FTA Grant Recipients Responsibilities Regarding Charter Bus Service

Number C-01-16

U.S. Department
of Transportation
Federal Transit


400 Seventh St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Transportation Colleague:

The events of September 11 have introduced significant challenges for America’s transportation network. Long recognized as the world’s finest system for transporting passengers and goods, this network is the foundation of the world’s strongest economy and most open society. We are now challenged to maintain that vigor and effectiveness in the face of a new and menacing threat.

Many of the private sector components of our transportation infrastructure were dealt a considerable economic blow by the September 11 attack. The airline industry was severely impacted, but so, too, was the private over-the-road bus industry. The bus industry reports that members experienced cancellation rates in charter and tourism business of up to eighty percent. Revenues from these services are considered crucial to maintaining intercity bus transportation networks, which serve over 4,000 communities.

The interconnected nature of America’s transportation network requires that we work together to maintain the vitality and effectiveness of every component of our system. Local transit agencies, especially in rural areas, are providing connecting feeder and distributor services to intercity operators. Local transit operators have become ticket agents for both local and intercity service. Intercity over-the-road bus operators have become contractors to public governmental agencies, particularly providing long distance commuter services, and have made their resources available for special events in times of unusually high demand. The fact is, the health of every component – public and private – affects the health and effectiveness of our entire passenger transportation system.

As public transit agencies move to expand service, it is important to respect the needs of private sector agencies to operate effectively in a competitive marketplace for services that do not receive subsidies. In 1987, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued charter service rules, as required by Federal law, to ensure that publicly funded services do not put private services at a competitive disadvantage. FTA also affords flexibility within its rules for public agencies to meet special community needs when it is not practical for the private sector to respond in a cost-effective manner.

I have enclosed a brochure that highlights and reviews the key provisions of the FTA charter service regulation and the specific responsibilities of FTA grant recipients. Please take a few moments to review this information.

Public and private mass transportation providers have much to offer each other and the riding public--America is depending upon all of us to keep our communities safe and moving.


Jennifer L. Dorn

Related Item: Enclosure - C-01-16