SAN DIEGO — The Greater California Livery Association will try to make headway in coming weeks in determining the legal status of the Uber mobile app service and rules surrounding the use of 10-24 passenger chauffeured vehicles by students.
Both matters topped the agenda Tuesday evening at the GCLA membership meeting in San Diego, which drew a record 75 attendees for a San Diego-based association meeting.
Uber and Out?
GCLA officials are meeting with members of the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco today and tomorrow as part of a review process that will determine whether the mobile app-based transportation service should be regulated. The GCLA maintains that Uber is not being held accountable and undercutting legitimate chauffeured transportation services that follow all state and local rules. The state’s review process could take six months to a year, GCLA President Mark Stewart said.
Background: Uber articles on LCTmag.com.
With acronyms reminiscent of horrible medical procedures, the School Pupil Activity Bus (SPAB) certification and Pupil Assisted Bus (PAB) license rules are vexing limousine operators who routinely are hired for prom and school-related limo runs where parents or legal guardians contract for chauffeured transportation service on behalf of students under the age of 18.
Two San Diego limousine companies had their CPUC licenses permanently revoked over SPAB/PAB rules that are confusing and subject to interpretation. The rules affect the operation of many super-stretch and limousine bus models that carry 10-24 passengers. Chauffeurs of such vehicles must be SPAB certified, meaning they must have received additional training and vetting in order to drive students anywhere at any time regardless of who contracts for the vehicles.
At issue is whether the state law requiring SPABs only apply to contracts between school districts and transportation providers, or do they also apply to contracts between private parties and transportation providers who are transporting students to and from a school-related or school-sponsored event, such as a prom?
A related issue, applying to vehicles carrying 25 or more passengers, is that the state code doesn’t define how to do contracts for school-related events.
To be safe, limousine operators handling prom runs or school-related transportation should make sure chauffeurs are SPAB or PAB certified, in case the California Highway Patrol pulls over the vehicle and/or checks limousine company waybills.
GCLA officials will meet with CPUC officials next week to see if the agency can clarify enforcement procedures and the interpretation of SPAB rules.
The GCLA’s position is that permanent revocation of an operating license is an unduly harsh penalty for SPAB violations.
What is a SPAB?
What is a PAB?
What is the state law?
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor