The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has safety regulatory oversight of commercial vans operations and for-hire operators of small passenger-carrying vehicles. Below are the explanations and differences between for-hire motor vehicles (direct compensation) and not for-hire motor vehicles (indirect compensation) vehicles.
Direct Compensation (for-hire) – Motor carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger commercial vehicles for direct compensation are subject to the safety standards of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). They are required to file a motor carrier identification report and mark their vehicles with the USDOT identification number and the legal name of the operator. In addition, they are subject to fitness safety procedures, accident register recordkeeping, medical examinations, maintaining driver qualification files, complying with driving time standards, and keeping records of maintenance on the vehicles. Examples of for-hire vehicles are airport shuttles and taxi cabs.
Indirect Compensation (not for-hire) – Motor carriers operating 9 to 15 passenger commercial vehicles not for direct compensation are required to file a motor carrier identification report, mark their vehicles with the USDOT identification number, maintain an accident register, comply with the prohibition against drivers texting while driving, and comply with the driver’s restriction of cell phones. Examples of not for-hire vehicles are daycare, retirement home, and church buses of this size.
Whichever bus you have, make sure you are following the correct guidelines for safety. You can find them at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov.