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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
April 27, 2018

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals:

School Proms—Limousine, Party Bus, and Ride Services

Prom season is fast approaching. We would like to take this opportunity to remind school officials of the potential problems that can occur when hiring an unlicensed transportation carrier and encourage that this information be communicated to parents and students. Unlicensed carriers operate illegally; fail to demonstrate compliance with insurance, safety, and driver requirements; and are less likely to operate safe vehicles. 

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) licenses and regulates limousines, party buses, and app-based ride services such as Uber and Lyft. Licensed transportation providers must carry between $750,000 and $5 million in liability insurance based on vehicle size, undergo annual vehicle or terminal inspections, and enroll in the Department of Motor Vehicle’s program that notifies the company when a driver accrues an adverse action on his/her driving record. Limousine and party bus drivers are subject to drug and alcohol testing. State laws require a company and its drivers to ensure that minors do not consume alcoholic beverages on board limousines or party buses. The CPUC requires app-based companies to promptly suspend any driver accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers of Transportation Network Companies must undergo background checks based on a driver’s Social Security Number, which screens publicly available information for evidence of criminal convictions that prohibit a person from becoming a driver.

While all app-based companies may transport minors, the CPUC requires a company whose primary business is to transport minors to ensure each driver undergoes a fingerprint-based criminal background check performed by the California Department of Justice. Currently, three app-based companies conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks to transport minors: HopSkipDrive, Dolightful (Kango), and Zum. (The terms of service for Uber and Lyft require an account holder to be 18 years of age and for minors to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.)

While there is no guarantee that a ride with a licensed carrier will be problem-free, parents and students are less likely to encounter problems with a licensed company. Make sure that you receive a written contract for the transportation and check the company’s license (TCP) number, which is required on all advertising, at You can also call the CPUC Transportation Enforcement Branch at 800-894-9444 and ask to verify a company’s operating authority.

Thank you for helping us to ensure that 2018 is a safe year for our students.


Tom Torlakson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Michael Picker
President, California Public Utilities Commission



Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 31, 2019

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