How Transportation Industries Will Be Impacted by Assembly Bill 1221

    Bars and restaurants aren’t the only businesses that will be impacted by the impending regulations that will mandate all alcohol purveyors to have responsible beverage service certification. Tourism-centric transportation industries will also be impacted by the incoming Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) certification mandate under Assembly Bill (AB) 1221 in the state of California.

    This certification will not impact all transportation businesses the same, as these regulations will vary between rail, air and sea travel. Those who require certification, however, will need to pass the government mandated exam. The good news is, with the right tools and training resources, employees who serve alcohol and managers of servers of alcohol will be able to become certified without disrupting their operations.

    Railway Regulations

    License type 54, On-Sale General Train, enables the sale and service of beer, wine, and distilled spirits to passengers of licensed trains operating within the state of California. Railways that service California and offer alcoholic beverages will be required to have their staff RBS certified starting July 1st, 2022.

    Amtrack is California’s largest passenger train service, and although Amtrack is a national organization, its operations for alcohol service in California will fall under AB 1221 as there are many Amtrack lines that don’t travel outside the state.

    Caltrain is a local passenger train company that regularly services routes in Northern California between San Francisco and San Jose, and will be one of the handful of transportation companies that require their employees to be certified. Metrolink, similarly, will also be held to this mandate as it is another local railway that operates seven regional lines in Southern California, servicing routes that connect Los Angeles, Ventura, Antelope Valley, San Bernadino, Riverside, Orange County, and the Inland Empire.

    Caltrain and Metrolink are just a couple of examples of local California passenger trains that will have to adopt RBS training for their designated alcohol servers.

    Finding the Right Course

    There are state-approved training providers with programs designed to help individuals obtain certification, but these programs are not all made equal as some are more costly and time-consuming. The RBS training program offered by, is affordable, easy to use, and designed for individuals to learn at their own pace.

    Training course providers charge their own prices for the training, and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) charges a $3.00 fee for anyone taking the exam.

    Exempted Transportation Business

    Businesses under license types 54 and 55, On-Sale General Boat and On-Sale General Airplane, will be exempt from the RBS certification mandate. These licenses grant permission for the sale and service of beer, wine, and distilled spirits to passengers of a licensed boat or airplane.

    On-Premise License

    There are many different On-Premise or On-Sale license types in California because of the many different settings in which alcoholic beverages are served to customers. In total, there are 99 On-Sale license types in the state.

    The Future of RBS Certification for Transportation Businesses

    The Responsible Beverage Service Training Act was introduced by the ABC in 2017 to encourage the adoption of training practices to reduce alcohol-related harm in local communities. The Act first suggested that employees of businesses involved with the sale and service of alcoholic beverages, receive their RBS certification.

    Now in 2022, this certification will be mandatory for employees of almost every organization, establishment, or business in California with an ABC On-Premise license. This license allows the service of alcoholic beverages to customers to consume on the licensed premises.

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