Commercial bus operators received some welcome news as the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a final rule that revises the agency’s regulations governing the lease and interchange of commercial buses. This is estimated to save millions in regulatory costs, without compromising safety.
FMCSA’s final rule:
- Revises the definition of a lease to exclude carriers with FMCSA-issued operating authority that grant the use of their vehicles to each other;
- Removes the May 27, 2015, final rule’s marking requirements and reinstates the previous vehicle marking requirements with slight modifications;
- Revises the provision allowing a delay in the completion of a lease during certain emergencies; and
Removes the requirement that motor carriers chartered for a trip who leases a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) from another carrier to provide the transportation must notify the tour operator or group of passengers about the lease and the lessor.
There are about 8,400 passenger carriers in the US providing more than 547,000 passenger-carrying trips annually. FMCSA believes the adoption of this new rule will create $8.3 million in regulatory cost savings for the US economy.
“We listened to bus industry stakeholders and narrowed the leasing regulations to focus on carriers that do not hold operating authority from the agency. This commonsense revision of the rules will reduce regulatory costs and maintain safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez
Under Mr. Martinez’s leadership, FMCSA’s focus has been on crafting more efficient and effective rules that reduce the regulatory burdens on the economy, while still prioritizing safety. Not an easy task but they are producing results. In March 2019, FMCSA announced a rule reducing the costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This change is expected to save driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually. This all sets the table for FMCSA’s Hours of Service changes.