Bus Transportation Law Firm

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Bus Regulation: A Unique Legal Specialty

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Here is an article that I wrote a while back that will provide an interesting perspective on my specialty as a transportation attorney specializing in the bus industry, primarily in NJ and NY.

http://www.jcasser.com/published-articles.htm

Jerry A. Casser, Esq. (Fairfield, NJ Transportation Attorney) www.jcasser.com


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Greater NJ Motorcoach Association (GNJMA)

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June 3, 2009… The Greater NJ Motorcoach Association announced its Board of Directors and Officers for 2009-2010 at its Annual Meeting at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City.  Serving as President is Thomas Dugan, Safety Bus, Pennsauken, NJ; Vice President is Mark R. Waterhouse, Classic Tours, Lakewood, NJ; Treasurer is Joseph P. Fernandez, CPA, West Islip, NY; Secretary is Scott E. Henry, Martz Lines, Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Other Board members are David Benedict, David Tours & Travel, Philadelphia, PA; Tim Stout, Stout’s Charter Service, Trenton, NJ; Joshua Bennett, Capitol Bus Co., Harrisburg, PA; Mitchell Sussman, Starr Tours, Trenton, NJ; Nate Karp, Greyhound Lines, New York, NY; Wayne Klein, Klein’s Bus Service, Inc., Douglasville, PA; James Murphy, Saddle River Tours, Wallington, NJ; and Thomas JeBran, Trans-Bridge Lines, Bethlehem, PA.  Executive Director is Andrea C. Malamut, Cherry Hill, NJ and Legal Counsel is Jerry A. Casser, Esq., Fairfield, NJ.  


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NTSB Chairman Emphasizes Bus Safety

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National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Mark V. Rosenker was the keynote speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Greater NJ Motorcoach Association (GNJMA) in Atlantic City on June 3rd. He urged New Jersey based motorcoach operators to take action when accidents occur and make safety improvements that will bring the industry closer to an accident free environment.

Chairman Rosenker focused on some of the most notable highway accidents in recent years and the safety recommendations that have resulted from the NTSB investigations.

Rosenker pointed out that tragedies like the collapse of the Boston “Big Dig” tunnel ceiling panel and the Minneapolis bridge not only attract huge amounts of media attention, but also shake Americans’ confidence in their nation’s roadways. “Our job at the NTSB is to restore the confidence of the traveling public after a major transportation disaster by conducting an unbiased, independent investigation to determine the cause of the accident and find solutions to prevent it from happening again.”

In his closing remarks, Rosenker called on the New Jersey motorcoach industry to “find a maintenance improvement, implement a new operational policy, provide better training, embrace a new technology, but take action and do something different.” Rosenker concluded by saying, “Therefore, my charge to you is, when accidents occur, which they inevitably will, take action, and do something to make your company a safer place for your passengers, your employees, your families, and your community.”

GNJMA is a regional organization of motorcoach operators for which I serve as General Counsel. We represent the interests of motorcoach operators in our Region and promote safe and cost efficient operations. For information on membership, please contact me.

Jerry A. Casser, Esq. (Fairfield, NJ Transportation Attorney) www.jcasser.com


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ICC/FMCSA/USDOT BUS Filings

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This post relates to bus filings with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration/USDOT (successor to the ICC).  Many hopeful bus operators do Google searches to find someone to do their filings for operating authority and what do they get?  A non-professional, operating out of his home office who knows nothing about bus operations, but knows how to buy key words from Google. What he also knows is how to charge a fee, complete a simple online Application for Authority, and then leave the hopeful operator with just the completed Application (also requires Agents for Service of Process, insurance, instructions for State inspections, instructions for filing under the UCR Program, etc.).

As an attorney and longtime bus transportation professional, I will guide you through the entire process, making sure that you have insurance before you file, designing the bus routes to fit your proposed operations, getting all of the authority that you really need at one time (regular route, contract and charter), selecting a Process Agent, assisting with the new vetting process, and assisting with the inspection process.

You can check out my website and see who I am, where I am located, my experience, and a list of some of my bus company clients.  Choose an attorney before you choose a fly by night that you pay by credit card and never hear from again.

Jerry A. Casser, Esq. (Fairfield, NJ Transportation Attorney) www.jcasser.com


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NYS DOT Bus Filings

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If you are a NJ bus operator and conduct business in New York State, then you would be well advised to get a New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) Permit allowing you to operate in NY.  While the Permit is required to operate NY intrastate bus service, and you may not have a present intent to originate service in NY State, be rest assured that at some point in time you will be given the opportunity to operate a NY Charter trip, or you might want to take a tour group around NYC, or do a pick up at a NY area airport.

Better to be safe than sorry and possibly incur a $5000 fine.  Get the NYS DOT Permit which we can easily handle for you.

Updated 10/8/09:

Just so that there is no misunderstanding, and I get this every day, there are different types of operating authorities issued by the NYS DOT.  One authority is for charter operations, those occasional trips where someone or some group hires your bus for the day, regular route, where you operate daily service over a fixed route or time schedule, and contract carrier, where you provide service to a company, or a specific group, to transport their employees or members between locations according to a Contract for a specific period of time, with a daily, weekly or monthly payment for your transportation services.  Each form of service has a separate application and fee associated with it.

Jerry A. Casser, Esq. (Fairfield, NJ Transportation attorney) www.jcasser.com


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Bus Leases – Owner/Operators

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In New Jersey, we have a great many minibus or jitney van operators who operate a fleet of vehicles, some of which are owned by the company, and some of which are owned by independent owner operators.  The owner operators lease their buses to the company which maintains the operating certificates or bus routes, usually issued by the FMCSA, and the liability insurance. 

The owner operator pays a flat fee per day or week to operate, usually in the area of $135-$185/day.  The owner operator selects the route that he wishes to operate from among several authorized to the company, and sets his own hours, depending on how ambitious or hungry he is.  The owner operator keeps all passenger revenues, pays the tolls and parking fees, and his own fuel costs.

Here’s the catch. The State Regulatory Agency (in NJ, it is the NJ MVC, formerly the NJ DOT) has Regulations on what must be included in the Lease Agreement.  The Lease must have a fixed term, a beginning and an end, and it requires the owner operator to turn in his plates along with a Release from the company when he chooses to leave the company and this lease arrangement.  Some company operators are not as honest as you might think, and they draft Lease Agreements that do not allow the owner operator to terminate and voluntarily withdraw from the company.  This violates State law and may require the intervention of an attorney and the Courts, unless the State Agency chooses to monitor the arrangement as set forth in its own Regulations.

I am an attorney who has considerable experience in this area and can assist the owner operators who have become the unwitting pawns of the company owners.

Jerry A. Casser, Esq. (Fairfield NJ Transportation attorney)  www.jcasser.com


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