Thursday, August 07, 2008

Federal regulation vs. state law on charter service

Silverado Stages, a charter bus company that will take over SamTrans service to the 49ers games at Candlestick park, recently filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission for an authority to operate bus service to the stadium. SamTrans was forced to abandon the service because the new federal regulation considers premium fare stadium service to be charter service, even though no one hires the whole bus.

Previously reported, charter bus companies that have TCP (charter bus) licenses cannot operate a service that collects individual fares from passengers in California. To do so legally, the company must obtain a Passenger Stage Corporation license indicating areas the company would serve.

Meanwhile, Muni, VTA and Golden Gate Transit will continue to provide special service the 49ers games. For Muni, its special fare ($7 round trip) is lower than the $5 one way cable car fare. For VTA, normal express bus fares will be charged this season to comply with the regulation. Earlier, VTA wrote to the FTA that its 49ers service should not be considered charter because the per mile fare of its service (minus parking fees and the time drivers have to wait for passengers) was only slightly higher than the per mile fare of regular VTA express routes.

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