SB 143

Session
Regular Session 2018
Title
Transportation network companies, Public Service Commission permit required to operate, minimum requirements imposed
Description

Relating to transportation network companies; to require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the Public Service Commission, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, and maintain certain records; to require drivers and vehicles that provide rides through transportation network companies to meet certain safety and consumer protection requirements; to require transportation network companies to collect a local assessment fee for each trip fare and remit it to the Public Service Commission and require the commission to distribute a portion of the fee to the municipality or county where a ride originates; to prohibit municipalities and certain authorities from imposing taxes or business licenses on transportation network companies or transportation network company drivers or vehicles; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Subjects
Transportation
View Original PDF: SB 143 - Engrossed - PDF

Relating to transportation network companies; to require transportation network companies to obtain a permit from the Public Service Commission, maintain an agent for service of process, implement a nondiscrimination policy, implement a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, and maintain certain records; to require drivers and vehicles that provide rides through transportation network companies to meet certain safety and consumer protection requirements; to require transportation network companies to collect a local assessment fee for each trip fare and remit it to the Public Service Commission and require the commission to distribute a portion of the fee to the municipality or county where a ride originates; to prohibit municipalities and certain authorities from imposing taxes or business licenses on transportation network companies or transportation network company drivers or vehicles; and in connection therewith would have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.

Section 1

As used in this act, the following words shall have the following meanings: (1) COMMISSION. The Public Service Commission. (2) DIGITAL NETWORK. Digital network, as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975. (3) GROSS TRIP FARE. The sum of the base fare charge, distance charge, and time charge for a complete trip at rates published on the TNC's website. The term does not include any additional fees, including airport or venue fees. (4) TNC. A transportation network company, as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975. (5) TNC DRIVER. A TNC driver as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975. (6) TNC RIDER. A TNC rider as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975. (7) TNC VEHICLE. A personal vehicle, as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975. The term may include a vehicle that is let or rented to another person for consideration. (8) PREARRANGED RIDE. Prearranged ride, as defined in Section 32-7C-1, Code of Alabama 1975.

Section 2

(a) A TNC or TNC driver is not a common carrier, contract carrier, or motor carrier, as defined in Section 37-3-2, Code of Alabama 1975, does not provide taxi or for-hire vehicle services, and is not subject to the Alabama Motor Carrier Act, Chapter 3, Title 37, Code of Alabama 1975. (b) A TNC driver is not required to register the vehicle that the TNC driver uses to provide prearranged rides under this act as a commercial motor vehicle or for-hire vehicle under the Alabama Motor Carrier Act, Chapter 3, Title 37, Code of Alabama 1975.

Section 3

(a) A person may not operate a TNC in the state without first having obtained a permit from the commission, provided that any TNC operating in the state before July 1, 2018, may continue operating until the commission creates a permit process and sets a registration deadline. (b) The commission shall issue a permit to each applicant that meets the requirements for a TNC under this act.

