The regulatory agenda of the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) took another step forward with the announcement that the enforcement date of the Lease and Interchange Rule for Passenger Carriers has been pushed back to Jan. 1, 2019. This allows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) additional time to amend the final rule and gives passenger carriers time to adopt those revisions.

Revising this final rule has been among UMA's top priorities since 2015 and this step marks the third time in recent weeks that the regulatory burden on motorcoach carriers has been scaled back.

"UMA is grateful to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao for her latest move to rein in burdensome and ill-conceived regulations holding back our nation's passenger carriers. UMA has led a broad coalition including state and regional partners as well as the American Bus Association on this critical issue for bus and motorcoach operators," said Stacy Tetschner, president/CEO of UMA. "Along with Secretary Chao, we are appreciative of Congressional support to strike and revise the most onerous parts of this final rule."

Published in May 2015, the Lease and Interchange final rule gets in the way of an operator's ability to execute a typical charter contract with another carrier that already has its own operating authority by requiring a formal lease in routine business arrangements like working out emergency assistance or meeting needs for increased capacity.

The rule required the original operator take full responsibility for any violations of federal safety regulations on the part of the secondary carrier. UMA strenuously opposed these parts of the proposed regulation in when it was originally announced and considers the final rule the textbook example of regulatory overreach. UMA has continuously backed the concept that a lease should never be required between two carriers with federal operating authority; unless the parties have a specific business reason to do so.

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