FTA to clarify school bus terms for transit agencies

Posted on November 19, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on Tuesday issued a proposal to amend its school bus regulations for transit agencies.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks to clarify the definitions of several terms that have been interpreted differently in cases in which federally funded transit agencies were accused of providing illegal school transportation.

Regarding the term “tripper service,” which is intended to define a permissible type of school service by transit agencies, FTA would eliminate it from its regulations.

“FTA finds the definition of tripper service and its subsequent interpretations problematic,” the NPRM states. “FTA believes that a grantee ... may believe that it could substantially restructure its public transportation operation solely to accommodate the needs of a local school district and its students while displacing private school bus operators and their employees provided the system keeps the service open to the public even though no member of the public likely will ride those particular routes.”

In an earlier move to clarify its school bus regulations, FTA issued final policy statement on the matter in September.

In its newsletter this week, the National School Transportation Association (NSTA) said that the FTA “clearly tried to balance all interests in the NPRM, and we are generally pleased with the outcome.”

Still, NSTA said that it would submit comments to the NPRM and urged its members to do so as well.

To view the NPRM, click here. The deadline for comments is Feb. 17.

Related Topics: FTA, transit/tripper service

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