Pennsylvania is a member of the International Registration Plan (IRP) which is a registration reciprocity agreement among jurisdictions of the United States and Canada. The agreement provides for registration fee payments on the basis of fleet distance operated in various jurisdictions.
The unique feature of this plan is that even though registration fees are paid to various jurisdictions where fleet vehicles are operated, only one license plate and cab card are issued for each fleet vehicle when registered under the plan
The fundamental principle of the Plan is to promote and encourage the fullest possible use of the highway system by authorizing apportioned registration of fleet vehicles and recognition by each member jurisdiction of the vehicles apportioned by other member jurisdictions, thus contributing to the economic and social development and growth of the member jurisdictions
You must register your vehicle(s) apportionately if the vehicle(s) travels or is intended for travel in two or more of the member jurisdictions and is used for the transportation of persons for hire or is designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property, and:
is a power unit having a gross or registered weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, or
is a power unit having three or more axles regardless of weight, or
is used in combination when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
Vehicles or combinations, having a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less and two axle vehicles, may be apportioned at the option of the registrant.
On September 18th, 2014, the International Registration Plan (IRP) jurisdictions voted in favor of amending the definition of Apportionable Vehicle in the plan.
This amendment removed charter buses as a vehicle exempt from IRP registration.
Effective January 1st, 2016, all charter buses operating interstate will be required to obtain apportioned registration or purchase trip permits.
Those who maintain Charter Bus operations may register for apportioned registration anytime between now and January 1, 2016.
The apportioned registration cycle for apportioned registered vehicles runs from June 1 through May 31.
Pennsylvania does not maintain staggered registration for apportioned registered vehicles at this time.
As a result, some questions may arise on when to transition bus plates to apportioned registration plates.
Please reference the bullets below:
If the registrant has an existing apportioned fleet, they may elect to add their current non-apportioned vehicles to the fleet. Vehicles added to the existing apportioned fleet will maintain the current annual June through May apportioned registration cycle.
If the registrant elects to convert their current bus plates to apportioned registration prior to the current bus expiration date, credit shall be applied to the new apportioned registration.
Please note that registrants are not required to convert all of their vehicles to apportioned registration; some can maintain the bus plate depending on how they use them (i.e. limited to intrastate travel or trip permits are purchased).
School Buses and other Organizations
The changes in the IRP charter bus requirements are not intended to affect school bus or other non-profit organization vehicles with bus plates.
However, if the bus is used in charter operations any time during the registration period, the bus would be subject to either IRP or trip permit requirements.
Full Reciprocity Plan (FRP)
The IRP adopted the Full Reciprocity Plan (FRP) effective January 1, 2015. As a result of the FRP, apportioned registrants have greater flexibility to operate in all IRP jurisdictions.
Established apportioned registrants will benefit in FRP as these registrants will no longer need to obtain trip permits for jurisdictions they previously did not have on their cab card.
Also the conversion to FRP eliminates the use of calculating 1st & 2nd year estimated distance in new and existing jurisdictions where travel may not have occurred in the previous year.
New IRP fleets will pay a fee to each jurisdiction in the Plan that will permit operation in all 59 jurisdictions throughout the year.
On subsequent renewals, registration fees will be calculated and paid to the jurisdictions where actual distance was travelled in the prior year.
However, registrants will continue to receive registration privileges for all 59 jurisdictions throughout the year.
Established motor carriers who have maintained vehicle log records may report actual distance travelled for their initial registration.
Registrants may wish to consider consolidating their fleets since multiple fleets are no longer needed under FRP.
Consolidation is optional as fleets were regimented based on geographical travel. The optimal time to consolidate fleets is at the time of renewal.