The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) has urged its members to contact their representatives in Congress regarding a bill that could adversely affect private bus companies.
The action comes in response to provisions in the Senate’s recently passed transportation bill that would allow transit authorities to provide charter bus service to schools (Senate Amendment 2616, Section 3022).
The NSTA and several motorcoach associations have launched a joint effort in opposing two elements of the bill: that transit agencies would be allowed to serve the charter needs of the entire non-profit sector, and that transit agencies would be granted the right to act as “brokers” between private bus operators and their customers to pick by low bid who will operate the charter service.
In a report to its members, the NSTA called the Senate charter bus provisions “blatant unfair government competition with the private sector.”
Among concerns noted was that transit agencies do not have federal safety oversight comparable to that of private operators, who must comply with regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally, transit agencies would have a cost advantage in that they are federally subsidized.