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SB-1376 Transportation network companies: accessibility for persons with disabilities.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/12/2018 09:00 PM
SB1376:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 12, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 1376


Introduced by Senator Hill

February 16, 2018


An act to amend Section Sections 5431 and 5440 of, and to add and repeal Section 5440.5 to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to transportation.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1376, as amended, Hill. Transportation network companies: accessibility for persons with disabilities.
The Passenger Charter-party Carriers’ Act defines a transportation network company as an organization, whether a corporation, partnership, sole proprietor, or other form, operating in California that provides prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled platform to connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles. The act also defines a participating driver or driver as any person who uses a vehicle in connection with a transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform to connect with passengers. A violation of the act or a regulation of the Public Utilities Commission with regard to charter-party carriers is generally a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 3 months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.
Existing regulations of the Public Utilities Commission require a transportation network company to allow passengers to indicate whether they require a wheelchair-accessible vehicle or a vehicle otherwise accessible to individuals with disabilities and requires the transportation network company to submit a specified report to the Public Utilities Commission detailing the number and percentage of their customers who requested accessible vehicles and how often the transportation network company was able to comply with requests for accessible vehicles.
This bill would express the intent of the Legislature that every transportation network company ensure that it provides full and equal access to all persons with disabilities. The bill would require the commission, by July 1, 2019, January 1, 2020, to (1) develop regulations relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users who need an a wheelchair accessible vehicle, who utilize transportation network company transportation services, (2) consider assessing a fee on transportation network companies to fund on-demand accessible transportation services for persons with disabilities to ensure full and equal access to transportation network company services, and (3) vehicle. As part of these regulations, the bill would require the commission to conduct workshops with stakeholders, including all interested California cities and counties and persons with disabilities, stakeholders in order to determine community need and demand, transportation provider supply, and educational outreach objectives and to develop programs for on-demand services, service alternatives, and partnerships. As part of these regulations, the bill would also require the commission require each transportation network company to be fully accessible to persons with disabilities and, if this requirement cannot be met, the bill would require the commission to assess a fee on the transportation network company to fund on-demand accessible transportation services for persons with disabilities, as specified, until the transportation network company is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. The bill would require the commission to report to the Legislature by January 1, 2023, on the compliance with these provisions and, if applicable, on the effectiveness of the transportation programs and partnerships funded pursuant to these provisions.
This bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2025.
Because a violation of the regulation adopted by the commission would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
This bill would include a change in state statute that would result in a taxpayer paying a higher tax within the meaning of Section 3 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution, and thus would require for passage the approval of 2/3 of the membership of each house of the Legislature.
Vote: MAJORITY2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Transportation Now for All Act.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5431 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

5431.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Participating driver” or “driver” means any person who uses a vehicle in connection with a transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform to connect with passengers.
(b) “Personal vehicle” means a vehicle that is used by a participating driver to provide prearranged transportation services for compensation that meets all of the following requirements:
(1) Has a passenger capacity of eight persons or less, including the driver.
(2) Is owned, leased, rented for a term that does not exceed 30 days, or otherwise authorized for use by the participating driver.
(3) Meets all inspection and other safety requirements imposed by the commission.
(4) Is not a taxicab or limousine.
(c) “Transportation network company” means an organization, including, but not limited to, a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietor, or any other entity, operating in California that provides prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers with drivers using a personal vehicle.
(d) “Transportation network company insurance” means a liability insurance policy that specifically covers liabilities arising from a driver’s use of a vehicle in connection with a transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform.
(e) “Wheelchair accessible vehicle” or “WAV” means a vehicle capable of transporting nonfolding motorized wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or other mobility devices.

SECTION 1.SEC. 3.

 Section 5440 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

5440.
 The Legislature makes the following findings and declarations:
(a) The commission has initiated regulation of transportation network companies as a new category of charter-party carriers and continues to develop appropriate regulations for this new service.
(b) Given the rapidly evolving transportation network company service, it is the intent of the Legislature to continue ongoing oversight of the commission’s regulation of these services in order to enact legislation to adjust commission authority and impose specific requirements or prohibitions as deemed necessary as these services evolve.
(c) It is further the intent of the Legislature that every the commission initiate regulation of charter-party carriers in accordance with Section 5440.5 to ensure that transportation network company ensure that it provides services provide full and equal access to all persons with disabilities. disabilities, including those who use nonfolding mobility devices, and to comply with Sections 51 and 54.1 of the Civil Code.
(d) Transportation network companies have made a significant and positive impact on the lives of many people by reducing transportation barriers that limited access to jobs, health care, and society. Many persons with disabilities, such as deaf, blind, hard-of-hearing, or low-vision individuals have been able to enjoy these positive impacts. However, other persons with disabilities, especially individuals who require wheelchair accessible vehicles, have not experienced a similar reduction in transportation barriers.
(e) The availability of transportation services, especially on-demand transportation service, is essential for economic competitiveness and quality of life. Many individuals fulfill their transportation needs through vehicle ownership. However, transportation network companies or other application-based ride hailing services offer alternative, on-demand access to transportation.
(f) There is a lack of on-demand wheelchair accessible vehicles in California, which is likely explained, in part, due to WAVs generally having higher operating costs, higher fuel costs, higher liability insurance, and requiring additional time to serve riders who use wheelchairs.
(g) The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101 et seq.), and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Section 51 of the Civil Code) are groundbreaking civil rights acts, protecting the rights of persons with disabilities by ensuring equal access to employment, public accommodations, telecommunication services, and public and private transportation.
(h) The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Unruh Civil Rights Act require the services provided by transportation companies meet equivalent service standards that include, but are not limited to, response times, fares, and geographic service areas for disabled persons that are comparable to the services provided to persons without disabilities.
(i) It is the intent of the Legislature that California be a national leader in the deployment and adoption of on-demand transportation options for persons with disabilities.
(j) It is the policy of the state to encourage collaboration among stakeholders and to promote partnerships to harness the expertise and strengths of all to serve the public interest.
(k) The Legislature further finds that adoption of services in communities that were previously underserved takes time, and requires robust dialogue, educational outreach, and partnerships to build trust in the new services.

