For PAMSP Instructors wondering, WTF is going on with the Progam…

It appears, for the most part, PAMSP Instructors will teach anything, anywhere, anytime until they either don’t want to or can no longer do it.

They aren’t very activist, don’t make a lot of waves, won’t be showing up at your house with motorcycles and pitchforks, and don’t always like reading long posts – but when they do have questions, they ask a boatload of them.

Most frequent question to

“WTF is going on in 2020 and 2021”.

The 2020 PAMSP Contract is cancelled, right?

Yes. The PAMSP Administrative contract held by Total Control was canceled, by PennDOT, for convenience in April 2020,
a. This is PennDOT canceling the contract because they wanted to, not because TCTI “did” anything wrong
b. It wasn’t “because” of COVID. PAMSP Operations had already been suspended due to COVID, then PennDOT suspended the entire contract before canceling it ~3 weeks later. A Surprise to all Instructors expecting to restart at some point in 2020/2021 & who were summarily fired in April of 2020.

In canceling the contract PennDOT violated 2 Statues requiring that they train 18yr olds and offer PAMSP training from the license & permit fees they collect from PA riders (Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. Chapter 79).


What about under 18 riders required to take and complete a PAMSP Basic Rider Course?

In order to get around the under 18 problem, PennDOT created their own “web-only” under 18 “training” class in order to provide minors with zero physical training – but a waiver to get their M class license.

PennDOT’s PAMSP problem #1, “solved”.

What about PAMSP not offering any classes in 2020?

In order to get around the whole “no training in 2020” thing while still collecting funding from PA riders (which could have easily been resumed under the old contract or an updated 2020/2021 2yr contact as sites were waiting and Instructors were ready), PennDOT put out an “Emergency” Request for Proposal – RFP – (3520R01).

The Emergency RFP allows “any” vendor with “any” curriculum to make bids on “any” current PAMSP (or any other) site in PA. This is what PennDOT is calling a “3rd party model”.

Bids were due August 31st, (extended to September 18th), awarded on a first-come, first-served basis with training due to start on September 30th-ish with a Contract end date of 12/31/2020.

Yep, that’s right – a month-ish of training with whatever curriculum your site was assigned by PennDOT.

PennDOT’s PAMSP problem #1 & #2, “solved”.

What about the “money” collected from permits and licenses?

Oh, that’s easy: PennDOT is still collecting it.

They’re also still spending it – on their “under 18” self-made web classes and via the 2020 Contact award. Crisis averted!

Time to audit PAMSP?
Funny you should ask, see the article here.

What about 2021, surely we’re going back to the old system, right?


Think of the 2020 “Emergency” RFP as a pilot for 2021.

For 2021 PennDOT has released a new (not publicly available) RFP, 3520R02, that looks nearly identical to the 2020 Emergency RFP.

What does that mean?

Any vendor, with any curriculum, at any site – the continuation of the “3rd party model”.

The 2021 contracts are awarded for an initial 2 year period with up to (3) 12-month extensions determined by PennDOT.

Yes, that means that not only can any vendor be awarded any site with any curriculum but they can be replaced every 2 years. Musical Providers…

The 2020 emergency site awards will be the same as 2021, right?

Nope – the 2020 Emergency contract ends on 12/31/2020 – the 2021 contract is totally separate.

Wait and see folks – you’ll have no idea what is being taught where by what Company until the Bids are awarded, sometime after September 17th.

What about Instructor Certifications?

If PennDOT is picking winners and losers you’ll have to wait to see what company is teaching at what sites – and what curriculum they are bringing with them.

If your favorite site is teaching something you’re not certified in?
Buckle up for Instructor training all over again – you’ll need it to be able to teach.

What if your site only lasts for 2 years with the current provider? Hope they teach the same curriculum, that they teach a curriculum you’re already certified for or prepare to be certified yet again!

Oh, and you’ll need to work to retain all of the certifications you have, to teach at all of the sites you want to teach at… and at all times retain a “Third-Party Motorcycle Safety Instructor” certification from the Commonwealth (PennDOT).

What about hiring paperwork, etc?

You’ll need to fill it out for every location you want to work at, vendor dependent.

With at least 3 different companies, not including private land-owners who may run their own programs at their sites, and at least 2 different curricula if you want to teach you’ll need to be hired first and fill out the employment paperwork – for each vendor.