Section 4

(a) A TNC shall collect a local assessment fee equal to one percent of the gross trip fare for all prearranged rides that originate in the state in accordance with this act. (b)(1) No later than 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter, a TNC shall submit to the commission all of the following: a. The total local assessment fees collected by a TNC. b. For prearranged rides that originated within a municipality, a report listing the percentage of the gross trip fare that originated in each municipality during the reporting period. c. For prearranged rides that originated outside a municipality, a report listing the percentage of the gross trip fare that originated in the unincorporated portion of each county during the reporting period. (2) The TNC shall be responsible for determining whether a prearranged ride originated within the boundaries of a municipality or originated within the unincorporated portion of a county. (c) To ensure proper distribution of the local assessment fee, the commission shall prepare and make available for public use Geographic Information System (GIS) data in the form of a file showing the state's county and municipal boundaries. To the extent the commission updates the GIS file, the commission shall notify TNCs and make available to TNCs the updated GIS file. In addition to the requirements of this section, municipalities shall provide annexation information to the commission within 30 days after the annexation is complete. Such information shall include a written description of the boundary, along with a map or plat that clearly defines the new territory added. (d) The local assessment fees submitted to the commission shall be administered by the commission and may only be expended as provided in this section. The commission may retain an amount necessary to cover the expenses derived from regulation of TNCs and the collection, remittance, and distribution of local assessment fees pursuant to this section, provided the amount retained may not exceed 50 percent of the total local assessment fees collected. (e) No later than 60 days after the end of each calendar quarter, the commission shall distribute the local assessment fees collected for the preceding calendar quarter, minus the amount retained pursuant to subsection (d), to each municipality where a prearranged ride originated and to each county where a prearranged ride originated in the unincorporated portion of the county, during that calendar quarter. The distribution shall be proportionate to the percentage of the gross trip fare that originated in each applicable municipality and unincorporated portion of a county. (f) No more than every two years, the commission may request that a TNC engage an independent third party auditor to verify the local assessment fees submitted to the commission pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) are accurate. The TNC that is subject to the audit shall engage the independent third party auditor, which shall be selected at the sole discretion of the TNC, and bear all costs associated with the third party audit. The independent third party auditor must be a certified public accounting firm licensed in the state and qualified to perform engagements in accordance with American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) standards. The TNC shall provide the commission with a copy of the third party audit report within ays of completion, which shall in no event occur later than 90 days after receipt of the commission's written request. The third party audit shall be limited to a single calendar quarter that may be selected by the commission. If any underpayment of over five percent is identified through the audit, the TNC shall remit the underpaid local assessment fees to the appropriate municipality or county. (g) The governing body of a municipality that enacted a TNC ordinance prior to January 1, 2018, and permitted at least one TNC to operate prior to January 1, 2018, pursuant to the TNC ordinance, may request the commission to review the portions of a third party audit report provided to the commission pursuant to subsection (f) that are applicable to the municipality. If no third party audit report is available for a TNC from the prior two-year period at the time of the governing body's request, the governing body that enacted a TNC ordinance prior to January 1, 2018, and permitted at least one TNC to operate prior to January 1, 2018, may request the commission to initiate an audit pursuant to subsection (f). (h) Any record maintained by a TNC or submitted to the commission or a political subdivision of the state pursuant to this section shall be considered tax information and may not be disclosed, as provided in subsection (a) of Section 40-2A-10, Code of Alabama 1975, except as otherwise provided in this section.

Section 5

A TNC shall maintain an agent for service of process in the state.

Section 6

A TNC may charge a fare for the services provided to a TNC rider. If a fare is collected from a rider, the TNC shall disclose to the rider the fare or fare calculation on its digital network. If the fare is not disclosed to the rider before the beginning of the prearranged ride, the rider shall have the option to receive an estimated fare before the beginning of the prearranged ride.

Section 7

The TNC's digital network shall display a picture of the TNC driver and the license plate number of the motor vehicle use for providing the prearranged ride before the rider enters the TNC driver's vehicle.

Section 8

Within a reasonable period of time following the completion of a trip, a TNC shall transmit an electronic receipt to the rider that lists all of the following: (1) The origin and destination of the trip. (2) The total time and distance of the trip. (3) The total fare paid.

