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Unified Registration System (URS) Glossary of Terms

Form of Business

  • Sole Proprietor - An individual who owns and operates a business normally in his or her legal name and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. In some jurisdictions the proprietor can use a trade name or business name other than his or her legal name, but the individual is also required to file a ‘doing business as (dba)’ statement with local authorities. Every asset of the business is owned by the proprietor and all debts of the business are his or hers as well.
     
  • Partnership - A voluntary contract between two or more competent persons to place their money, effects, labor, and skill, or some or all of them, in lawful commerce or business, with the understanding that there shall be a proportional sharing of the profits and losses between them.
     
  • Corporation - An artificial person or legal entity created by or under the authority of the laws of a state or nation, composed, in some rare instances, of a single person and his successors, but ordinarily consisting of an association of numerous individuals, which is regarded in law as having a personality and existence distinct from that of its several members. Corporations may own assets, and incur liabilities that do not pass to its shareholders personally.
     
  • Limited Liability Company - A business structure type that combines corporation limited personal liability with partnership or sole proprietorship single taxation. Each shareholder files his or her own separate tax return. Profits and tax benefits are split any way the stockholder and shareholder entities choose.
     
  • Unit of State or Local Government - Any department or agency of the federal government, any state or any agency, office or department of a state, any city, county, district, commission, authority, entity, port or other public corporation organized and existing under statutory law or under a voter-approved charter and any intergovernmental entity created under Federal or State law.
     
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) - A partnership in which some or all partners (depending on the jurisdiction) have limited liability. In an LLP, no partner is responsible or liable (directly or indirectly) for an obligation of the partnership due to another partner’s misconduct or negligence, thus shielding innocent members of these partnerships from liability.
     
  • Trust - A relationship whereby property (real or personal, tangible or intangible) is transferred by one party (settlor) to be held by another party (trustee) for the benefit of a third party or parties (beneficiary(ies)). In effect, a trust is a legal device designed to provide financial assistance or something of value to someone without giving the person total control over the trust assets. It may be revocable or irrevocable, express or implied. The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries (the beneficial owners of the trust property) and is obligated to administer the trust in accordance with both the terms of the trust and the governing law.”
     

Operation Classification

  • For-Hire Motor Carrier - Transportation by a motor carrier for compensation, including:
     
    • Property - Transportation of general freight, hazardous materials or household goods. This category includes transportation exempt from the commercial registration requirements in Title 49 U.S.C. chapter 139. These exemptions can be found in 49 U.S.C. chapter 135.
       
    • Passengers:
      • Charter & special operations - Charter service is the transportation of groups, assembled by someone other than the carrier, who collectively contract with the motor carrier for the exclusive use of vehicle(s) for the duration of a particular trip or tour.  The passengers must travel together for the entire trip. Special operations include almost any type of service that is neither charter transportation nor regularly-scheduled service over fixed routes.  The carrier assembles the group through the sale of individual tickets and generally offers some service feature in addition to transportation between two points.
         
      • Regular route - Regularly scheduled service between specific points operated in accordance with a published schedule.  It is not necessary for privately owned applicants to specify a particular route. However, public entities must describe the specific routes over which they propose to operate when prompted by the online Form and must file new applications whenever seeking to add new routes after initial registration.
         
      • Limousine/van operations - Operation of a passenger vehicle designed or used to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.
         
      • FTA grantee - A motor carrier of passengers providing transportation service within a transit service area under an agreement with a Federal, State, or local government funded, in whole or part, with a grant under 49 U.S.C. 5307, 5310, 5311, 5316 or 5317.  Such carriers participate in the for-hire transportation of passengers between points in a transit service area located in more than one State.
         
    • Mexico-owned, U.S.-based enterprise - A U.S.-based company owned or controlled by persons of Mexico. Transportation of property by such an enterprise is limited to international cargo.
       
  • Private Motor Carrier - Interstate Transportation by commercial motor vehicle, not for compensation, as defined in 49 CFR part 390.
    • Property (Hazardous Materials) - transports any amount of hazardous materials.
       
    • Property (Non-Hazardous Materials) - does not transport any hazardous materials.
       
    • Passengers (Business) - A private motor carrier engaged in the interstate transportation of passengers which is provided in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise and not available to the public at large. Examples include companies that use buses to transport their employees without collecting a fee from them, or professional entertainers who use buses to transport themselves to or from performances. Commercial businesses that provide passenger transportation to the general public and charge a fee are not private motor carriers of passengers (business).
       
    • Passengers (Non-Business) - A private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness) means a private motor carrier involved in the interstate transportation of passengers not provided in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise and not available to the public at large. 
       
