Motor Carriers of Passengers That Serve Primarily Urban Areas With High Passenger Loads, 6925-6927 [2016-02510]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 26 / Tuesday, February 9, 2016 / Notices The meeting will be held at RTCA, Inc., 1150 18th Street NW., Suite 910, Washington, DC 20036, Tel: (202) 330–0655. ADDRESSES: The RTCA Secretariat, 1150 18th Street NW., Suite 910, Washington, DC 20036, or by telephone at (202) 833–9339, fax at (202) 833–9434, or Web site at http:// www.rtca.org or Trin Mitra, TOC Secretary, RTCA, Inc., tmitra@rtca.org, (202) 330–0655. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 5 U.S.C., App.), notice is hereby given for a meeting of RTCA Tactical Operations Committee. The agenda will include the following: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Thursday, March 3, 2016 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 1. Opening of Meeting/Introduction of TOC Members—Co Chairs Dale Wright and Bryan Quigley 2. Official Statement of Designated Federal Official—Elizabeth Ray 3. Approval of November 12, 2015 Meeting Summary 4. FAA Update—Elizabeth Ray 5. FAA Response to Previous TOC Recommendations: Caribbean Operations and Class B Airspace 6. Recommendations from the Airport Construction Task Group. 7. Recommendations from the National Procedure Assessment Task Group 8. Introduction to new PBN Route Structure Task 9. Discussion on potential task on Graphical TFRs 10. Update on the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) 11. FAA briefing on One Engine Inoperative (OEI) procedures 12. Anticipated Issues for TOC consideration and action at the next meeting 13. Other Business 14. Adjourn Attendance is open to the interested public but limited to space availability. With the approval of the chairman, members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting. Plenary information will be provided upon request. Persons who wish to present statements or obtain information should contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public may present a written statement to the committee at any time. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Feb 08, 2016 Jkt 238001 Issued in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2016. Latasha Robinson, Management & Program Analyst, NextGen, Enterprise Support Services Division, Federal Aviation Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–02550 Filed 2–8–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2015–0481] Motor Carriers of Passengers That Serve Primarily Urban Areas With High Passenger Loads Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of information and request for comments. AGENCY: This request for comments is related to the implementation of a specific provision in section 32707 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) that requires an annual safety fitness assessment of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads. FMCSA requests comments about an appropriate definition of a ‘‘curbside bus operator’’ that will be subject to this annual safety fitness assessment and will be consistent with Congressional intent. SUMMARY: You must submit comments by April 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA– 2015–0481 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information included in a DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00098 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6925 comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12–140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line. Privacy Act: All comments received were posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT previously solicited comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posted these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Loretta Bitner, (202) 385–2428, loretta.bitner@dot.gov. FMCSA office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366–9826. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Motorcoach safety received increased public attention after several serious crashes during 2011, some of which involved ‘‘curbside’’ bus operators, passenger carrier operations often characterized by high passenger loads with service between urban areas. As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation of motorcoach safety with an emphasis on curbside operations. One objective of the investigation was to describe the characteristics of the curbside business model among interstate motorcoach carriers. The NTSB examined a population of 4,172 active interstate motorcoach carriers operating in the United States and identified 71 of them as scheduled motorcoach carriers providing curbside service. In its ‘‘Executive Report on Curbside Motorcoach Safety’’ that was published on October 12, 2011, the NTSB stated E:\FR\FM\09FEN1.SGM 09FEN1 6926 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 26 / Tuesday, February 9, 2016 / Notices the following in describing curbside bus operators: The term ‘‘curbside operations’’ refers to a business model (that is, the means by which motorcoach service is provided) rather than a type of motorcoach carrier. In fact, no formal definition of curbside carriers exists, and federal and state oversight authorities have no unique categorization or tracking mechanism for these carriers. For the purpose of this report, curbside motorcoach operations are those in which interstate motorcoach carriers conduct scheduled trips from one city to another city or a destination and originate or terminate at a location other than a traditional bus terminal; most of these operations discharge passengers at one or more curbside locations. Although curbside motorcoach carriers apply a similar business model, they vary greatly in other characteristics. Some carriers operate large fleets of motorcoaches throughout the United States, whereas others have a fleet of only a few buses that operate in local regions. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES MAP–21 was signed into law on July 6, 2012. Section 32707, codified at 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B), addresses improved oversight of motorcoach service providers. A ’’motorcoach’’ is defined in section 32707(b) of MAP–21 as an ‘‘over-the-road bus;’’ one with an elevated passenger deck over a baggage compartment. A motorcoach does not include a bus used in public transportation provided by a State or local government, or a school bus. The statute requires an annual assessment of the safety fitness of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads. Implementation of Statutory Provision Section 31144(i)(4) requires that the Secretary: • Reassess the safety fitness rating of each motor carrier of passengers at no less than once every 3 years; and • Annually assess the safety fitness of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads. The language indicates Congress’ intent to have two levels of oversight for motor carrier of passengers, a safety fitness rating every 3 years for each passenger carrier and, a safety fitness assessment annually for passenger carriers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads. To effectively implement 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B), FMCSA must define which passenger carriers will be subject to the annual safety fitness assessment requirement. While Congress directed that carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high passenger loads be subject to this requirement, FMCSA does not collect VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Feb 08, 2016 Jkt 238001 urban area service or passenger volume information from motor carriers of passengers that are subject to the Agency’s safety oversight. FMCSA believes Congress intends for the Agency to have increased safety oversight of the bus operators that generally provide low-cost, regularly scheduled passenger transportation service between major cities with curbside boarding and/or disembarking. Although some carriers purport to have a bus terminal/facility/station, the location used for passengers is a waiting area only outside of an office building and the passenger pickups and drop-offs occur at the curbside or in a parking lot. Request for Comments Because FMCSA does not include in its regulations or regulatory guidance a definition of the term ‘‘curbside bus operator,’’ the Agency believes it is imperative that one be adopted in order to effectively implement 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B). Therefore, the Agency proposes the following definition for identifying motor carriers of passengers that must undergo an annual assessment: ‘‘Curbside Bus Operator’’ means a motor carrier of passengers that serves primarily urban areas with high passenger loads, and uses 25% or more of its motorcoaches for operations with passenger pickups and dropoffs occuring at the curbside or in a parking lot. FMCSA would use this definition in identifying, tracking, and conducting the annual safety fitness assessments of every identified curbside bus operators. This definition would not have any impact on the enforcement of the applicable safety regulations. It would only be used to identify those carriers that Congress intends the Agency conduct annual safety assessments. FMCSA is considering the use of the following questions during the motor carrier registration process to identify curbside bus operators that transport high passenger loads: Does your company operate 25% or more of its motorcoaches between cities providing for-hire passenger transportation that originates or terminates at locations other than terminals, such as street corners or outside a retail business? Is your company required to obtain a permit from a local government to pick up or drop off at locations other than terminals, such as street corners or outside a retail business? The operation of a motorcoach to transport passengers is the FMCSA’s interpretation of a high passenger load with implementation of 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B). Motorcoaches are large capacity passenger vehicles that are PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 frequently operated by curbside bus operators. FMCSA requests public comments whether the proposed definition and questions are appropriate for idenitying curbside operators for implementation of the statutorily mandated annual safety fitness assessments. In addition to motor carriers of passengers that identify themselves as curbside bus operators through the motor carrier registration process, FMCSA will direct its enforcement personnel to designate passenger carriers as a curbside bus operators in the Agency’s database when there is evidence that the carriers are conducting curbside bus operations, but fail to report it to the Agency or began curbside bus operations subsequent to registration. With this in mind, FMCSA is seeking input to the following questions. 1. Should FMCSA identify all motor carriers of passengers that have both curbside operations and operations that originate/terminate at a traditional bus terminal as curbside bus operators requiring an annual safety assessment? 2. Should a motor carrier of passengers that uses 25% or more of its motorcoaches for curbside operations be identified by FMCSA as a curbside bus operator requiring an annual safety assessment? 3. Should FMCSA base the percentage of curbside operations on the number of motorcoaches used in that type of service? If not, then what measure should be used? 4. Should FMCSA include passenger carrier operations that pick up passengers at the curbside in vehicles smaller than motorcoaches with the intent of transferring the passengers to a larger passenger vehicle such as a motorcoach as curbside bus operators requiring an annual safety assessment? 5. Should a motor carrier of passengers applicant be required to selfidentify as a curbside operator during registration with FMCSA? 6. Should a motor carrier of passengers previously registered with FMCSA be required to self-identify as a curbside operator when updating its registration information as required by 49 CFR 390.201? 7. Should FMCSA base the definition of an urban area on population, incorporated land area, defined commercial zones, urbanized area as defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, or some other criteria? 