Page images

traffic during the temporary shutdown of the 59th Street powerhouse.

On this basis the Commission has since been conducting a general investigation as to the possibilities of tie-lines between the power-houses of various public utility companies in the city, so that in the event of a shutdown of one or more of these, by speeding the others up, it might be possible to obtain current sufficient to fill the gap and supply the demand of all. As this investigation is highly technical in its nature and involves a thorough study of power-house equipment, it has not yet been concluded. Definite reports as to the possibilities are expected early in 1918,

Case No. 11^26Provisions as to Heating and Ventilation in Closed Cars.— This case was instituted in 1911 and resulted in the adoption of an order on April 26, 1912, in which provision was made that all closed cars in service for passenger transportation between October 15 and April 15 of any given year should be heated to a minimum of 40 degrees, except when accidents and other emergencies prevented.

In October, 1917, President Timothy S. Williams of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company applied to the Commission for a suspension of the heating order, stating that certain electric generating apparatus which the company had proposed to install for some time, had not been delivered and could not be delivered and installed for several months. Investigation by the Commission's engineers indicated that the company, without this additional apparatus, a thirty-thousand-watt generator, would be unable to manufacture sufficient current to operate its cars and heat them at the same time. Thereupon a number of hearings were held, at which the company's application was considered.

Officials of the company at the first hearing, held on November 14, 1917, stated that they were prepared to heat the cars "reasonably", adding, however, that they felt a great deal of heat was being wasted, resulting in a wastage of coal, inasmuch as the coal required to heat the cars on any one day when the temperature was at or below 40 degrees would amount to from 100 to 400 tons.

Suggestions were made by the company's officials that the Commission should suspend the heating order during night and morning rush hours, so that the company could provide for heating the cars for a period of half an hour or for such other time as might be necessary before placing the cars in service, all heat to remain turned off during the period of the rush hours. The theory was advanced that the cars, if sufficiently heated in advance of the rush-hour periods, would remain sufficiently warm to comply, substantially, with the Commission's order. The Commission was very gravely in doubt as to the practicability of the proposition put forth by the company and ordered a thorough investigation made. This investigation was in progress at the end of the year.

Case No. ISoJfLong Island Railroad Company Bate of Fare Charged between Flatbush and Railroad Avenues.Case No. 1588Long Island Railroad Company Rate of Fare Charged on Atlantic Division between East New York Station and Flatbush Avenue Station.— During ?day, 1917, the Commission received an. application from Ralph Peters, President of The Long Island Railroad Company, requesting the Commission formally to abrogate its final order in Case ISTo. 1354, adopted on June 2, 1911, and also applying for an abrogation of the fare agreement made by the railroad company in 1913, in Case ~No. 1588. The Commission's order in Case ]N"o. 1354 provided that the zone for which a five-cent fare should be charged on local trains on the Atlantic Avenue division should be extended from Warwick street to Railroad avenue, Brooklyn. The agreement in Case iSTo. 1588 provided that the company should issue and sell for $1.00 a twenty-trip strip ticket, good on all express trains on the Atlantic Avenue division between Flatbush avenue and East Xew York. The company, in its petition, stated that the fares provided for, as above, were "non-compensatory for the service rendered, unreasonably low, burdensome and confiscatory under existing conditions". The company requested permission to charge a ten-cent fare between Elatbush avenue and Railroad avenue and to eliminate the sale of the twenty-trip strip tickets.

The Commission adopted a rehearing order in the two cases above mentioned. Numerous hearings wrere held, attended by several individuals and representatives of organizations from the districts traversed by the division involved. Hearings were held on July 18 and July 20. Counsel later submitted briefs, and on August 16, 1917. the Commission adopted an order unanimously dismissing the application of the company and at the same time approved an opinion by Commissioner Travis IT. Whitney, setting forth the reasons for its action. It was shown in the opinion that the railroad company had attempted to prove that the proposed rate advances were for the purpose of increasing the revenue of the company. Commissioner Whitney held that the burden of proof rested upon the railroad company, but that it had failed to show that more compensation would be provided. He, therefore, recommended the dismissal of the application, and his position was sustained by the Commission.

Case No. 2097 Brooklyn Rapid Traoisit System (surface lines) Investigation as to Need for Additional Cars.— On January 10, 1917, the Commission adopted an order on motion of Commissioner Travis H. Whitney, directing the several companies operating the surface railroad lines of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit system to jmrchase or provide as rapidly as possible 250 new and large cars to sujDplement the 1,943 cars then operated by these companies. All of the cars were to be in service by January 10, 1918. The adoption of the order in this case followed a long investigation conducted by the Commission during the spring, summer and fall of 1916, resulting in the approval of an opinion prepared by Commissioner Whitney recommending that the company be directed to purchase cars to the number stated. The order thereupon adopted called for cars of the center-entrance type, having a. seating capacity of 58 passengers. Commissioner Whitney found, as a result of the testimony presented at the hearings, that insufficient equipment of the B. B. T. surface lines was apparently the partial cause of conditions of overcrowding and inadequate service in Brooklyn.

The companies were given until January 20, 1917, to notify the Commission whether the terms of the order were accepted and would be obeyed. The order also provided that within thirty days after the date of the order the companies should file with the Commission, for its approval, plans and specifications of the cars called for. On January 19, S. W. Huff, as Vice-President and in one case President of the surface line companies, formally notified the Commission that the several companies could not accept the order. The declinations were identical in text, stating, (1), that the order could not be observed and that it was impossible for the companies to comply with it; (2) that the order was ill-timed because of market and traffic conditions and was unreasonable; (3) that there was no justification or basis for it in the evidence produced before the Commission and no competent proof of all the facts necessary to be proved in order to justify the making of the order.

Following the receipt of these declinations, conferences were, held between representatives of the Commission and of the companies in the effort to reach an early adjustment of the matter. As a result, the Commission on February 8, 1917, adopted an amending order, changing some phases of its original order, first as to the types of cars to be provided, and second, extending the time in which all of the cars were to be in service to October 1, 1918, and giving the companies until April 10, 1917, to file plans and specifications and until February 18 to notify the Commission whether the order would be obeyed.

The companies later were given additional time, until February 28, in which to notify the Commission whether the order would be complied with. On February 27 the several companies submitted to the Commission a letter, in which they presented their objections to the order, but also stating that it would be accepted on behalf of the Brooklyn Heights Railroad Company, the Brooklyn, Queens County and Suburban Railroad Company and the Coney Island and Brooklyn Railroad Company, in the event that the Commission would accept an understanding and interpretation of the order as set forth by the companies. The Nassau Electric Railroad Company, the fourth one of the constituent companies, however, declined to accept the order under any condition, its officials holding, in general, that the company owned sufficient cars and that by the time the order was to go into effect the number of cars needed to furnish adequate service on the surface lines of the company would be greatly reduced through the relief provided to surface traffic conditions by the operation of new rapid transit lines, service on which was about to begin.

The conditions upon which, the aforementioned three companies agreed to accept the order were: First, that such of the cars as were to be provided by December 1, 1917, might, in the discretion of the companies, be trailer cars; second, that the companies would use all diligence to obtain cars by December 1, 1917, but could give no assurance or guarantee of having them in operation by that date; third, as to the remainder of the cars, to be in service by October 1, 1918, that the companies have the right to elect whether such cars should be trailer cars or motor cars or part trailer cars and part motor cars, and that the final date mentioned in the order, namely, October 1, 1918, should be regarded as suggestive only, the companies being granted the right to exercise reasonable discretion as to the time of placing orders for the ears, with a view to market conditions and not be required to order them at grossly abnormal prices. If the Commission failed to accept the companies' interpretation of the order, the companies would be unwilling to accept it and would request a rehearing.

On March 10, 1917, the Commission received word to the effect that although the companies had not then been advised as to whether the conditions set forth in the above-mentioned statement were satisfactory to the Commission, they were anxious tc to comply with the spirit of the order so far as possible", and therefore submitted plans as called for under the order with the exception of the jSTassau Company. On March 12 the Commission adopted a supplemental opinion by Commissioner Travis H. Whitney, stating that the Commission could not and would not accept the companies7 interpretation of the order and holding that, as the companies had already been derelict in their legal duty to render adequate service, the period in which they should take the necessary measures to comply with their legal duty could not be left to their ideas of "diligence and expedition" and ({reasonable discretion'7, especially as the companies proposed to interpret mandatory provisions in the order as "suggestive" only. He pointed out that the companies had been given a reasonable time in which to comply with the order, the dates themselves having been suggested by the representatives of the company. In fact, Commissioner Whitney held that the date of October 1, 191S, was much in excess of the time required to provide additional

« PreviousContinue »