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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2014 10:26 AM
From: Representative Thomas H. Killion
To: All House members
Subject: Vanpool/Rideshare Deregulation
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation that will allow private operators to provide ridesharing arrangements, commonly known as vanpools, to commuters and employers without being regulated as a public utility by the PUC.

In 1980, the National Association of Vanpool Operators (now the Association for Commuter Transportation) estimated that there were 24,000 vanpools nationwide of which 23,000 were owned and operated by employers on behalf of their employees. However, throughout the 1980's and 1990's, transit agencies and private operators began to expand vanpool offerings as employers no longer needed to provide transportation options for their employees. Today, of the estimated 15,000 vanpools nationwide, less than 1,000 of those are owned and operated by employers on behalf of their employees. In fact, those operations are now limited to four firms in California, Texas, Arizona, and Minnesota.

Nationally, vanpools are typically operated by private providers, by public agencies that include the vanpool operations in their reporting for federal funding eligibility or in partnerships between private providers and public agencies. However, this privately operated vanpool model is not prevalent in Pennsylvania because current law (Act 279 of 1982) requires a vehicle used in a “ridesharing arrangement” to be owned or operated by the employer or public agency. As a result, a ridesharing arrangement offered by a private operator could be considered to be a contract carrier by motor vehicle, which subjects the private operator to unneeded and costly PUC regulations.

Under my legislation, Act 279 would be amended to allow a “ridesharing operator” to be an employer, public agency, nonprofit organization or any entity that owns, rents or leases a ridesharing vehicle. Additionally, the definition of ridesharing arrangement would include a vanpool arrangement whereby passengers are transported in a motor vehicle between a place of abode and a place of employment or educational or other institution, provided that:
  • The group does not exceed 15 persons, including the driver;
  • The group does not consist of school-aged children;
  • The gross weight of the vehicle does not exceed 10,000 pounds; and
  • The group is transported round trip where the driver is also driving to and from his or her place of abode and his or her place of employment or educational or other institution.

By expanding ridesharing arrangements to include the privately operated model, the Commonwealth’s commuters and employers will have access to needed vanpool services that will not only save them money, but will also reduce traffic congestion and the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by passenger vehicles.

I appreciate your consideration of this legislation.

Introduced as HB140