Passenger Carrier Frequently Asked Questions
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Carriers are required to file evidence of one or more types of insurance coverage to secure and maintain active operating authority or registration. All carriers are required to file evidence of liability coverage. Minimum limits vary by type of carrier and other factors. Please see Insurance E-Filing for more information.
Any for-hire passenger carrier that employs workers in its operation must file evidence of workers' compensation coverage by filing either (1) a certificate of insurance (Commission form TL-938) or (2) a certificate of consent to self-insure issued by the Department of Industrial Relations.
Minimum insurance coverage limits and other requirements are set forth in Commission general orders. You may view a table that shows the General Order applicable to each type of carrier and coverage (for example, charter-party carrier liability coverage = General Order 115). From there you may view any insurance-related general order in its entirety.
These are designations in the License Section computer system for motor carriers of passengers (PSG). They are used only for internal record keeping purposes. Carriers should use the designations TCP (charter-party carriers), PSC (passenger stage corporations), or VCC (vessel common carriers) with their permit or certificate number on vehicles, in advertising, or for any other carrier identification purpose.
In most cases the transportation of passengers for compensation requires operating authority from the PUC. However, the law provides some exceptions. Two major ones are taxicab service, which is subject to local regulation by cities and counties, and medical transportation vehicles. All of the exceptions are set forth in Public Utilities Code Sections 226 and 5353.
Yes. The PUC issues passenger stage corporation (PSC) certificates and charter-party carrier (TCP) permits and certificates. There are distinct differences in the manner in which PSCs and TCPs operate:
- A PSC provides transportation service to the general public on an individual-fare basis. Most PSCs operate a fixed route, scheduled service, or an on-call, door-to-door airport shuttle-type service.
- A TCP charters a vehicle, on a prearranged basis, for the exclusive use of an individual or group. Charges are based on mileage or time of use, or a combination of both. Also falling under the TCP category are round-trip sightseeing services, and certain specialized services not offered to the general public, such as transportation incidental to another business and transportation under contract to a governmental agency, an industrial or business firm, or a private school.
The law provides three types of certificates and three types of permits. These operating authorities and the services they authorize are:
- Class A certificate - Charter service between any points in the state; round-trip sightseeing service.
- Class B certificate - Charter service between any point within a radius of 125 air miles of the carrier's home terminal to any other point in the state. (Per federal law, the mileage limitation may not apply to transportation provided in vehicles that seat more than ten, including the driver.)
- Class C certificate - Transportation services incidental to commercial balloon operations, commercial river rafting or skiing.
- "P" permit - Charter services using only vehicles under 15-passenger seating capacity.
- "S" permit - Round-trip sightseeing services.
- "Z" permit - Specialized services not offered to the general public, namely, transportation incidental to another business; transportation under contract with industrial and business firms, governmental agencies, and private schools; and transportation of agricultural workers to and from farms.
Applicants for a PSC certificate must file a formal application in accordance with the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure. (Note in particular the requirements for certificate applications contained in Rule 21.) Certificates are granted by a formal decision of the Commission. The decision granting a certificate will typically give the applicant 120 days to make various required filings with the License Section (posting proof of insurance via efile insurance online, drug and alcohol testing information, etc.). Once these requirements are met, the applicant is sent a letter advising that operations may commence.
The application filing fee for a PSC certificate is $500. The application filing fee for a charter-party permit or certificate is $1,000, except for a Class A charter-party certificate, which requires a filing fee of $1,500. The filing fee must accompany your application.
PSC certificates may be transferred by formal application to the Commission (see section entitled "How do I apply for a PSC certificate?"). The filing fee is $300.
TCP certificates (Class A, B, and C) may be transferred by completing a transfer application through the Transportation Carrier Portal. The filing fee is $300.
TCP permits (type P, S, and Z) are not transferable.
TCP certificates and permits must be renewed every three years. The renewal fee is $100. PSC certificates do not require renewal.
Yes, there are some common requirements related to insurance and safety of operation:
All carriers (TCP, PSC, and private carriers) must have public liability and property damage insurance on file with the CPUC before we will issue an operating authority.
