Alabama for-hire carriers may get paperwork relief

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The Alabama Public Service Commission has approved a task force to look into reducing the amount of paperwork that for-hire motor carriers, such as charter bus and shuttle firms, are required to submit to the agency each year. For-hire carrier companies, which also include limousine, medical transport and some taxi services, must complete the Motor Carrier Annual Report, which asks for information from financial statements to travel logs.

PSC spokesman Clark Bruner told the Associated Press that officials from the departments of Transportation and Public Safety will join the commission on the task force and work to streamline the current information gathering process. Information that’s found to be unnecessary will stop being collected, but he said the group also might begin requesting new information if they find it’s needed. Bruner said the task force plans to have a report with any proposed changes ready to submit to the commission by the end of the year.

“It’s just taking a look and refining the types of information with an eye to certainly reducing the paperwork burden on the carriers if possible,” Bruner told the AP. Officials realized what a “tremendous” amount of information companies were dealing with when the commission began looking into transferring submitted reports to an electronic format, Bruner said.

Ford Boswell, spokesman for the Alabama Trucking Association, said having less paperwork to deal with would be a welcome blessing for most companies, especially smaller ones. “This sounds like it will be great for the guy who throws down his own credit card for gas — the guy whose wife does the bookkeeping,” Boswell told the AP. “A lot of times the smaller companies don’t have the resources to spend trying to wade through all that paperwork.”