    • Migrant Workers- Interstate transportation of three or more migrant workers to or from their employment by any commercial motor vehicle other than a passenger automobile or station wagon.
       
  • Property Broker - An entity that arranges for the interstate transportation of cargo belonging to others, using for-hire motor carriers subject to the commercial registration requirements to provide the actual transportation.
     
  • Freight Forwarder - An entity that holds itself out to provide transportation of cargo belonging to others, using for-hire motor carriers subject to the commercial registration requirements to provide the actual interstate transportation. In the ordinary course of business, freight forwarders: (1) assemble and consolidate shipments, (2) conduct break bulk and distribution operations, and (3) assume responsibility for transportation of property from place of receipt to the place of destination. Freight Forwarders may or may not operate vehicles.
     
  • Government Entity - A U.S. Federal Government agency, State Government agency, local Government agency or Indian Tribe.
     
  • Cargo Tank Facility - An entity that: (1) manufactures, repairs, inspects, tests, qualifies, or maintains a cargo tank to ensure that the cargo tank conforms to 49 CFR part 178, subpart J, and 49 CFR part 180, subpart E; (2) alters the certificate of construction of cargo tank; (3) ensures the continuing qualification of a cargo tank by performing a function prescribed in 49 CFR part 178 or 180; or (4) makes any representation indicating compliance with one or more of the requirements of 49 CFR part 178 or 180.
     
  • Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) - Any person who interchanges intermodal equipment with a motor carrier pursuant to a written interchange agreement or has a contractual responsibility for the maintenance of the intermodal equipment.
     
  • Driveaway/Towaway Operation - An  operation in which an empty or unladen motor vehicle with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway is being transported: (1) between a vehicle manufacturer's facilities; (2) between a vehicle manufacturer and a dealership or purchaser; (3) between a dealership, or other entity selling or leasing the vehicle, and a purchaser or lessee; (4) to a motor carrier's terminal or repair facility for the repair of disabling damage (as defined in 49 CFR 390.5) following a crash; or (5) to a motor carrier's terminal or repair facility for repairs associated with the failure of a vehicle component or system; or (6) by means of a saddle-mount or tow-bar.
     

Type of Operation

  • Interstate (Non-HM) - Transportation of passengers or property: (1) across State lines, including international boundaries; or (2) within one State as part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
     
  • Interstate (HM) - Transportation of any amount of hazardous material: (1) across State lines, including international boundaries; or (2) entirely within one State as part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
     
  • Intrastate (Non-HM) - Transportation of passengers or property entirely within one State that is not part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
     
  • Intrastate (HM) - Transportation of any amount of hazardous material entirely within the boundaries of a single State that is not part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
     

Miscellaneous Definitions

  • Commercial Motor Vehicle - means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle -
    1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
       
    2. Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
       
    3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
       
    4. Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.
       
  • Passenger vehicles are defined as:
    • Motor coach—— A passenger vehicle with an elevated passenger deck over the baggage compartment --- usually designed for long distance transportation of passengers, and often equipped with storage racks above the seats.

    • School bus—A vehicle designed and/or equipped mainly to carry primary and secondary students to and from school, usually built on a medium or large truck chassis.

    • Mini-bus—A motor vehicle designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and typically built on a small truck chassis. A mini-bus has a smaller seating capacity than a motor coach.

    • Van—A small motor vehicle designed or used to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.

    • Limousine—A passenger vehicle designed or used to transport 15 or fewer passengers, including the driver.

  • Other Vehicle Types - For illustrations of the various vehicle types, click here.
     
  • Intermodal Equipment Chassis - For an explanation of what distinguishes an intermodal equipment chassis, click here.
     
  • Drivers (NOTE: Any driver who engages in both interstate and intrastate transportation should be counted as an interstate driver.)
    • Interstate - The driver transports passengers or property: (1) across State lines, including international boundaries; or (2) entirely within one State as part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
       
    • Solely Intrastate - The driver transports passengers or property entirely within one State that is not part of a through movement that originates or terminates in another State or country.
       
  • Hazardous Materials: “bulk” and “non-bulk” are defined in 49 CFR 171.8, as follows:
    • Bulk: A packaging, without any intermediate form of containment, having a maximum capacity greater than 119 gallons for liquids, 882 pounds or 119 gallons for solids, or 1,000 pounds water capacity for gases.
       
    • Non-Bulk: A packaging having a capacity equal to or less than 119 gallons for liquids, 882 pounds or 119 gallons for solids, or 1,000 pounds water capacity for gases.
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016
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