San Diego, Calif.—The Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) held a General Meeting in San Diego on October 22 amid a wave of new regulations from the state.
After updates regarding the San Diego Convention Center Expansion and Tourism Authority and San Diego Airport, members shared a detailed discussion on new safety regulations in California’s charter industry.
In response to the limousine fire that killed five women in May, the California legislature passed SB 109, which requires limousines to have emergency exits, and SB 338, which requires limousines to carry fire extinguishers. Only SB 109 was passed into law by Calif. Governor Jerry Brown, who requested that the legislature return a revised version of SB 338 in 2014.
SB 109 will be implemented incrementally over the next three years. As of January 1, 2014, emergency safety talks with passengers will be required. By July 1, 2015, six and eight-passenger limousines will be required a fifth door and one push-out window. And on January 1, 2016, all six and eight-passenger limousines manufactured prior to July 1, 2015, must be retrofitted to include either one fifth door and one push-out window, two side push-out windows, or one side push-out window with a roof mount window.
In a formal response to SB 109, GCLA President Mark Stewart of CLI Worldwide expressed opposition to the bill, claiming that the rules “will force many limousine operators to cease offering the service or take their business underground to avoid the cost of new vehicle modifications in July 2015 as well as the retrofit starting in January 1, 2016, thus putting more California's at risk and without the insurance protection licensed operators carry.”
Stewart also called for all California operators to comply with the new rules, though, and assured that the GCLA will be working with qualified coach builders and law makers to influence any further amendments to SB 109 and any future transportation legislation.
Stewart also conducted a Q&A session with association members regarding the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)’s proposed decision declaring ridesharing apps as legitimate charter operations under the new category Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). Despite its seeming victory, Uber has released a petition for a rehearing on the grounds that it is a technology company, not a transportation company, and should be regulated as such. Stewart suggests that the confusing array of reactions over past two months comes from the vagueness of the decision’s language.
“It’s going to be a continuing process to determine what [the proposed decision] really says and what requirements are really going to come out of it,” states Stewart, who also says that the GCLA will hold off on making concrete statements or plans of action until the components of the decision become more transparent.
Visit gcla.org for more information.