A common carrier is a person or a commercial enterprise that transports passengers or goods for a fee and establishes that their service is open to the general public. Typical examples of common carriers include, a shipowner, railroad, airline, taxi service, etc. A private carrier, on the other hand, is a person or a commercial enterprise that only agrees in particular circumstances to transport passengers or goods. Private carriers differ from common carriers because they don’t establish that their service is open to the general public. In other words, private carriers enter into a contract with each customer without the assumption that a similar contract will be available to the next customer.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]