8. Should a motor carrier of passengers with 25% or more of its motorcoach operation taking place in primarily urban areas be identified by E:\FR\FM\09FEN1.SGM 09FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 26 / Tuesday, February 9, 2016 / Notices FMCSA as a curbside bus operator requiring an annual safety assessment? 9. Is there any additional criteria we should consider to identify which motor carrier of passenger should be defined as a curbside bus operator requiring an annual safety assessment? Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: January 29, 2016. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2016–02510 Filed 2–8–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2015–0238] Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; TowMate, LLC Application for an Exemption Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of final disposition. AGENCY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces its decision to grant TowMate, LLC’s (TowMate) application for a limited two-year exemption to allow motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary towing operations. Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), all required lamps, with the exception of batterypowered lamps used on projecting loads, must be powered by the electrical system of the motor vehicle. The Agency has determined that use of rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary towing operations would not have an adverse impact on safety, and use of these systems under the terms and conditions of the exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided by the regulation. This decision is consistent with an August 2005 amendment to the FMCSRs to allow battery powered lamps on the rear of projecting loads. DATES: This exemption is effective February 9, 2016 and ending February 9, 2018. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke Loy, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC–PSV, (202) 366–0676, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:54 Feb 08, 2016 Jkt 238001 Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590– 0001. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments submitted to notice requesting public comments on the exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12–140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The online Federal document management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request. The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the application and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)). TowMate’s Application for Exemption TowMate applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.23 to allow motor carriers to operate rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting systems during temporary towing operations. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. Section 393.23, ‘‘Power Supply for Lamps,’’ provides that ‘‘All required lamps must be powered by the electrical system of the motor vehicle with the exception of battery powered lamps used on projecting loads.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 6927 The application stated: TowMate is making this request because the use of conventional hard wired temporary stop, turn, and tail lights has many drawbacks that wireless tow lights solve. These include broken connections, frayed wires, burnt out incandescent bulbs, and the potential to be snagged or pulled from the tow light receptacle due to improper running of wires, and road hazards, along with the safety hazard of increasing the amount of time spent on the roadside or the scene of an accident by stringing wired lighting systems between vehicles and securing the wires. With the advent of LED technology coupled with advancements in battery technologies, wireless tow lights are more reliable and better equipped for the rigors of daily temporary use. Temporary wireless stop, turn, tail lighting systems can operate for 10+ hours of continuous use on a full charge, and in-cab wire-less monitoring systems give the driver constant information on the functioning of the system, displaying state of charge of the battery inside the unit, displaying the functioning of the system during operation, and warning the driver if the unit is no longer functioning. In this sense, wireless tow lights provide a level of safety and redundancy that is not currently required on wired temporary lighting systems. In an emergency situation with a drained battery, power can be directly connected to the temporary wireless stop, turn, and tail lighting system from a standard 4 pin or 7 pin electrical connection. Without the proposed temporary exemption, tow and haul away operators will be forced to continue to use cumbersome wired temporary towing light systems, placing an unnecessary burden on their daily operations. The current temporary lighting requirements for stop, tail, and turn lamps require that the lamps receive their power from a direct wired connection to the towing vehicle with no ascertainable benefit from doing such. Wireless tow lights afford benefits that wired systems are unable to, such as redundancies like monitoring the status of the unit in real time, thus assuring their proper operation at all times. Comments On August 6, 2015, FMCSA published notice of the TowMate application and requested public comment (80 FR 47031). The Agency received thirteen comments, all in support of TowMate’s application. The Towing and Recovery Association of America, Inc., and the Wisconsin Towing Association commented that hard-wired temporary stop, tail and turn signal lighting systems take additional time to install on the side of the road or highway as compared to wireless systems, leaving tow operators vulnerable and at greater risk of being struck and injured by passing motorists These commenters stated that use of rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn, and tail lighting E:\FR\FM\09FEN1.SGM 09FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 26 (Tuesday, February 9, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6925-6927]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02510]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0481]


Motor Carriers of Passengers That Serve Primarily Urban Areas 
With High Passenger Loads

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of information and request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This request for comments is related to the implementation of 
a specific provision in section 32707 of the Moving Ahead for Progress 
in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) that requires an annual safety fitness 
assessment of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily 
urban areas with high passenger loads. FMCSA requests comments about an 
appropriate definition of a ``curbside bus operator'' that will be 
subject to this annual safety fitness assessment and will be consistent 
with Congressional intent.

DATES: You must submit comments by April 11, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2015-0481 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number 
for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without 
change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document management system 
is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want 
acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement 
page that appears after submitting comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: All comments received were posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT 
previously solicited comments from the public to better inform its 
rulemaking process. DOT posted these comments, without edit, including 
any personal information the commenter provides, to 
www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/
ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Loretta Bitner, (202) 385-2428, 
loretta.bitner@dot.gov. FMCSA office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have 
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact 
Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Motorcoach safety received increased public attention after several 
serious crashes during 2011, some of which involved ``curbside'' bus 
operators, passenger carrier operations often characterized by high 
passenger loads with service between urban areas. As a result, the 
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an investigation 
of motorcoach safety with an emphasis on curbside operations. One 
objective of the investigation was to describe the characteristics of 
the curbside business model among interstate motorcoach carriers. The 
NTSB examined a population of 4,172 active interstate motorcoach 
carriers operating in the United States and identified 71 of them as 
scheduled motorcoach carriers providing curbside service.
    In its ``Executive Report on Curbside Motorcoach Safety'' that was 
published on October 12, 2011, the NTSB stated

[[Page 6926]]

the following in describing curbside bus operators:

    The term ``curbside operations'' refers to a business model 
(that is, the means by which motorcoach service is provided) rather 
than a type of motorcoach carrier. In fact, no formal definition of 
curbside carriers exists, and federal and state oversight 
authorities have no unique categorization or tracking mechanism for 
these carriers. For the purpose of this report, curbside motorcoach 
operations are those in which interstate motorcoach carriers conduct 
scheduled trips from one city to another city or a destination and 
originate or terminate at a location other than a traditional bus 
terminal; most of these operations discharge passengers at one or 
more curbside locations.
    Although curbside motorcoach carriers apply a similar business 
model, they vary greatly in other characteristics. Some carriers 
operate large fleets of motorcoaches throughout the United States, 
whereas others have a fleet of only a few buses that operate in 
local regions.

    MAP-21 was signed into law on July 6, 2012. Section 32707, codified 
at 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B), addresses improved oversight of motorcoach 
service providers. A ''motorcoach'' is defined in section 32707(b) of 
MAP-21 as an ``over-the-road bus;'' one with an elevated passenger deck 
over a baggage compartment. A motorcoach does not include a bus used in 
public transportation provided by a State or local government, or a 
school bus. The statute requires an annual assessment of the safety 
fitness of certain motor carriers of passengers that serve primarily 
urban areas with high passenger loads.

Implementation of Statutory Provision

    Section 31144(i)(4) requires that the Secretary:
     Reassess the safety fitness rating of each motor carrier 
of passengers at no less than once every 3 years; and
     Annually assess the safety fitness of certain motor 
carriers of passengers that serve primarily urban areas with high 
passenger loads.

    The language indicates Congress' intent to have two levels of 
oversight for motor carrier of passengers, a safety fitness rating 
every 3 years for each passenger carrier and, a safety fitness 
assessment annually for passenger carriers that serve primarily urban 
areas with high passenger loads. To effectively implement 49 U.S.C. 
31144(i)(4)(B), FMCSA must define which passenger carriers will be 
subject to the annual safety fitness assessment requirement. While 
Congress directed that carriers of passengers that serve primarily 
urban areas with high passenger loads be subject to this requirement, 
FMCSA does not collect urban area service or passenger volume 
information from motor carriers of passengers that are subject to the 
Agency's safety oversight.
    FMCSA believes Congress intends for the Agency to have increased 
safety oversight of the bus operators that generally provide low-cost, 
regularly scheduled passenger transportation service between major 
cities with curbside boarding and/or disembarking. Although some 
carriers purport to have a bus terminal/facility/station, the location 
used for passengers is a waiting area only outside of an office 
building and the passenger pickups and drop-offs occur at the curbside 
or in a parking lot.