Carriers who have employees must have workers compensation insurance on file with the CPUC. Participate in the DMV Employer Pull-Notice System.
Participate in the PUC's drug and alcohol testing program.
For any vehicle seating more than 10 (including the driver), the CPUC will request for a CHP safety inspection for your vehicle(s)
With the exception of holders of a Class C charter-party carrier certificate, the following minimum liability insurance requirements apply (based on vehicle seating capacity, not including the driver):
7 passengers or less . . . . . . . $750,000
8 through 15 passengers . . .$1,500,000
16 passengers or more . . . . $5,000,000
The minimum coverage for Class C charter-party carriers is $750,000, regardless of vehicle seating capacity. For additional information see General Order 101 (applicable to PSCs) or General Order 115 (applicable to TCPs).
The Employer Pull-Notice (EPN) System is administered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It provides employers and regulatory agencies with a means of promoting driver safety through the ongoing review of driver records. All applicants for passenger carrier operating authority are required to participate in the EPN System and to inform the Commission of the requester code number assigned by the DMV. To enroll in the EPN System, contact the DMV at (916) 657-6346 or visit its Web site at www.dmv.ca.gov
Applicants for PSC or TCP operating authority must provide for a mandatory controlled substance and alcohol testing program as adopted by the Commission pursuant to Public Utilities Code Sections 1032.1 and 5374(a)(2) and b)(1)(I). The program, which is substantially similar to federal drug testing regulations, applies to drivers who operate vehicles with a seating capacity of 15 persons or less. Program requirements are set forth in Commission Resolutions TL-18716 and TL-18760. Included are requirements for pre-employment, random and post accident testing of drivers, employee education, and supervisor training. Applicants who will employ drivers to operate vehicles seating 16 persons or more are required to comply with the federal regulations.
PSC operators are required to file a tariff with the Commission setting forth their passenger fares. Carriers must adhere to these filed tariff fares. Fares can be increased only upon approval of the Commission. Some PSC operators have been granted a "Zone of Rate Freedom," which allows them to raise and lower their fares within a defined range by amending their tariff upon 10 days' notice to the Commission and the public. The level of charges assessed by TCP operators is not regulated. However, in most cases the law provides that their charges must be based on vehicle mileage or time of use, or a combination thereof. Exceptions where individual fares may be charged are round-trip sightseeing operators and school bus contractors who are compensated by the pupils' parents.
Carriers authorized under a PUC-issued certificate or permit to serve an airport may do so only with the approval of the airport authority involved. Prospective applicants for operating authority, particularly a PSC certificate, are urged to contact the airport(s) involved to learn whether additional carriers are being allowed to operate on airport property and what the airport's requirements are.
The Commission collects from each licensed carrier a fee based on the carrier's gross intrastate operating revenue. Currently the fee is ¼ of 1% of revenue. Carriers with annual revenue or $100,000 or less remit the fee annually together with a flat fee of $25. All other carriers remit the fee on a quarterly basis accompanied by a flat fee of $10. Late-filed reports are subject to a 25% penalty.
Send a written request to:
Public Utilities Commission
Attn: Supervisor, License Section
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102-3298
Enclose copies of the materials you will use to provide the required services, namely:
- Administration of the client's random testing program.
- Administration of the client's initial pre-employment testing.
- Educational materials.
- A written company policy.
- Supervisor training.
- Administration of the client's Employee Assistance Program.
Also provide a statement that you are familiar with the Commission's alcohol and controlled substance testing program requirements, including General Orders 157 and 158, Resolutions TL-18716 and TL-18760, and Parts 40 and 382 of Title 49 of the California Code of Regulations (CFR).
On September 30, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., signed Senate Bill (SB611) an urgency statute, eliminating the special license plate program administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Yes. Carriers are required to maintain on file with the Commission an equipment list of all vehicles in use under each certificate and permit. The Commission must be notified within 10 days of the date any vehicle is put into or pulled out of service. Use Form PL 664 ("Equipment Statement of Applicant and CHP Inspection Request") to make additions or deletions to your equipment list. Submit the completed form and copy of the DMV commercial registration if adding vehicles to the License Section.