Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 2. REGULATION OF RELATED BUSINESSES BY THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION [3901 - 5513]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 8. Charter-Party Carriers of Passengers [5351 - 5450]

  ( Chapter 8 added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions and Definitions [5351 - 5363]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146. )

5351.
  

This chapter may be cited as the “Passenger Charter-party Carriers’ Act.”

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146.)

5352.
  

(a) The use of the public highways for the transportation of passengers for compensation is a business affected with a public interest. It is the purpose of this chapter to preserve for the public full benefit and use of public highways consistent with the needs of commerce without unnecessary congestion or wear and tear upon the highways; to secure to the people adequate and dependable transportation by carriers operating upon the highways; to secure full and unrestricted flow of traffic by motor carriers over the highways which will adequately meet reasonable public demands by providing for the regulation of all transportation agencies with respect to accident indemnity so that adequate and dependable service by all necessary transportation agencies shall be maintained and the full use of the highways preserved to the public; and to promote carrier and public safety through its safety enforcement regulations.

(b) To achieve the purposes of subdivision (a) the commission shall do all of the following:

(1) Prioritize the timely processing of applications and hold “application workshops” for potential applicants around the state.

(2) Enable electronic filing of applications, reports, and fee payments.

(3) Dedicate staff to answering telephone calls, mailings, and electronic inquiries from carriers.

(4) Prioritize the timely processing of consumer complaints.

(5) Implement electronic case tracking of complaints and their disposition.

(6) Implement a process for appropriate and timely enforcement against illegally operating carriers, including by performing staff-driven investigations and performing enforcement through sting operations and other forms of presence in the field.

(7) Maintain relationships with, and implement outreach and education programs to, local law enforcement, district attorneys, and airports, and coordinate with law enforcement agencies pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1046, subdivision (d) of Section 5317.5, and subdivision (d) of Section 5417.5.

(8) Meet with carrier trade associations at least annually.

(9) Implement a consolidated case tracking system that integrates each of the transportation program core functions and data collection, administrative compliance details, complaints, and investigations.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 718, Sec. 7. (SB 541) Effective January 1, 2016.)

5353.
  

This chapter does not apply to any of the following:

(a) Transportation service rendered wholly within the corporate limits of a single city or city and county and licensed or regulated by ordinance.

(b) Transportation of school pupils conducted by or under contract with the governing board of any school district entered into pursuant to the Education Code.

(c) Common carrier transportation services between fixed termini or over a regular route that are subject to authorization pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 1031) of Chapter 5 of Part 1 of Division 1.

(d) Transportation services occasionally afforded for farm employees moving to and from farms on which employed when the transportation is performed by the employer in an owned or leased vehicle, or by a nonprofit agricultural cooperative association organized and acting within the scope of its powers under Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 54001) of Division 20 of the Food and Agricultural Code, and without any requirement for the payment of compensation therefor by the employees.

(e) Transportation service rendered by a publicly owned transit system.

(f) Passenger vehicles carrying passengers on a noncommercial enterprise basis.

(g) Taxicab transportation service licensed and regulated by a city or county, by ordinance or resolution, rendered in vehicles designed for carrying not more than eight persons excluding the driver.

(h) Transportation of persons between home and work locations or of persons having a common work-related trip purpose in a vehicle having a seating capacity of 15 passengers or less, including the driver, which are used for the purpose of ridesharing, as defined in Section 522 of the Vehicle Code, when the ridesharing is incidental to another purpose of the driver. This exemption also applies to a vehicle having a seating capacity of more than 15 passengers if the driver files with the commission evidence of liability insurance protection in the same amount and in the same manner as required for a passenger stage corporation, and the vehicle undergoes and passes an annual safety inspection by the Department of the California Highway Patrol. The insurance filing shall be accompanied by a one-time filing fee of seventy-five dollars ($75). This exemption does not apply if the primary purpose for the transportation of those persons is to make a profit. “Profit,” as used in this subdivision, does not include the recovery of the actual costs incurred in owning and operating a vanpool vehicle, as defined in Section 668 of the Vehicle Code.

