Bus fire epidemic taking place in Australia

36 buses in New South Wales have caught fire so far this year

The state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia is going through a bus fire epidemic at the moment after the 36th bus to catch fire this year burst into flames on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge on Thursday.

The driver of the bus has been praised after he put his life on the line to get all 30 passengers off safely. Three people, including the driver, were treated for smoke inhalation afterwards.

Speaking to 9NEWS Lisa Brett, a passenger on the bus, said: "There were just flames and it was unbelievable, all this black smoke."

"He was amazing, he kept his head and everything and it wasn't until we got off that we thought, 'oh my god, this is unbelievable'," she added.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, almost 2,700 buses in NSW have yet to be fitted with fire suppression systems.

Bus fires have been on the rise year-on-year in NSW with 29 occurring in 2014, 28 in 2013 and 40 in 2015. 

A bus safety report by the Office of Transport Safety Investigations released at the end of 2015 notes "most (of the 40) fires were of a minor nature and did not result in significant damage."

The report also shows the majority of the fires (42%) were caused by brake-related incidents with electrical issues causing 28% of outbursts. 

A similar bus evacuation occurred on a school bus in Arundel, Queensland in July after a driver evacuated a school bus moments before it went up in flames.