It is hereby declared that the business of contract carriers by motor vehicle is affected with a public interest and that the safety and welfare of the public, the preservation and maintenance of the public highways, and the integrity of the regulation of common carriers require the regulation of contract carriers by motor vehicle to the extent herein provided.
No contract carrier by motor vehicle shall operate any motor vehicle for the transportation of either persons or property for hire on any public highway in this state except in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(a) Required; application; hearing; granting. — It shall be unlawful for any contract carrier by motor vehicle to operate within this state without first having obtained from the commission a permit. Upon the filing of an application for such permit, the commission shall fix a time and place for hearing thereon: Provided, That the commission may, after giving notice as hereinafter provided and if no protest is received, waive formal hearing on such application. Said notice shall be by publication which shall state that formal hearing may be waived in the absence of protest to such application. Such notice shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the area of operation. Such notice shall be published at least ten days prior to the date of hearing, but not more than thirty days after the filing of the completed application. After hearing or waiver of hearing as aforesaid, as the case may be, the commission shall grant or deny the permit prayed for or grant it for the partial exercise only of the privilege sought, and may attach to the exercise of the privilege granted by such permit such terms and conditions as in its judgment are proper and will carry out the purposes of this chapter. No permit shall be granted unless the applicant has established to the satisfaction of the commission that the privilege sought will not endanger the safety of the public or unduly interfere with the use of the highways or impair unduly the condition or unduly increase the maintenance cost of such highways, directly or indirectly, or impair the efficient public service of any authorized common carrier or common carriers adequately serving the same territory.
(b) Rules and regulations; evidence at hearing. — The commission shall prescribe such rules and regulations as it may deem proper for the enforcement of the provisions of this section and may designate any of its employees to take evidence at the hearing on any application for a permit and submit findings of fact as a part of report or reports to be made to the commission.
(c) Permit not franchise, etc.; assignment or transfer. — No permit issued in accordance with the terms of this chapter shall be construed to be either a franchise or irrevocable or to confer any proprietary or property rights in the use of the public highways. No permit issued under this chapter shall be assigned or otherwise transferred without the approval of the commission. Upon the death of a person holding a permit, his or her personal representative or representatives may operate under such permit while the same remains in force and effect and, with the consent of the commission, may transfer such permit.
(d) Suspension, revocation or amendment. — The commission may at any time, for good cause, suspend and, upon not less than fifteen days’ notice to the grantee of any permit and an opportunity to be heard, revoke or amend any permit.
(e) Notice of cessation or abandonment. — Every contract carrier by motor vehicle who shall cease operation or abandon his or her rights under a permit issued shall notify the commission within thirty days of such cessation or abandonment.
The commission is hereby vested with power and authority, and it shall be its duty, to supervise and regulate contract carriers by motor vehicle for the purpose of promoting safety of their operation as transportation agencies upon the highways; to regulate and supervise the accounts and method of keeping the same; to prescribe such rules and regulations as it may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter; and to supervise and regulate contract carriers by motor vehicle in all matters affecting the relationship between such carriers and the traveling and shipping public.
Every contract carrier by motor vehicle is hereby forbidden to give or cause any undue or unreasonable advantage or preference to those whom it serves as compared with the patrons of any common carrier by motor vehicle as that term is used in this chapter, or the patrons of any other common carrier, or to subject the patrons of any such common carriers to any undue or unreasonable discrimination or disadvantage; or by unfair competition to destroy or impair the service or business of any common carrier by motor vehicle, or of any other common carrier, or the integrity of the state's regulation of any such service or business; and, to the end that the said commission may enforce these provisions, each such contract carrier by motor vehicle shall maintain on file with the commission a statement of its charges, and of such other matters as the commission may require.
The commission is hereby vested with power and authority, and it is hereby made its duty, to prescribe rules and regulations covering the operations of contract carriers by motor vehicles in competition with common carriers of this state, and the commission shall prescribe minimum rates, fares, and charges to be collected by such contract carriers by motor vehicle, which shall not be less than the rates prescribed for common carriers by motor vehicles for substantially the same service.