Section 9

A TNC driver or a TNC on behalf of the TNC driver shall maintain automobile insurance pursuant to Chapter 7C of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975. Section 10. (a) Before allowing an individual to accept trip requests through a TNC's digital network as a TNC driver, all of the following must occur: (1) The individual shall submit an application to the TNC, that includes information regarding his or her address, age, driver's license, motor vehicle registration, and other information required by the TNC. (2) The TNC shall conduct, or have a third party conduct, a local and national criminal background check for each applicant that shall include a review of the following: a. A multistate or multi-jurisdiction criminal records locator or other similar commercial nationwide database with validation. b. The United State Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. (3) The TNC shall obtain and review, or have a third party obtain and review, a driving history report of each applicant. (b) The TNC may not permit an individual to act as a TNC driver on its digital network who: (1) Has had more than three moving violations in the prior three-year period, or one of the following major violations in the prior three-year period: a. Fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. b. Reckless driving. c. Driving with a suspended or revoked license. (2) Has been convicted, within the past seven years, of any of the following: a. A felony. b. Misdemeanor driving under the influence, reckless driving, hit and run, or any other misdemeanor violent offense or sexual battery. (3) Is a match in the U.S. Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website. (4) Does not possess a valid driver's license. (5) Does not possess proof of registration for the motor vehicle or vehicles the applicant intends to use to provide prearranged rides. (6) Does not maintain proof of or does not possess automobile insurance required under Chapter 7C of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975. (7) Is under the age of 19 years. Section 11. (a) A TNC shall establish and enforce a zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy for TNC drivers that prohibits any amount of intoxication of the driver while providing transportation network services. (b) The TNC shall include on its website a notice concerning the TNC's zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy and the means to make a complaint about a suspected violation of the policy. (c) Upon receipt of a rider complaint alleging a violation of the zero tolerance intoxicating substance policy, the TNC shall immediately suspend the TNC driver's access to the TNC's digital network and conduct an investigation into the reported incident. The suspension shall last the duration of the investigation. Section 12. A TNC driver may not accept a trip for compensation other than a trip arranged through a TNC's digital network. Section 13. (a) The TNC shall adopt a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of destination, race, color, national origin, religious belief or affiliation, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity with respect to riders and potential riders. The TNC shall notify TNC drivers of the policy. (b) TNC drivers shall comply with all applicable laws regarding nondiscrimination against riders or potential riders on the basis of destination, race, color, national origin, religious belief or affiliation, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. (c) TNC drivers shall comply with all applicable laws relating to the transportation of service animals. (d) A TNC may not impose additional charges for providing services to individuals with physical disabilities because of those disabilities. Section 14. (a) A TNC shall maintain the following records: (1) Individual trip records for at least two years from the date each trip was provided. (2) Individual records of TNC drivers at least two years from the date on which a TNC driver's relationship with the TNC ended. (b) For the sole purpose of verifying that a TNC is in compliance with subsection (a) and Section 10 and no more than annually, the commission may visually inspect a random sample of up to five percent of the records that the TNC is required to maintain pursuant to subsection (a). All samples shall include records sufficient to verify the TNC's compliance with the background check requirements and standards set forth in Section 10. The audit shall take place at a mutually agreed upon location in Montgomery, Alabama, or through a mutually agreed upon secure electronic process. Any record furnished to the commission may exclude information that would identify specific TNC drivers or riders, unless the commission demonstrates that there is good cause to inspect the identifying information. (c) The governing body of a municipality that enacted a TNC ordinance prior to January 1, 2018, and permitted at least one TNC to operate prior to January 1, 2018, pursuant to the TNC ordinance, may request from the commission an analysis regarding a TNC's compliance with Section 10 as it applies to that municipality based on the audit performed by the commission pursuant to subsection (b). If the requested analysis reveals a TNC is not in compliance with Section 10, the commission shall include that information in the analysis provided to the municipality and work in coordination with the governing body to bring the TNC into compliance. If no such audit analysis is available for a TNC from the prior one-year period at the time of the governing body's request, the governing body that enacted a TNC ordinance prior to January 1, 2018, and permitted at least one TNC to operate prior to January 1, 2018, may request that the commission initiate an audit pursuant to subsection (b). (d) In response to a specific complaint against a TNC driver or a TNC, the commission may inspect records held by the TNC pursuant to subsection (a) that are necessary to investigate and resolve the complaint. The inspection shall take place at a mutually agreed upon location in Montgomery, Alabama, or through a mutually agreed upon secure electronic process. Any record furnished to the commission may exclude information that would identify specific TNC drivers or riders, unless the identity of a driver or rider is relevant to the complaint. (e) Any records, including any information contained therein that would identify specific TNC drivers or riders inspected by the commission under this section are not public records and are not subject to disclosure to a third party by the commission without prior written consent of the TNC, and are exempt from disclosure under Section 36-12-40, Code of Alabama 1975. Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the applicability of any other exemptions under Section 36-12-40, Code of Alabama 1975, or the validity of any court order. (f) No political subdivision of the state, including the commission, may disclose any records, data, or information provided by a TNC pursuant to this act to a third party absent a court order or subpoena. In the event that records, data, or information provided pursuant to this act is sought through a court order or subpoena, the commission or other political subdivision shall promptly notify the TNC so as to afford the TNC the opportunity to take actions to prevent disclosure. Section 15. (a) The failure of a TNC to comply with this act or rule adopted pursuant to this act or commission order issued pursuant to this act may result in the revocation of the TNC's permit by the commission or the assessment of a civil penalty, or both, in accordance with procedures established by the commission. The civil penalty for TNCs may not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) for each violation for each day the TNC knew or should have known about the violation. (b) The failure by a TNC driver to comply with this act or rule adopted pursuant to this act or commission order issued pursuant to this act may result in the suspension of the TNC driver from operating on any TNC's digital network or the assessment of a civil penalty, or both, in accordance with procedures established by the commission. The civil penalty for TNC drivers may not exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation for each day the TNC driver knew or should have known about the violation. Section 16. The commission may adopt rules to implement and enforce this act in accordance with its established rules of practice and procedures. Section 17. (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for uniformity of laws governing TNCs, TNC drivers, and TNC vehicles throughout the state, and to provide that TNCs, TNC drivers, and TNC vehicles be governed exclusively by this act, Chapter 7C of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975 governing insurance requirements for TNCs and TNC drivers, and any rules adopted by the commission consistent with this act. (b) A county, municipality, special district, airport authority, port authority, or other local governmental entity or subdivision may not do any of the following: (1) Impose a tax on, or require a license for, a TNC or a TNC driver or TNC vehicle if the tax or license relates to providing prearranged rides, or subjects a TNC, TNC driver, or TNC vehicle to any rate, entry, operation, or other requirement of the county, municipality, special district, airport authority, port authority, or other local governmental entity or subdivision. (2) Require a TNC or a TNC driver to obtain a business license or any other type of similar authorization to operate within the jurisdiction. (3) Subject a TNC or a TNC driver to a rate, entry, operation, or other requirement of the county, municipality, special district, airport authority, port authority, or other local governmental entity. (c) This section does not prohibit the governing body of a municipality from electing by ordinance to prohibit TNCs from operating within its corporate limits. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the governing body of a municipality may not specify additional or alternative requirements, taxes, or licenses for TNCs, TNC drivers, or TNC vehicles as conditions for operating within its corporate limits (d) This section does not prohibit an airport from charging reasonable pickup fees at that airport, for use of the airport's facilities or designating locations for staging, pickup, and other similar operations at the airport. (e) This section does not prohibit the Alabama State Port Authority from regulating access to its properties and facilities or from charging reasonable and necessary fees, provided the regulations, fees, and any required credentials are consistent with regulations, fees, and credentials that apply to taxicab companies. Section 18. Section 4 shall become operative 30 days after the Public Service Commission makes available the GIS data required under subsection (c) of Section 4. Section 19. This act shall become effective on July 1, 2018, following its passage and approval by the Governor or its otherwise becoming law, and Section 4 shall become operative 30 days after the Public Service Commission makes available the GIS data required under subsection (c) of

Section 10

No articles found.
Action Date Chamber Action
February 1, 2018HCommerce and Small Business first Amendment Offered
February 1, 2018HPending third reading on day 9 Favorable from Commerce and Small Business with 1 amendment
February 1, 2018HRead for the second time and placed on the calendar 1 amendment
January 25, 2018HRead for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Commerce and Small Business
January 25, 2018SEngrossed
January 25, 2018SMotion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 128
January 25, 2018SSingleton motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 127
January 25, 2018SSingleton Substitute
January 25, 2018SThird Reading Passed
January 25, 2018SSingleton motion to Carry Over to the Call of the Chair adopted Voice Vote
January 25, 2018SSingleton first Substitute Offered
January 25, 2018SThird Reading Carried Over to Call of the Chair
January 18, 2018SRead for the second time and placed on the calendar
January 11, 2018SRead for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Tourism and Marketing
2018-01-25
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed
2018-01-25
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed