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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 25, 2015 02:00 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Vanpool Legislation
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would allow private operators of vanpooling services the ability to provide ridesharing arrangements without PUC regulation in Pennsylvania. This legislation is a companion to House Bill 140 (Killion). The same language was unanimously passed out of the House last session (House Bill 2295).

By amending the Ridesharing Arrangements Act, the bill would allow private vanpool operators equipped to provide ridesharing opportunities to public and private employers the ability to serve as a transportation provider, and in turn advertise and brand their services across Pennsylvania. The current regulatory climate does not allow private providers to easily operate here, as a vehicle used in a ridesharing arrangement must be owned or operated by the employer or public agency per Act 279 of 1982, essentially making them a contract carrier by motor vehicle. Right now, Pennsylvania’s climate allows for very limited public-private vanpooling partnerships.

With these proposed amendments to Act 279, privately-operated companies will be able to provide commuters and employers with vanpooling services, ultimately easing environmental and road infrastructure stress, giving workers without their own transportation the ability to get to their jobs, as well as saving individuals using vanpool services money.

Specifically, my legislation would allow a “ridesharing operator” to be an employer, employer’s agent, employer-organized association, a state, regional or local agency, a non-profit organization, or any entity that owns, rents or leases a ridesharing vehicle. It would also amend the definition of “ridesharing arrangement” to include a vanpool arrangement where passengers are transported in a motor vehicle between a place of abode and a place of employment or education or other institution with the following stipulations:
  • The group being transported is between two and 15 persons including the driver;
  • The group does not consist of children grades 12 and below;
  • The gross vehicle weight doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds; and
  • The group is transported round trip from home to place of employment, education or other institution, as is the driver.

To be clear, this legislation is not aimed at allowing so-called ride share companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Pennsylvania. Rather, this will expand ridesharing arrangements to give Pennsylvania’s commuters and employers greater access to vanpooling services in the Commonwealth.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB808