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What is The California Double Drive Time Fee and Why do Moving Companies Charge It?

The double drive time fee (DDT) comes from a Double Drive Time Law that was passed by California Public Utilities Commission. The law was passed to protect the customers from significant overcharges due to transportation. California Public Utilities Commission wanted to protect the customers from paying high prices to a moving company so they can cover their expenses related to commuting between their facilities and customers’ origin location, and from customers’ destination address back to the company’s headquarters/parking lots.

A lot of people are having difficulties understanding what this fee actually means. Yes, it might sound complicated when some agent says “we will be adding the DDT onto your bill for transportation”. Be prepared to ask the right question: “What is the DDT fee?”


Before we go into explaining all about the DDT fee itself, let’s mention the terms that you will need in order to better understand the meaning of what follows.


person handing out the key

Origin is the actual place where the move will start happening. The place of the departure. It is your apartment that you are moving to, a house, your storage unit, your room in a student dorm, etc. This is the place where the moving truck will pick up your belongings.


couple standing in front of their house

The destination is the place where the actual moving part will end. It is your new living space. An apartment or a house where you will be moving into. The address where the moving company is meant to deliver your belongings. Quite often it is called a delivery place as well. 


The warehouse is the facility where your future/current movers are headquartered. It doesn’t matter If they are movers Long Beach or some other area, this is the spot from which your laborers and truck will arrive. The place where they are keeping and maintaining their trucks and equipment. This is a placefrom where the truck will be sent to the origin location, and where it will go from your delivery location


Now that we sorted out the terms that you will need to comprehend the fee, let’s circle back on what that actually is. Double Drive Time is actually the time that is needed for the truck to arrive from origin to destination address, and back to the origin. The moving company will measure the time that is needed between these two locations and then double it, so they can cover the cost of their truck coming back to the warehouse (their facility).


For example, If the time spent driving was 15 minutes, they will double it, and you will be looking at an additional 15 minutes charge on top of your final balance/hours/bill, depending on how they are charging. 

double drive time chart


Before the California Public Utilities Commission established it, moving companies were taking all types of jobs. Even when the origin wasn’t even close to their location. Imagine that movers Long Beach took a job in the San Bernardino, Riverside area. That’s almost 75 miles away, depending on the route that you take. 

Believe it or not, that happened quite often. And why? Because they weren’t charging only the driving time between customers’ pick up and delivery location. What they did is start the clock at their facility and charge the client for the whole round trip: Warehouse- origin-destination- warehouse.

This doesn’t sound like a fair deal to anyone but the company in question. Customers were looking for affordable movers, got lured into their service by offering low hourly rates, and then charging them a good amount of transportation. If you are moving within Long Beach and you’re hiring movers in Long Beach, this wouldn’t be a huge problem because it is a local move and the driving time, even If they start charging at their facility, isn’t that much. But, If there is a larger distance between origin and destination, the charge is large as well.

That’s why the Double Drive Time law was passed. To help the customers to find budget movers. Instead of charging the client for the whole round trip, they were allowed only to double the ACTUAL driving time. The one that they need to transport the items between customer’s pick up and delivery address. 

Like mentioned, If they need 30 minutes commuting, they will charge for one hour instead. But they can’t charge for them coming to the origin location additionally, nor going back from the destination. Anything outside this range isn’t allowed by California Double Drive Time Law.


By now we have learned that all rules have their exceptions. Like grammar. That simple. So, let’s talk about the exceptions related to the Double Drive Time Fee.

According to Maximum Rate Tariffs 4 there are three exceptions to this rule,


When the carrier is required to perform more than one trip between origin and destination, the time used shall be the total of loading and unloading time, to which will be added double driving time for the first trip from origin to destination and actual driving time for all additional trips between origin and destination for each motor vehicle furnished by the carrier.” – Maximum Rate Tariff 4


“When two or more shipments are transported on a unit of equipment at the same time, the time used shall be the total of loading and unloading time plus 25 minutes total driving time for each shipment.”  – Maximum Rate Tariff 4


When split pickup, split delivery or split pickup and split delivery in combination is performed, the time used shall be computed in accordance with the provisions of Items 148, 152, or 156, respectively.” – Maximum Rate Tariff 4

These are the exceptions that are mentioned by Maximum Rate Tariff 4, but in practice, they are not that used. If your move falls under some of these exceptions, talk to your agent and get them to explain how they will charge you. Maybe you can get some agreement of mutual benefit! And let’s get back to “people’s language”. No more bills or tariffs!


DDT is not the only fee when we are talking about travel time and your move. There are many that you should be familiar with so you can know the difference between them and the DDT. Let’s mention the usual ones, the most frequent ones.


car refill transportation gas

A fuel fee is usually a flat fee that covers the fuel for your move. Some companies charge it, some don’t. When you reach out to get a quote, be sure to ask if the price includes the fuel or that comes like an additional fee. Sometimes that’s the part that is taken out and you can only see it on the final receipt.

What the amount for the fuel fee is completely up to the moving company. 

Opposed to the Double Drive Time Fee, where you know that you will multiply the driving time by 2 and that will be your transportation charge.


man in white shirt

Moving companies frequently charge for this “service fee” and they don’t explain it in the best way. That’s because they’re not even sure for what exactly they’re charging you with this. It’s either a fuel fee, just named differently, or an additional charge for them to come to your pick-up location and go back from your new place.

Don’t confuse these with the DDT. They are similar, but the Double Drive Time Fee is the only one that is time-related. 


question mark

1. Is the drive time rounded? 

It depends! Usually, it is because it is difficult to calculate time and the amounts If it’s not rounded. Most moving companies are rounding it to the nearest 15 minutes. 

For example, If they spent 39 minutes driving, they would round it to 45 minutes. After that, they will multiply it by two. In the end, you will pay for 90 minutes. 

Some companies are rounding it to 30 minutes, so don’t forget to ask!

2. If I’m paying for Double Drive Time, do I need to pay for the fuel as well?

It is possible. Even though the company charges for the DDT, they hold the right to charge for other fees, flat or not. 

Usually, If the Double Drive Time Fee is applied, there are no additional charges for the fuel, gas, mileage, or travel. This is the usual case scenario. But, again, every rule has its exceptions.

The only way for you to find this out will be to ask! Make an inquiry, send an email, or give them a call. 

3. What happens If the truck and movers are stuck in traffic? 

Well, If they are stuck you are still paying for that time. Unfortunately, moving companies are not taking into consideration traffic jams when the clients are complaining and asking for reimbursement, discounts, etc. 

It is not their fault that the traffic is bad, neither is yours! So, while making a reservation, consider the time of the day as well. The Long Beach area can be bad sometimes in the afternoon. Try to avoid it If it’s possible. The best time for a move that occurs not only under DDT circumstances but every other as well, is in the morning. 

Even If you are just paying for the hourly rate, it’s better to pay for the real driving time versus the driving time that includes heavy traffic.

3. Do I pay for the break that movers take between the origin and destination?

One very good question!

If you are trying to find professional Long Beach movers that are not taking a break- you will search forever. It is better for them If they take it, and it’s the best thing for you too. Imagine If you had those people working and physically lifting heavy furniture for hours without a break. Their efficiency would deteriorate. 

Usually, when the break is happening, the foreman of the crew is stopping the clock and you’re not paying for the break.

If the break happens during the travel time, the same applies. But, who can control how long the break was and how long they actually spent driving. Exactly, no one. They can tell you that they took a wrong turn, or that they got stuck in traffic, etc. 

So, you will have to believe them in this case. Not every break is accounted for, clockwise. 


man looking at white printer papers on wall

So many bits of information! But, If you read carefully, you probably came to a conclusion rather than staying in confusion! 

All of these explanations are about rules and their exceptions, rather than mentions of the exceptions. Even If we wrote about them only, an encyclopedia wouldn’t be enough. That’s why you need to contact the moving company and ask them everything that interests you, in case they are adding the Double Drive Time Fee. We’re not going to reveal If we are charging it or not! Call your Long Beach Movers and find out for yourself!