On December 13, ABA, in coalition with the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) and others, succeeded to overturn a prior misguided decision by the Unified Carrier Registration Plan (UCR) Board to apply registration fees to intrastate for-hire school bus contractors. At their December 2018 meeting, the UCR Board of Directors voted unanimously to change the prior decision, which will go into effect for the 2019 fee cycle.
Last year, at their December 2017 meeting, the UCR Board made a decision finding that the UCR registration and fee requirements applied to school bus contractors based on the entirety of a contractor’s school bus fleet rather than only the buses providing interstate service, crossing state line, as defined under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Form MCS-150. Additionally, some states have been billing contractors for unpaid 2016 and 2017 fees. Fines were also assessed in some cases.
As a result, ABA, NSTA and 23 other regional and state motorcoach and school transportation associations petitioned the UCR Board to reconsider their December 2017 decision and exempt school buses that only travel in intrastate commerce to and from school and school-related activities for the purposes of calculating a carrier’s fleet size for payment of UCR fees.
This year, the UCR Board revisited their prior decision. After learning from NSTA’s review of the industry, that on average contractors only use 5 percent of their fleet in interstate service rather than the 100 percent presumed by the Unified Carrier Registration Plan, the Board unanimously overturned their prior decision. Further, it was noted that 2016 and 2017 financial records should be closed by all states and thus fee collection for those years should not be conducted by any state. Also, as 2018 fee collection is ongoing, it was decided the change would go into effect for 2019.
ABA thanks the National School Transportation Association and all the coalition partners for their support of this effort and appreciates the UCR Board’s willingness to revisit the issue.