notorious Montague Street bridge, causing 11 passengers to be hospitalised, has faced court charged with dangerous driving and traffic offences.

Jack Aston, 53, appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The Gold Bus Ballarat driver was driving about 14 delegates from a tourism conference when he crashed into the bridge on Montague Street about 10.40am on February 22.

At the time it took firefighters nearly an hour to free four people trapped inside the crushed vehicle.

The passengers were attending a major international tourism conference in Melbourne and were visiting local landmarks before returning to the Convention Centre.

Court documents show he was charged with careless driving, six counts of negligently causing serious injury and six counts of dangerous driving causing serious injury.

Police also accuse Aston of reckless conduct for driving under a light rail bridge overpass that was only half a metre taller than the bus itself, "placing persons... in danger of serious injury".

They say he failed to obey a low clearance sign, and failed to take reasonable measures "to ensure the safety of the passengers by failing to plan a safe route of travel when unfamiliar with the intended area of travel".

He also allegedly failed to record information he was legally required to as the driver of a "fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle" driver on the day of the crash, and six other times earlier that month.

Magistrate Peter Dunn released him on bail until his next court hearing on December 1.

- Jane Lee, The Age