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Charter Bus Operators Do Not Have to Purchase Apportioned Plates


Charter bus operators in the U.S. and Canada have been spared from having to purchase apportioned license plates after a proposal requiring the action failed to pass.

The United Motorcoach Association (UMA), along with the National Tour Association (NTA) and Motor Coach Canada (MCC), partnered in a campaign to speak out against the International Registration Plan (IRP) proposal to eliminate the exemption granted to charter bus operators and force most of them to buy apportioned license plates.

In a pre-ballot survey, 50 of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces that are members of IRP — the organization governing vehicle registration of out-of-jurisdiction buses and trucks — approved the change to the exemption, thus prompting an official vote. The elimination proposal needed the support of 75 percent of IRP members to be approved; however, the vote failed to reach the support benchmark and was not passed.

Collaborative letters were sent out to voting members from Victor Parra, UMA president/CEO and Lisa Simon, NTA president, urging members to vote against the proposal citing the negative impact to travel and tourism and the higher costs that would have to be endured by motorcoach operators to obtain apportioned license plates.

A second letter was also sent by Parra outlining safety statistics of the motorcoach industry and asking members to put their confidence in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA program to monitor and enforce motorcoach safety and vote “no” to IRP’s proposal.

“Based on the pre-ballot survey, this proposal was expected to pass easily, but for the past month, we’ve lobbied hard on this issue with our partners from the MCC and NTA,” said Parra. “IRP was hoping to get states searching for new sources of revenue to support the elimination of the exemption without thinking about the overall consequences of their decision.”

The partners reacted quickly and sent communications to state/provincial directors of tourism, governors and directly to the voting IRP members, according to Parra. “Both NTA and MCC helped greatly in this effort. Thankfully we were able to turn this around and the result was enough “no” votes to kill the proposal,” he said.   Reprinted from Metro Magazine.

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


Greater NJ Motorcoach Association Announces Directors for 2011-12


May 25th, 2011 – The Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association announced its Board of Directors and Officers for 2011-2012 at its Annual Meeting held at Resorts International in Atlantic City, NJ.  Serving as President is Tim Stout, Stout’s Transportation, Trenton, NJ; Vice President is Mark R. Waterhouse, Classic Tours, Lakewood, NJ; Secretary is Mitchell Sussman, Starr Tours, Trenton, NJ; Treasurer is Joseph P. Fernandez, CPA, West Islip, NY; Other Board members are; David Benedict, David Tours & Travel, Philadelphia, PA; Thomas Dugan, Safety Bus, Pennsauken, NJ; Scott E. Henry, Martz Lines, Wilkes-Barre, PA; Nate Karp, Greyhound Lines, New York, NY; Wayne Klein, Klein’s Bus Service, Inc., Douglasville, PA; James Murphy, Saddle River Tours, Wallington, NJ; Thomas JeBran, Trans-Bridge Lines, Bethlehem, PA.; Tom Taylor, Lakeland Bus Lines, Dover, NJ;. Executive Director is Andrea C. Malamut, Cherry Hill, NJ and Legal Counsel is Jerry Casser, Esq., Fairfield, NJ.  

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



Update on Bus Safety Regulations


Note: This was proposed in December 2009 – apparently nothing has happened and the Agency is awaiting comment from the industry and other interested persons.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to propose rulemaking early next year to require seat belts on motorcoaches.

The DOT has released its Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, which lays out concrete steps for improving motorcoach safety issues such as driver fatigue and inattention, vehicle rollover, occupant ejections and oversight of unsafe carriers.

The comprehensive action plan proposes enhanced regulatory oversight of new and high risk motorcoach operators, as well as the increased use of new technologies. To address driver distraction, it proposes to initiate rulemaking to prohibit texting and limit the use of cell phones and other devices by motorcoach drivers.

It also discusses requiring electronic on-board recording devices on all motorcoaches to better monitor drivers’ duty hours to address fatigue, and enhanced oversight of unsafe carriers.

In addition, the action plan proposes to better protect motorcoach occupants by requiring the installation of seat belts and discusses additional measures such as the establishment of performance requirements for enhanced roof strength, fire safety and emergency egress. It also calls for safety improvements using technologies such as electronic stability control to prevent rollovers.

We’ll keep on top of these issues and let you know as soon as something has been approved.  In the meantime, if you have specific questions on safety issues, please feel free to contact our firm.  There is a Contact Me link for my Website to the right of this Article and you can email your questions.

Jerry A. Casser – Fairfield, NJ Transportation Law Attorney – www.jcasser.com




Beware of the Small Bus Repair Facility


When your bus goes into a repair facilility for repair, has it ever occurred to you to check to see if the owner has insurance liability coverage?  Most bus operators would not worry about it, actually they would never think about it because they would probably go to a large repair facility.  But the small bus operator, and especially the minibus operators, would probably go to a small shop for repairs.

The small repair facility, with one or two bays, most likely rents from someone else, and works on a shoestring, so he might not have insurance.  This is crucial if the shop (garage) goes up in flames overnight with your bus inside.  If there is no insurance, who will pay for a new bus and compensate you for lost income?

I just finished a case in which my client’s bus went up in flames in a repair facility and there’s no insurance.  We obtained a Judgment against the owner of the repair facility for more than $50,000, but have little hope of collecting until he tries to set up business again.

Our firm specializes in property damage recovery and subrogation in NJ for buses, limo’s and other commercial vehicles.

Jerry A. Casser – Fairfield, NJ Transportation Law Attorney – www.jcasser.com