BILL ANALYSIS Ó AB 1677 Page 1 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. AB 1677 Page 2 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. AB 1677 Page 3 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 AB 1677 Page 4 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 AB 1677 Page 5 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