Section 4. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the commonwealth that the business of contract carriage is affected with the public interest and that the safety and welfare of the public upon the ways within the commonwealth, the preservation and maintenance of said ways and the proper regulation of common carriers using the same require the regulation of contract carriers to the extent provided in this chapter.
No person shall engage in the business of a contract carrier by motor vehicle upon any way unless there is in effect with respect to said carrier a permit issued by the department authorizing him to transport property within the limits set forth in such permit.
Such a permit shall be issued only after notice and a hearing, which hearing shall be held in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided in paragraph (b) of section three for hearings on applications for common carrier certificates. Each application for such a permit shall be made in the same manner as is provided in paragraph (a) of said section three for applications for certificates, and shall be accompanied by a fee, the amount of which shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven for the filing thereof.
If upon the hearing of any application for a permit as contract carrier by motor vehicle it is found that the applicant is fit, willing and able properly to perform the service proposed, and that the proposed operation to the extent authorized by the permit will be consistent with the public interest, the safety and welfare of the public upon the ways within the commonwealth and the preservation and maintenance of said ways and the proper regulation of common carriers using the same, such permit shall be issued; otherwise, such application shall be denied.
Such permits shall be in a form prescribed by the department and may be issued for the partial exercise only of the privilege sought. The department may specify in the permit the operations covered thereby, including the name of each shipper which the carrier is authorized to serve and, if so limited, the carrier may not serve any shipper not so specified except with the approval of the department in accordance with such reasonable rules and regulations as the department may from time to time establish. At the time of issuance and from time to time thereafter the department may attach to the permit such terms and conditions, not inconsistent with the status of the holder as a contract carrier, as the public interest may require; provided, that no terms, conditions or limitations shall restrict the right of the carrier to substitute or add contracts within the scope of his permit, or to add to his equipment and facilities over the routes, between the termini, or within the territory, specified in the permit, as the development of his business and the demands of the public shall require.
Any contract carrier by motor vehicle, who, during any period of not less than one year since the first day of July, nineteen hundred and fifty-one, fails or has failed to render any part of the service authorized by his permit, except for the reason that the ways over which he must operate are impassable because of floods, conditions of the highway or for other reasonable causes, shall be deemed to have abandoned that part of the service authorized by his permit, and if, after a hearing, the department finds that such carrier has so failed to render service in accordance with his permit, and not for any reason set forth in the foregoing exceptions, his rights thereto, to the extent of his failure to render service, shall be forfeited and the department shall reissue his permit subject to the resulting limitations.