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

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Date Published: 08/06/2018 02:00 PM
SB1376:v96#DOCUMENT

Revised  August 16, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  August 06, 2018
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
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher)

February 16, 2018


An act to amend Sections 5431 and Section 5440 of, to add Section 5431.5 to, and to add and repeal Section 5440.5 to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to transportation. transportation, and making an appropriation therefor.


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 rule 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 rules 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 require the commission, by January 1, 2020, to develop regulations commission, as part of its regulation of transportation network companies (TNCs), to establish a program in a new or existing proceeding relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users who need a wheelchair accessible vehicle. As part of these regulations, the program the bill would require the commission to conduct commission, by January 1, 2019, to begin conducting workshops with stakeholders in order to determine community demand, transportation provider supply, geographic areas, and educational outreach objectives and to develop recommendations for programs for on-demand services, service alternatives, services 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 each TNC, by January 1, 2020, to pay on a quarterly basis to the commission an amount equivalent to, at a minimum, $0.05 for each TNC trip completed using the TNC’s online-enabled application or platform that originates in one of the geographic areas selected by the commission for inclusion in the program and would authorize the commission to adjust that fee in each geographic area to different levels based on the cost of providing adequate wheelchair accessible vehicle service within the geographic area. The bill would exempt a TNC from payment of the fee if it is accessible to persons with disabilities, as specified, and would authorize the commission to reduce the amount of money a TNC is required to pay if it meets certain requirements. The bill would require moneys collected by the commission to be deposited in the TNC Access for All Fund, which the bill would create, and would continuously appropriate moneys deposited in the fund to the commission for purposes of the program. The bill would require the commission to distribute funds from the TNC Access for All Fund on a competitive basis to access providers that establish on-demand transportation programs or partnerships to meet the needs of persons with disabilities in the geographic areas selected by the commission. The bill would require the commission to authorize no more than 2% of existing funds collected from TNCs and deposited in the Public Utilities Commission Transportation Reimbursement Account to be distributed to accessibility advocates who provide a substantial contribution to the proceeding, thereby making an appropriation. The bill would require the commission to report to the Legislature by January 1, 2023, 2024, on the compliance with these provisions and, if applicable, on the effectiveness of the on-demand transportation programs and or partnerships funded pursuant to these provisions. The bill would authorize the commission to hire an independent entity to administer the program and to complete the report to the Legislature.
This bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2025. 2026.
Because a violation of the regulation rules 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: 2/3   Appropriation: NOYES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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 TNC Access 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.

SEC. 2.

 Section 5431.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

5431.5.
 In addition to the definitions provided in Section 5431, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Access provider” means an organization or entity that directly provides, or contracts with a separate organization or entity, to provide on-demand transportation to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
(b) “Wheelchair accessible vehicle” or “WAV” means a vehicle capable of transporting nonfolding motorized wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or other mobility devices that include a ramp or lift to allow access.

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 the intent of the Legislature that the commission initiate regulation of charter-party carriers in accordance with Section 5440.5 to ensure that transportation network company services provide full and equal access to all and participating drivers do not discriminate against persons with disabilities, including those who use nonfolding mobility devices, and to comply with Sections 51 and 54.1 of the Civil Code. devices.

(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.

(d) Technology application-based ride hailing services, such as those services provided by transportation network companies (TNC), have impacted the lives of many people by reducing transportation barriers that limited access to jobs, health care, and society. However, more can be done to enable increased access to on-demand ride hailing services for people with disabilities, especially for persons using nonfolding motorized wheelchairs.
(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. ownership, public transit, carpooling, or walking and biking. 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.

(f) There exists a lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) on TNC online-enabled applications or platforms throughout California. In comparison to standard vehicles available via TNC technology applications, WAVs have higher purchase prices, higher operating and maintenance costs, higher fuel costs, and higher liability insurance, and require additional time to serve riders who use nonfolding motorized wheelchairs.

(i)

(g) 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)

(h) 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)

(i) The Legislature further finds that adoption of services in communities that were previously underserved takes may take time, and requires robust dialogue, educational outreach, and partnerships to build trust in the new services.
(j) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission establish programs to facilitate greater adoption of wheelchair accessible vehicles on transportation network companies’ online-enabled applications or platforms.

SEC. 4.

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

5440.5.
 (a) As Notwithstanding Section 5431, for purposes of this section, “transportation network company” or “TNC” means transportation providers regulated by the commission that provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform to connect passengers, including autonomous vehicles, charter-party carriers, and new modes of ridesharing technology that may arise through innovation and subsequent regulation.
(b) As part of the regulations regulation of transportation network companies referenced in subdivision (a) of Section 5440, the commission shall do all of the following:
(1) Develop and adopt regulations, by January 1, 2020, In a new or existing proceeding, establish a program relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users who need a WAV. These regulations This program shall include, but are is not limited to, the following:
(A) The By January 1, 2019, the commission shall conduct begin conducting workshops with stakeholders, including California cities and counties, disability rights organizations, persons with disabilities, transportation and transit agencies, social service transportation providers, and transportation network companies, in order to determine community demand, transportation provider supply, geographic areas, and educational outreach objectives and to develop recommendations for programs for on-demand services, service alternatives, services and 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, WAV driver training, or additional incentives for WAV drivers. The commission shall conduct a minimum of five workshops throughout the state.

(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.

