Mass transit vehicles such as buses play an important role in carrying out the necessary activity of enabling the residents of the United States to conduct their public and private business. The sheer volume of human activity involved in mass transit operations, and the number and types of vehicles employed in mass transit around the country, create numerous issues related to the motor vehicle insurance aspects of the mass transit business.
In addition to many of the usual considerations that arise in the conduct of the business of motor vehicle insurance in general, insurance-related concerns in mass transit operations raise questions unique to the activities involved in such operations. The sheer number of people transported by mass transit, for instance, and the demographic range reflected in them, greatly increase the types and extent of the risks involved in transporting them. The extensive and generally impersonal nature of mass transit activities may well result in incidents that raise questions of coverage for occurrences such as assaults on operators or passengers of mass transit vehicles. Such questions can be further complicated by the specialized nature of some types of mass transit, such as the operation of school buses. Mass transit systems are often owned by municipal or regional governmental units, bringing into play additional issues of governmental liabilities and immunities. Mass transit operations may also be subject to government regulations concerning matters such as safety and maintenance requirements or insurance requirements that can have implications for insurance coverage of the vehicles involved.
The business of insurance in the United States, including that of motor vehicle insurance, has historically been governed by the individual laws of each state rather than by a single unified body of federal law. As a result, the answers to questions concerning the insurance aspects of mass transit operations will vary from state to state, and will be found in the state statutes regulating the business of insurance and in the decisions of courts related to insurance law.