The newest member of the California Public Utilities Commission called Tuesday for a moratorium on issuing new permits to tour bus companies until the agency can fully investigate the effectiveness of regulations governing the growing industry.
Stan Hulett was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian to the five-member panel two weeks before a tour bus accident in Mono County left 21 passengers from the Santa Monica area dead. In a telephone interview, Hulett said criticism of the PUC following the tragedy, "bothered me. . . . The PUC was taking the rap for something that wasn't (its) problem."
Hulett said the PUC, which issues permits to tour bus companies to operate in California, would consider the moratorium proposal at a meeting next week in San Francisco. The panel also is expected to discuss raising minimum financial and safety standards before a tour bus applicant can receive the PUC's green light, according to the commission's agenda.
Hulett said that he has lined up a majority favoring the moratorium, including Commission President Don Vial and fellow Deukmejian appointee Fred Duda. Vial has long favored stronger regulations on the tour bus industry. Duda was not available for comment.