(i) Vehicles used exclusively to provide medical transportation, including vehicles employed to transport developmentally disabled persons for regional centers established pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 4620) of Division 4.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(j) Transportation services rendered solely within the Lake Tahoe Basin, comprising that area included within the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact as set forth in Section 66801 of the Government Code, when the operator of the services has obtained any permit required from the Tahoe Basin Transportation Authority or the City of South Lake Tahoe, or both.

(k) Subject to Section 34507.6 of the Vehicle Code, transportation service provided by the operator of an automobile rental business in vehicles owned or leased by that operator, without charge other than as may be included in the automobile rental charges, to carry its customers to or from its office or facility where rental vehicles are furnished or returned after the rental period.

(l) Subject to Section 34507.6 of the Vehicle Code, transportation service provided by the operator of a hotel, motel, or other place of temporary lodging in vehicles owned or leased by that operator, without charge other than as may be included in the charges for lodging, between the lodging facility and an air, rail, water, or bus passenger terminal or between the lodging facility and any place of entertainment or commercial attraction, including, but not limited to, facilities providing snow skiing. Nothing in this subdivision authorizes the operator of a hotel, motel, or other place of temporary lodging to provide any round trip sightseeing service without a permit, as required by subdivision (c) of Section 5384.

(m) (1) Transportation of hot air balloon ride passengers in a balloon chase vehicle from the balloon landing site back to the original takeoff site, provided that the balloon ride was conducted by a balloonist who meets all of the following conditions:

(A) Does not fly more than a total of 30 passenger rides for compensation annually.

(B) Does not provide any preflight ground transportation services in their vehicles.

(C) In providing return transportation to the launch site from landing does not drive more than 300 miles annually.

(D) Files with the commission an exemption declaration and proof of vehicle insurance, as prescribed by the commission, certifying that the operator qualifies for the exemption and will maintain minimum insurance on each vehicle of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for injury or death of one person, three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for injury or death of two or more persons and one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for damage to property.

(2) Nothing in this subdivision authorizes the operator of a commercial balloon operation to provide any round trip sightseeing service without a permit, as required by subdivision (c) of Section 5384.

(n) (1) Transportation services incidental to operation of a youth camp that are provided by either a nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or an organization that operates an organized camp, as defined in Section 18897 of the Health and Safety Code, serving youth 18 years of age or younger.

(2) Any transportation service described in paragraph (1) shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(A) Register as a private carrier with the commission pursuant to Section 4005.

(B) Participate in a pull notice system for employers of drivers as prescribed in Section 1808.1 of the Vehicle Code.

(C) Ensure compliance with the annual bus terminal inspection required by subdivision (c) of Section 34501 of the Vehicle Code.

(D) Obtain the following minimum amounts of general liability insurance coverage for vehicles that are used to transport youth:

(i) A minimum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) general liability insurance coverage for passenger vehicles designed to carry up to eight passengers. For organized camps, as defined in Section 18897 of the Health and Safety Code, an additional two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) general umbrella policy that covers vehicles.

(ii) A minimum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) general liability insurance coverage for vehicles designed to carry up to 15 passengers. For organized camps, as defined in Section 18897 of the Health and Safety Code, an additional five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) general umbrella policy that covers vehicles.

(iii) A minimum of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) general liability insurance coverage for vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers, and an additional three million five hundred thousand dollars ($3,500,000) general umbrella liability insurance policy that covers vehicles.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 694, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2007.)

5353.5.
  

On and after July 1, 1989, this chapter does not apply to transportation service, other than transportation service furnished in a limousine for hire, rendered wholly within the corporate limits of a single city or city and county and licensed or regulated by ordinance.

(Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1105, Sec. 2.)

5354.
  

In construing and enforcing the provisions of this chapter relating to the prescribed privileges and obligations of the holder of a permit or certificate issued hereunder, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or employee, or person offering to afford the authorized service with the approval or consent of the permit or certificate holder, is the act, omission, or failure of the permit or certificate holder.

(Amended by Stats. 1967, Ch. 234.)

5355.
  

Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions and general provisions set forth in this article govern the construction of this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146.)

5355.5.
  

(a) “Chartering party” means the person, corporation, or other entity that prearranges with a charter-party carrier of passengers for transportation services.

(b) “Designee” means a person who is 25 years of age or older and who is designated by the chartering party as being the person responsible for compliance with the requirements of Section 5384.1 during the provision of transportation services whenever persons under 21 years of age are to be transported unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If the chartering party is a person and the minor is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, the chartering party shall be the designee unless the chartering party identifies another person to be the designee and the person so designated acknowledges and agrees that he or she is the designee. If there is more than one chartering party for a joint carriage of passengers, each chartering party shall designate a designee who is responsible for compliance with the requirements of Section 5384.1 whenever persons under 21 years of age are to be transported unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and that person shall be the designee only for those passengers provided with transportation services on behalf of that chartering party.

(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 461, Sec. 2. (AB 45) Effective January 1, 2013.)

5356.
  

“Corporation” includes a corporation, a company, an association, and a joint stock association.

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146.)

5357.
  

“Person” includes an individual, a firm, or a copartnership.

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146.)

5358.
  

“Public highway” includes every public street, road, or highway in this State.

(Added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 2146.)

5359.
  

(a) “Motor vehicle” means a vehicle which is self-propelled.

(b) “Bus” means 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.

(c) “Limousine” means any sedan or sport utility vehicle, of either standard or extended length, with a seating capacity of not more than 10 passengers including the driver, used in the transportation of passengers for hire on a prearranged basis within this state, and includes a modified limousine as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 1042.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 718, Sec. 8. (SB 541) Effective January 1, 2016.)

5360.
  

Subject to the exclusions of Section 5353, “charter-party carrier of passengers” means every person engaged in the transportation of persons by motor vehicle for compensation, whether in common or contract carriage, over any public highway in this state. “Charter-party carrier of passengers” includes any person, corporation, or other entity engaged in the provision of a hired driver service when a rented motor vehicle is being operated by a hired driver.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 472, Sec. 2. (AB 2572) Effective January 1, 2011.)

5360.5.
  

(a) Charter-party carriers of passengers shall operate on a prearranged basis within this state.

(b) For purposes of this section, “prearranged basis” means that the transportation of the prospective passenger was arranged with the carrier by the passenger, or a representative of the passenger, either by written contract or telephone.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 828, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1999.)

5361.
  

“Modified limousine” means any vehicle that has been modified, altered, or extended in a manner that increases the overall wheelbase of the vehicle, exceeding the original equipment manufacturer’s published wheelbase dimension for the base model and year of the vehicle, in any amount sufficient to accommodate additional passengers with a seating capacity of not more than 10 passengers including the driver, and is used in the transportation of passengers for hire. For purposes of this section, “wheelbase” means the longitudinal distance between the vertical centerlines of the front and rear wheels.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 860, Sec. 3. (SB 611) Effective September 30, 2014.)

5362.
  

With respect to a motor vehicle used in the transportation of persons for compensation by a charter-party carrier of passengers, “owner” means the corporation or person who is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles as the owner of the vehicle, or who has a legal right to possession of the vehicle pursuant to a lease or rental agreement.

(Added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1093, Sec. 11.)

5363.
  

(a) Any provision of the Public Utilities Act (Part 1 (commencing with Section 201) of Division 1) or of this chapter applicable to charter bus transportation that conflicts with the federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (P.L. 105-178) does not apply to charter bus transportation to the extent of that conflict. If any provision of the Public Utilities Act or of this chapter applicable to charter bus transportation, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is invalid as a result of federal preemption, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.

(b) (1) Except as specified in paragraph (2), as used in this section, “charter bus transportation” means transportation, using a vehicle designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver, of a group of persons who, pursuant to a common purpose, under a single contract, at a fixed charge for the motor vehicle, have acquired the exclusive use of the motor vehicle to travel together.

(2) If a federal court or agency with the jurisdiction to construe Section 14501(a)(1)(C) of Title 49 of the United States Code determines that additional transportation falls within the meaning of the term “charter bus transportation,” as used in that section, the federal construction of that term shall prevail.

(Added by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1005, Sec. 89. Effective January 1, 2000.)

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