Request for Comments

    Because FMCSA does not include in its regulations or regulatory 
guidance a definition of the term ``curbside bus operator,'' the Agency 
believes it is imperative that one be adopted in order to effectively 
implement 49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B). Therefore, the Agency proposes the 
following definition for identifying motor carriers of passengers that 
must undergo an annual assessment:

    ``Curbside Bus Operator'' means a motor carrier of passengers 
that serves primarily urban areas with high passenger loads, and 
uses 25% or more of its motorcoaches for operations with passenger 
pickups and drop-offs occuring at the curbside or in a parking lot.

    FMCSA would use this definition in identifying, tracking, and 
conducting the annual safety fitness assessments of every identified 
curbside bus operators. This definition would not have any impact on 
the enforcement of the applicable safety regulations. It would only be 
used to identify those carriers that Congress intends the Agency 
conduct annual safety assessments.
    FMCSA is considering the use of the following questions during the 
motor carrier registration process to identify curbside bus operators 
that transport high passenger loads:

Does your company operate 25% or more of its motorcoaches between 
cities providing for-hire passenger transportation that originates 
or terminates at locations other than terminals, such as street 
corners or outside a retail business?
Is your company required to obtain a permit from a local government 
to pick up or drop off at locations other than terminals, such as 
street corners or outside a retail business?

    The operation of a motorcoach to transport passengers is the 
FMCSA's interpretation of a high passenger load with implementation of 
49 U.S.C. 31144(i)(4)(B). Motorcoaches are large capacity passenger 
vehicles that are frequently operated by curbside bus operators.
    FMCSA requests public comments whether the proposed definition and 
questions are appropriate for idenitying curbside operators for 
implementation of the statutorily mandated annual safety fitness 
assessments.
    In addition to motor carriers of passengers that identify 
themselves as curbside bus operators through the motor carrier 
registration process, FMCSA will direct its enforcement personnel to 
designate passenger carriers as a curbside bus operators in the 
Agency's database when there is evidence that the carriers are 
conducting curbside bus operations, but fail to report it to the Agency 
or began curbside bus operations subsequent to registration. With this 
in mind, FMCSA is seeking input to the following questions.
    1. Should FMCSA identify all motor carriers of passengers that have 
both curbside operations and operations that originate/terminate at a 
traditional bus terminal as curbside bus operators requiring an annual 
safety assessment?
    2. Should a motor carrier of passengers that uses 25% or more of 
its motorcoaches for curbside operations be identified by FMCSA as a 
curbside bus operator requiring an annual safety assessment?
    3. Should FMCSA base the percentage of curbside operations on the 
number of motorcoaches used in that type of service? If not, then what 
measure should be used?
    4. Should FMCSA include passenger carrier operations that pick up 
passengers at the curbside in vehicles smaller than motorcoaches with 
the intent of transferring the passengers to a larger passenger vehicle 
such as a motorcoach as curbside bus operators requiring an annual 
safety assessment?
    5. Should a motor carrier of passengers applicant be required to 
self-identify as a curbside operator during registration with FMCSA?
    6. Should a motor carrier of passengers previously registered with 
FMCSA be required to self-identify as a curbside operator when updating 
its registration information as required by 49 CFR 390.201?
    7. Should FMCSA base the definition of an urban area on population, 
incorporated land area, defined commercial zones, urbanized area as 
defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, or some other criteria?
    8. Should a motor carrier of passengers with 25% or more of its 
motorcoach operation taking place in primarily urban areas be 
identified by

[[Page 6927]]

FMCSA as a curbside bus operator requiring an annual safety assessment?
    9. Is there any additional criteria we should consider to identify 
which motor carrier of passenger should be defined as a curbside bus 
operator requiring an annual safety assessment?

    Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: January 
29, 2016.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-02510 Filed 2-8-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P