Article 1. General Provisions And Definitions of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 2. >> Chapter 8. >> Article 1.
This chapter may be cited as the "Passenger Charter-party
(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
(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
(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
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
(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
(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
(f) Passenger vehicles carrying passengers on a noncommercial
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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.
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
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.
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions and
general provisions set forth in this article govern the construction
of this chapter.
(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.
"Corporation" includes a corporation, a company, an
association, and a joint stock association.
"Person" includes an individual, a firm, or a copartnership.
"Public highway" includes every public street, road, or
highway in this State.
(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.
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
(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.
"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.
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
(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
(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.