A deal has been made in Sacramento to terminate the regulatory powers of the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) over the passenger stage industry. Regulatory oversight will soon be transferred to the DMV and CHP. This a major event as the PUC has regulated bus carriers for many decades.
For now, the PUC is still in charge and passenger stage carriers need to continue to comply with the existing PUC rules and regulations. The timing of the transfer of regulatory control to DMV/CHP is to be decided, as is the extent of authority to be granted to the DMV/CHP. The transportation of passengers is rightly perceived as an area where the public interest requires the state to have strict oversight.
Some years ago, regulatory authority over motor carriers was transferred to the DMV and CHP. The DMV grants permits to motor carriers, collects fees, and has the power to suspend carriers from operating in instances where safety issues exist. The CHP regulates safety of operations of motor carriers. This is probably the blue print for the new regulatory system for passenger carriers. However, considering the far greater public interest in safety where people, as opposed to property, are transported, one would think that the extent of new regulatory authority given to the DMV and CHP will be broader and more extensive than that existing in regard to motor carriers.