FMCSA published a final rule on May 27, 2015, on the lease and interchange of passenger vehicles, with the goal of stopping chameleon carriers from continuing to operate. This left the motorcoach industry with an unduly burdensome rule that turned long standing business practices of the both the charter and scheduled service motorcoach operators, on their head. Further, it did not address FMCSA’s objective of stopping “bad actors.”
ABA led a successful industry-wide effort to stop this rule from going into force by initiating a petition campaign asking the agency to reconsider the rule, and eventually convincing Congress to weigh-in with the agency. In August 2016, the Agency finally announced its intent to revise the rule, but limited the revisions to four areas, as identified in the industry petitions:
* exclusion of the term “chartering” (i.e. subcontracting) from the leasing requirements;
* amending CMV requirements for the location of temporary markings;
* changing the 24-hour notification for customers, when subcontracting; and
* expanding the 48-hour delay in preparing a lease.
The effort to start the rulemaking process to revise the rule was then delayed due to the presidential election and transition to a new administration. Now, after another strong push by ABA, FMCSA has finally published these two notices to initiate the process for revising the rule. However, it appears FMCSA is no longer considering all four categories mentioned in its earlier notice of intent, but is instead contemplating revisions based on only two categories: exclusion of chartering from leasing requirements; and extending the 48-hour delay for lease preparation in the event of emergencies.
FMCSA’s Recent Notices in Brief
a. The FMCSA has extended the compliance date of the lease & interchange rule to January 1, 2019, to allow time to revise the rule.
b. In response to industry petitions, the FMCSA intends to revise the rule to address only chartering (subcontracting) and the 48-hour delay in preparing a lease.
c. Specifically, the agency is proposing to revise the rule: 1) to exclude “chartering” (i.e. subcontracting) from the leasing requirements; and 2) to extend the emergency 48-hour delay in preparing a lease and remove the requirement for passengers to be on board.
d. The notice does not include the mention of any revisions to either the CMV marking requirements or the 24-hour customer notification requirement for using subcontracted vehicles as a substitute.
e. The notice responding to industry petitions does not contain any regulatory text to review or comment, but only proposed ideas by FMCSA.
ABA to Hold Conference Call – 6/14/18 @ 2 PM ET
In late April 2018, FMCSA published an information collection request related to lease and interchange (notice copy).
Though largely procedural, this notice seeks to collect information in advance of revisions to the flawed rule. ABA needs your help to put FMCSA on notice that they must first fix the lease and interchange rule before initiating any other actions.
ABA will hold a conference call on Thursday, June 14 at 2:00 PM ET to further discuss this notice, layout ABA’s response and answer any questions that members have.
ABA has prepared draft comments to aid you in addressing our concerns and make our voices heard on this priority issue.
ABA Draft Comments
To join the call, please dial:
800-220-9875 (US Toll Free)
800-221-8656 (CAN Toll Free)
302-709-8332 (Int’l Toll)
Comments are due June 25, 2018. Click here to file comments.