NE Public Service Commission, open class carriers.

Nebraska case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: NE Public Service Commission, open class carriers.

In re Petition of Golden Plains Servs. Transp.. NE Public Service Commission, open class carriers.

The petitioner in this Nebraska case was an "open class" passenger carrier operating under 291 Neb. Admin. Code, ch. 3, section 010.01C. The Nebraska Public Service Commission learned that the petitioner might have been operating "on a taxi basis" and informed them that they must cease doing so. The Commission then made an order releasing its interpretation of the rule, and ordered that open class carriers must provide only prearranged transportation, and not on-demand transportation services. The petitioner then appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The court noted that a rule is to be treated like a statute and given its plain and ordinary meaning. It is open to construction only when the language is ambiguous. The court then examined the regulation governing "open class" carriers, and found that it has three elements: Passengers are carried for hire, the transportation is along the most direct route as decided by the person hiring the vehicle and not over a defined route, and at a mileage-based or per trip fare.

The Supreme Court decided that this language did not permit the addition of another requirement that the transportation be prearranged. For this reason, it vacated the Commission's order.

297 Neb. 105 (June 30, 2017).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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