(B) The commission shall require each TNC by July 1, 2019, to pay on a quarterly basis to the commission an amount equivalent to, at minimum, 0.05 dollars ($0.05) for each TNC trip completed using the transportation network company’s online-enabled application or platform that originates in one of the geographic areas selected pursuant to subparagraph (D), except if the TNC meets the requirements of an exemption established by the commission pursuant to subparagraph (H). The commission may adjust the fee in each geographic area selected pursuant to subparagraph (D) to different levels based on the cost of providing adequate WAV service within the geographic area.
(C) The commission shall create the TNC Access for All Fund (Access Fund) and deposit moneys collected pursuant to subparagraph (B) in the Access Fund. The commission shall distribute funds in the Access Fund on a competitive basis to access providers that establish on-demand transportation programs or partnerships to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, including wheelchair users who need a WAV, in the geographic areas selected pursuant to subparagraph (D).
(D) The commission shall select geographic areas, which shall be based on the need for WAVs within the area and selected according to outcomes of workshops in subparagraph (A), for inclusion in the on-demand transportation programs or partnerships funded pursuant to subparagraph (C). The commission shall allocate the Access Funds for use in each geographic area in a manner that is proportional to the percent of the Access Fund fees originating in that geographic area.
(E) The commission shall request access providers to submit applications to receive funds pursuant to subparagraph (C) by April 1, 2020. The commission may accept applications for new on-demand transportation programs or partnerships any time after April 1, 2020. From the applications that are submitted, the commission shall select by July 1, 2020, on-demand transportation programs or partnerships to receive funding based on criteria adopted by the commission in consultation with disability rights groups and persons with disabilities.
(F) A transportation network company shall only be eligible to receive funds pursuant to subparagraph (C) if the TNC can demonstrate all of the following service level requirements:
(i) Seventy-five percent of trip requests, as defined by the commission, placed on the TNC’s online-enabled application or platform for WAV vehicles are fulfilled using that online-enabled application or platform.
(ii) WAV services are present and available on its online-enabled application or platform.
(iii) Efforts are undertaken by the TNC to publicize and promote available WAV services to disability communities.
(G) The commission shall distribute funds pursuant to subparagraph (E) in the Access Fund within 90 days following the end of each year. If no access provider meets the requirements, funds shall remain in the Access Fund and be distributed the next year.
(H) The commission shall require each transportation network company to be accessible to persons with disabilities in order to be exempt from paying the charge required pursuant to subparagraph (B). The commission shall adopt a designated level of WAV service that a TNC is required to meet in each geographic area in order to be exempt, but at minimum, the TNC shall have average response times for WAV trips that are no more than 20 percent longer than the average response times for non-WAV trips. If a TNC meets the service level requirement established pursuant to this subparagraph in a geographic area selected pursuant to subparagraph (D), the TNC is exempt from paying the fee established pursuant to subparagraph (B) for that geographic area only.
(I) A TNC may meet the requirements of subparagraphs (F) and (H) by facilitating WAV service through its online-enabled application or platform, by directly providing WAV service with vehicles that it owns, or by a contract to provide WAV service with a transportation provider, or by any combination of these methods.
(J) The commission may reduce the amount of money a transportation network company is required to pay pursuant to subparagraph (B) by the amount of money that the TNC invests in WAV service on its online-enabled application or platform for WAV vehicles that are fulfilled using that online-enabled application or platform in the applicable year for each geographic area selected pursuant to subparagraph (D).
(K) Within 30 days after the end of each quarter beginning after January 1, 2021, an access provider that receives funding pursuant to subparagraph (C) shall submit a report to the commission. The report shall include, but shall not be limited to, all of the following:
(i) The number of WAV rides requested.
(ii) The number of WAV rides fulfilled.
(iii) Aggregate data detailing the average response time between when a WAV ride was requested and when the ride was accepted.
(iv) Information regarding educational outreach to disability communities, including, but not limited to, information and promotion of availability of WAVs for wheelchair users.
(L) The commission shall authorize no more than 2 percent of existing funds collected from TNCs pursuant to Section 421 and deposited into the Public Utilities Commission Transportation Reimbursement Account to be distributed to accessibility advocates who provide a substantial contribution to the proceeding initiated pursuant to this section, and only for the duration of the commission proceeding initiated pursuant to this section. These funds may only be distributed to advocates for accessible transportation or representatives of a group whose membership uses accessible transportation. The commission shall distribute funds pursuant to this subparagraph in a manner consistent with the requirements of Sections 1803 to 1808, inclusive. The commission shall not increase the fees authorized pursuant to Section 421 in order to fulfill the requirements of this subparagraph.
(2) (A) Report to the Legislature by January 1, 2024, on compliance with the section and, if applicable, on the effectiveness of the on-demand transportation programs or partnerships funded pursuant to this section. The report shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(i) A study on the demand for WAVs.
(ii) An analysis of the reports required to be submitted by access providers receiving funding pursuant to paragraph (1).
(iii) The availability of unallocated funds in the Access Fund, including the need to reassess Access Fund allocations.
(iv) An analysis of current program capabilities and deficiencies, and recommendations to overcome any identified deficiencies.
(B) 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 subparagraph (A) of 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.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, moneys deposited in the TNC Access for All Fund created pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) are continuously appropriated to the commission without regard to fiscal years for purposes of the program established pursuant this section.
(d) The commission may hire an independent entity to administer the program established pursuant to subdivision (a) and to complete the report required pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).

(b)

(e) 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. Nothing in this section shall be construed as relieving a transportation network company of disability accessibility requirements under any other state or federal law.

(c)

(f) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, 2026, 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.
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REVISIONS:
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