You’ll potentially be working for multiple companies, getting a few different W2, have to communicate with multiple administrators.

For all of those who complained that the PennDOT paperwork from the last few years was onerous… welcome to 2021.

Plus, before you can train in PA you must now take a PennDOT training session as a requirement.

Wait, what about Range painting and Bikes?

Oh, if your site was awarded a vendor teaching new curriculum in 2020 it will have to be repainted.

And maybe again in 2021… if it is awarded to someone else.

The bikes?

They were abandoned in their sheds after all of the staff (including the mechanics) were fired, later brought back to the central PAMSP warehouse where they have sat until now. PennDOT is tying to find ones that will now run after the carbureted bikes have sat… and we all know how that goes.

What about Program student helmets?

BYO, baby.

The Program will not be loaning out helmets for 2020, likely not loaning helmets in 2021 but we’ll need to wait and see.

Will that prevent students from taking the classes?

What about Beginner Students going to different sites?

As we know not all students seeking licensure are successful their first time – not just novice beginner students, but also those returning riders who don’t yet have their M Class license.

PAMSP currently offers (2) ways for a rider to get their full M Class license – via the 4-day Beginner Rider Classes and via the (1) day Intermediate Rider Classes.

It is not unusual for a student who has failed to try to retake the class and in PA they had ~70 sites to choose from.

In 2021 who knows how many site choices they will have – but what they won’t know until they arrive is that the curriculum they were just learning at one site may not be the same as the second site they are traveling too…

Is there a “PA State Coordinator”?

No. With PennDOT, there is a Program Manager who is responsible for PAMSP overall, that staffing is not included in the RFP (that is all Commonwealth back-office staff). This position is a PennDOT position that has “always” existed.

Each Training Company is a separate entity with each site potentially awarded on a vendor by vendor basis. Think of the sites as franchises.

Under past contracts, such as the 2017 RFP (3516R09) PennDOT mandated minimum staffing requirements the Offeror (Training Provider) must provide and/or relocate: Full Time Project Manager, Assistant Project Manager, (3) Regional Managers, Community Relations Manager; as well as a Quality Assurance Manager, Training Coordinator, Site Coordinators and ‘any other appropriate staff; and the “appropriate number” or Admin office staff, Customer Service Representatives (CSR) & state certified motorcycle mechanics. That is a of overhead, and the “Project Manager” from the Offeror was typically what was known as the PA State Coordinator.

Currently, under the 2020 emergency contract the only staffing that is required from the Training Provider is (1) Site Administrator [SA] and (2) Certified Instructors (one of which can be the SA for each site. There is no central administration (other than what PennDOT will now provide) and so no single person, from an Offeror perspective, that will run the “Program” at a Commonwealth level – not even perhaps regionally or locally.

While the Training Provider is responsible for all overhead they incur, and cost is 30% of the 2021 Contract award, if they want to assume the additional overhead of paying a “State Coordinator” that will be entirely up to them but no, there is no PA State Coordinator as it’s been known as in the past.

What about PDW?

This is a requirement of most certifying organizations and will be up to each vendor to arrange, fund and implement.

As this is a requirement if you are certified in one or more curricula you may have to attend more than one PDW…

Can Instructors teach anywhere in the Commonwealth?

Only if you meet all of the PennDOT & Training Curriculum provider certification requirements AND a 3rd party Training Provider wishes to hire you.

So you could, but not without an untold number of Administrative boundaries – which could exist at two sites across the street from each other.

How is this happening – aren’t Motorcycle Rights groups and the Legislature involved?

How is this happening?
Easily: PennDOT wants to do it – and they run the Program, are the sole certifier for motorcyclist training in PA.

Aren’t Rights groups & Lawmakers involved?

What about the legislation being proposed from western PA to “force” PAMSP to adopt the old 2017 contract?

Nice thought, too late. Developed by Jim Marshall, a PA State Rep from the 14th district, stalled by a PA-based group, rendered moot once PennDOT released under 18 and “emergency” 2020 training.

What if I have any other questions?

PA Motorcyclist receives a lot of questions as well as a number of suggestions for blog posts.

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If you have ANY suggestions, comments, feedback, or questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at

We try to answer every question as completely as possible, sometimes combining multiple questions into a single blog post.

Safe riding, folks!
PA Moto

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