SEC. 2.SEC. 4.

 Section 5440.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

5440.5.
 (a) As part of the regulations referenced in subdivision (a) of Section 5440, the commission shall do all of the following:

(a)

(1) Develop and adopt regulations, by July 1, 2019, January 1, 2020, relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users who need an accessible vehicle, who utilize transportation network company transportation services. a WAV. These regulations shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

(b)Consider assessing a fee on transportation network companies to fund on-demand accessible transportation services for persons with disabilities to ensure compliance with Section 54.1 of the Civil Code by transportation network companies.

(c)

(A) Conduct The commission shall conduct workshops with stakeholders, including all interested California cities and counties and counties, disability rights organizations, persons with disabilities, transportation and transit agencies, and transportation network companies, in order to determine community need demand, transportation provider supply, and educational outreach objectives and to develop programs for on-demand services, service alternatives, and partnerships. partnerships consistent with the requirements of this section. Workshops may also examine topics including, but not limited to, issuing licenses at a reduced rate for WAVs, fuel costs, designated pickup locations for drivers in locations where door-to-door service is not feasible, or additional incentives for WAV drivers.
(B) The commission shall require each transportation network company to be fully accessible to persons with disabilities, in accordance with Sections 51 and 54.1 of the Civil Code. If this requirement cannot be met, the commission shall assess a fee on the transportation network company to fund on-demand accessible transportation services for persons with disabilities until the transportation network company is fully accessible to persons with disabilities to ensure compliance with Sections 51 and 54.1 of the Civil Code. The commission shall allocate the revenue from the fees collected from a transportation network company for use in each county pursuant to subparagraph (C) in a manner that is proportional to the percent of the revenue originating in that county from the transportation network company. A transportation network company shall report the percent of its revenue originating in each county to the commission.
(C) The commission shall request all interested parties to submit plans, created in consultation with disability rights groups and persons with disabilities, by January 1, 2020, to establish on-demand transportation programs or partnerships to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, including users who need a WAV. From the plans that are submitted, the commission shall select on-demand transportation programs or partnerships to receive funding based on criteria that it adopts as part of these regulations. The commission shall provide funding to the on-demand transportation programs or partnerships from revenues derived from the fees on a competitive basis consistent with subparagraph (B). A party selected to receive funding shall submit biannual status reports to the commission for the duration of the funding. These reports shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following information:
(i) The number of WAVs used.
(ii) The number of rides provided by WAVs.
(iii) The number of rides provided to persons with disabilities that are not WAVs.
(iv) The incentives provided to WAV drivers and owners.
(v) The geographic area of availability of WAV service.
(vi) The response time of WAVs.
(vii) A summary of educational outreach to disability communities, including, but not limited to, information regarding availability of WAVs for wheelchair users within the geographic area.
(viii) A detailed list of program expenditures.
(2) Report to the Legislature by January 1, 2023, on the compliance with the section and, if applicable, on the effectiveness of the transportation programs or partnerships administered pursuant to this section. The commission may hire an independent entity for not more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to fulfill the requirements of this paragraph, which shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of the biannual reporting requirements of paragraph (1), availability of unallocated funds, need to reassess fund allocations, analysis of current program capabilities and deficiencies, and recommendations to overcome any deficiencies identified. The report required by this paragraph shall be submitted to the Legislature in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(3) Create a working group with stakeholders described in paragraph (1) to examine the variety of agencies, localities, and programs that provide equivalent transportation services for persons with disabilities, including passenger stage carriers and charter-party carriers within the commission’s jurisdiction, in order to evaluate ways to partner with those agencies to provide services to disabled persons in a nonduplicative, nondiscriminatory, and more efficient manner.
(b) Nothing in this section shall limit the rights of any person to pursue any remedies or causes of action that they may have under any state or federal law to enforce compliance with those laws or the obligations stated in this section.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 5.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.