Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

A Lifeline for the Lifeline

 

August 1, 2017 | View PDF



A lot of songs, movies, and television shows have been about the trucking industry. That is because, as Merle Haggard sang in his hit song “Movin’ On,” “the white line is the lifeline to the nation.” Our economy would crumble if truck and taxi companies were not moving goods and people over our roads. A lot of people may not know that the Alabama Public Service Commission (PSC) helps those companies that help Alabama’s economy and people.

One way the PSC supports the safety of those travelling on Alabama roads is by keeping records that show that intrastate carriers maintain proper insurance. Transportation companies that operate only in Alabama must prove to the PSC that they have enough insurance. Making sure that these companies are sufficiently insured gives everyone peace of mind.

Household goods movers also have to file tariffs with the PSC. The PSC then makes sure that the companies are following those rates by conducting audits. If an audit reveals that a company has charged a customer too much money, the PSC will order them to refund it. Not only does the PSC regulate trucking companies, we also supervise taxis and companies who drive patients to a non-emergency medical appointment. The PSC doesn’t regulate all taxi companies, just the ones that move people from one city to another. For example, if a taxi company drives people only in the city of Montgomery, the PSC does not oversee it. If, however, a taxi company drives people from Montgomery to Birmingham, the PSC would oversee it. The medical transport companies we oversee take people to their doctors. Many may not be aware of this service but it is a wonderful asset for those who do not have the ability to drive themselves and don’t have friends or family members who can drive them to their doctors’ offices. Thankfully, there are companies who are there to help them make their appointments.

Sometimes a transportation company will challenge another company’s right to operate in a certain area. When that happens, our legal division conducts a hearing that is a lot like a trial. An Administrative Law Judge or hearing officer will preside over the hearing, witnesses will testify under oath, and evidence is presented. Staff who work on transportation issues usually attend these hearings. After the hearing, the judge or officer will decide whether to recommend that the company be allowed to operate. I, and my fellow commissioners, will then vote on whether to accept that recommendation.

I recognize that “the white line is the lifeline to the nation” and more importantly, to our great state of Alabama. I am proud of what the PSC does for the transportation industry in Alabama and to serve with those who also recognize the importance of the transportation industry within our state. Because I recognize how important the transportation sector is to Alabama, I will continue to work on behalf of those who move goods and people across our roads.

 

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