HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved updated regulations for passenger carriers, as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate barriers that could prevent qualified passenger carriers from serving Pennsylvania communities and address changes in the transportation industry.
The Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a Final Rulemaking Order for all passenger motor carriers, eliminating the requirement that new applicants demonstrate that their service will fulfill public demand or need. This change impacts several different types of passenger services, including scheduled route carriers; call or demand (taxi) carriers; group and party carriers; limousine carriers; airport transfer carriers; paratransit carriers; and experimental service carriers (ride-sharing services).
As noted in the Commission’s Order, “public need or demand will be determined in the marketplace by competition among passenger carriers in regard to price, quality and reliability, as well as the experienced demand for their services by consumers who may freely choose among those competing carriers.”
While the updated regulations simplify the administrative process involved in demonstrating a public need or demand, carriers are still required to prove to the PUC that they are technically and financially fit to operate safely, reliably and legally.
In a joint statement, Commissioner Powelson and Commissioner Coleman stressed the importance of regulatory flexibility in light of the changing transportation industry.
“The elimination of the need requirement, together with our ‘Transportation 2.0’ initiative to undertake a comprehensive examination of all our transportation regulations, will result in a set of rules that will ensure the transportation industry in Pennsylvania not only operates safely, but continues to innovate,” said Commissioners Powelson and Coleman.
This latest action comes as the Commission continues a comprehensive review of all regulations for transportation carriers in Pennsylvania. Previously, the PUC eliminated the “need” requirement for household goods and property carriers (moving companies). Other new rules related to transportation services, including taxi and limousine operations, are currently being evaluated by the Commission.
The Commission’s rulemaking will now be submitted for review by the designated standing committees of both Houses of the General Assembly, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, Office of Attorney General and Governor’s Budget Office. The regulations will become effective upon final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No. L-2015-2507592