BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1677


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          Date of Hearing:  April 18, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 1677  
          (Ting) - As Amended April 20, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Vehicles:  tour buses:  safety inspections


          SUMMARY:  Requires the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to  
          develop protocols for the inspection of tour buses by local  
          agencies.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires CHP to develop protocols, in consultation with  
            representatives of local government in which tour buses  
            operate, for entering into memoranda of understanding with  
            local governments to increase the number of tour buses  
            inspected by CHP.  


           2)Requires that any inspection conducted pursuant to CHP's  
            protocols not be duplicative of existing inspection  
            requirements imposed by state law.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Defines "charter-party carrier of passengers" (CPC) as a  
            person engaged in the transportation of persons by motor  
            vehicle for compensation over any public highway.








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          2)Defines "passenger stage corporation" (PSC) as a corporation  
            or person engaged as a common carrier, for compensation, in  
            the ownership, control, operation, or management of any  
            passenger stage over any public highway in the state between a  
            fixed termini or over a regular route, as specified.


          3)Establishes the "Passenger Charter-Party Carriers Act," which  
            directs the CPUC to issue permits or certificates to  
            charter-party carriers, investigate complaints against  
            carriers, and cancel, revoke, or suspend permits and  
            certificates for specific violations.


          4)Defines a "bus" as a vehicle designed, used, or maintained for  
            carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver, which is  
            used to transport persons for compensation or profit, or is  
            used by any non-profit organization or group.  


          5)Defines a "tour bus" as a bus operated by or for a CPC or PSC.


          6)Requires CHP to regulate the equipment, maintenance, and safe  
            operation of tour buses.


          7)Requires CHP to inspect every maintenance facility or terminal  
            of any person who operates any bus and prohibits a person from  
            operating a bus without this inspection having been conducted.


          8)Additionally requires all tour buses to be inspected every 45  
            days by the tour bus operator, or more often if necessary to  
            ensure safe operation.










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          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown


          COMMENTS:  Existing law generally vests CPUC with the  
          responsibility to regulate CPCs and PSCs.  Tour buses operated  
          by CPCs and PSCs are required to be inspected every 13 months by  
          CHP and additionally every 45 days by the tour bus operator.   
          The findings of the inspections carried out by CHP are reported  
          to CPUC, and tour buses may not legally operate unless the bus  
          operator's terminal and maintenance facilities have been  
          inspected.  Terminal inspections typically include inspections  
          of a vehicle's registration, the driver's licensure, and the  
          condition of the vehicle itself.


          Due to the size of tour bus fleets, CHP only inspects a  
          representative sample of each carrier's fleet in the annual  
          inspection.  According to some estimates, CHP inspects less than  
          1/3 of all buses, leaving some buses uninspected.  Data from CHP  
          and CPUC indicating the true proportion of vehicles inspected is  
          not readily available. 


          This bill would require CHP to develop protocols for entering  
          into memoranda of understanding with local governments to allow  
          the local government to request that CHP increase the number of  
          locally operating tour buses inspected by the department  
          pursuant to existing 13-month inspection requirements.  The  
          author cites a number of incidents occurring in San Francisco  
          that resulted in fatalities and injuries in recent years as  
          demonstrative of the need to fully inspect tour buses operating  
          in California.  The author believes that if CHP is unable to  
          adequately inspect the state's tour bus fleet with its current  
          resources, local agencies should be empowered to perform those  
          inspections under a standard set by CHP, leaving a smaller  
          proportion of buses uninspected, and potentially, a smaller  
          proportion of unsafe vehicles on the road.  According to the  
          author, this bill would ensure that local communities in which  
          tour buses operate have the authority to flag and inspect  








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          problem buses and companies.


          Related legislation:  AB 1574 (Chiu), requires CPUC to verify  
          with DMV that the buses, limousines, and modified limousines  
          used by a PSC or CPC have been reported and meet safety  
          requirements.  AB 1574 passed out of the Assembly Utilities and  
          Commerce on March 30, 2016, with a 13-0 vote and is scheduled to  
          be heard by this committee on April 18, 2016.


          SB 812 (Hill), requires CHP to develop inspection fees for CPCs  
          and requires CPCs or PSCs to schedule CHP inspections, as  
          specified.  SB 812 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate  
          Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on April 19,  
          2016.


          Previous legislation:  SB 541 (Hill), Chapter 718, Statutes of  
          2015, codified the State Auditor report's recommendation on  
          strengthening CPUC's oversight of transportation-related  
          activities of household good carrier and CPCs.


          SB 611 (Hill), Chapter 860, Statutes of 2014, required all  
          modified limousines, as defined, to be equipped with two fire  
          extinguishers and required the CHP to develop and implement an  
          inspection program for modified limousines, as specified.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          City and County of San Francisco








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          Consumer Attorneys of California


          Honorable Norman Yee, San Francisco Board of Supervisors,  
          District 7




          Opposition


          California Association of Highway Patrolmen


          California Bus Association




          Analysis Prepared by:Justin Behrens / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093