Six "deeply traumatised" passengers escaped the smoke-filled vehicle with the help of a taxi driver who forced open the back door of the bus.
Paramedics treated 11 people for smoke inhalation and minor injuries.
Police have ruled out terrorism and charged a 48-year-old man.
Anthony Donahue is accused of murder and arson, and 11 counts of attempted murder.
The bus driver was identified as Manmeet Alisher, a 29-year-old man well known in Brisbane's Indian community.
Friends described him as a talented singer and dancer who was engaged to be married.