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[ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.]
The Act authorizes the Commission, in its discretion and for good cause shown, to permit changes in tariff rates or fares on less than the statutory notice. It is believed that this authority should be exercised only in instances where special or peculiar circumstances or conditions fully justify it. Confusion and complication must follow indiscriminate exercise of this authority. Applications for permission to change tariffs on short notice are received in indefinite and informal ways and over the signatures of many different officials. Some telegraphic requests are received which make no mention of verified copies and which are not followed by verified copies, as per rule previously made by the Commission. The Commission therefore announces that applications for permission to change tariffs on less than statutory notice shall be addressed to the Interstate Commerce Commission, in form specified by the Commission under date of September 17, 1906, or such amended form as may be prescribed by the Commission, and must be over signature of the president, vice-president, general traffic manager, assistant general traffic manager, general freight agent, or general passenger agent, specifying title.
The Commission requests that as far as possible these applications be sent by mail and not by telegraph. Action will be taken only on receipt of the verified application.
Where full notice was given by competing carrier (issued September 29, 1906).— Desire to meet the rates or fares of a competing road or line which has given the full statutory notice of change in rates or fares will not of itself be regarded as good cause for allowing changes in rates or fares on a notice of less than thirty days.
Amendment of joint tariffs on less than statutory notice (issued March 18, 1907).— A request from one carrier, party to a joint tariff, for permission to amend such tariff on less than statutory notice necessarily raises some question of doubt as to the wishes or concurrence of other interested carriers also parties to the tariff. It is desirable and proper that any such permission given by the Commission should affect alike all parties to the tariff that is to be amended under it. The Commission therefore decides:
Applications by carrier or agent authorized to file the tariff. That when a carrier gives an agent authority to file tariff or tariffs and supplements thereto in its name, place, and stead, or concurrence in tariff or tariffs and supplements thereto which another carrier or its agent may file thereunder, the agent or carrier to whom such authority or concurrence is given has, under the terms of the authority or concurrence, the power and the right to request, in the name and on behalf of the carriers participating in such tariff or tariffs, permission to amend same on less than statutory notice.
Request must come from one who issues the tariff.-Such requests as to joint tariff must be made by the agent or the carrier that is authorized to file the tariff and in making them form same as that prescribed for use of individual carrier shall be used, except that the request must state that it is made in the name and on behalf of all carriers that are parties to the tariff, and that formal authority to file the tariff, or formal concurrence in the tariff, is on file with the Commission from each of such carriers.
Concurring carriers bound by act of authorized agent. Request will be signed and verified by the agent or officer who makes it, and every carrier that has, by formal authority or concurrence, made itself a party to such tariff will be held bound by the act of its agent under such authority or by its concurrence. This rule will, in so far as is possible, be applied to tariffs now on file, and will be effective in all cases as to freight tariffs from and after May 1, 1907, and as to passenger tariffs from and after June 1, 1907.
Permission to change rates or fares on short notice limited to emergency or necessity. This authority will be exercised only in cases where actual emergency and real merit are shown. Clerical or typographical errors in tariffs constitute good cause for the exercise of this authority, but every application based thereon must plainly specify the omissions or mistakes and be presented with reasonable promptness after issuance of the defective tariff.
59. Division of joint rates or fares-Contracts and agreements for must be filed (issued November 16, 1906).-A contract, agreement, or arrangement between com
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mon carriers governing the division between them of joint rates or fares on interstate business is a contract, agreement, or arrangement in relation to traffic within the meaning of section 6 of the Act to regulate commerce, and a copy thereof must be filed with the Commission. Where such contract, agreement, or arrangement is verbal or is contained in correspondence between the parties or rests on their custom and practice, a memorandum of its terms must be filed with the Commission. Answering many inquiries as to just what is desired under this rule, the Commission states that when the agreement or arrangement under which divisions are made is in the form of a contract or formal agreement or recorded memorandum a copy of each such contract, agreement, or memorandum is to be filed with the Commission. Where such arrangement is made by correspondence or verbally, a concise memorandum of the basis and general terms and application of the arrangement or practice is to be filed with the Commission. The filing of the division sheets themselves is not desired.
60. Diverting traffic because of blockades-Rates and fares (issued March 18, 1907).—Whenever, by reason of blockade upon the line of a carrier resulting from storm, washout, wreck, or similar casualty, it becomes necessary for it to divert to the line of another carrier passengers or freight that are in transit, the carrier so diverting its business should pay the carrier or carriers upon whose train such passengers or freight are carried regular tariff rates or fares from and to the points between which it or they transport such diverted traffic, except that if the carrier accepting such diverted traffic is participant in a joint tariff in which the diverting line is also a participant and under which the diverted traffic is being moved, settlement may be made on basis of the division of the through joint rate or fare.
Detoured or special trains, account of blockade.-If because of such blockade a carrier's train is detoured over the line of another carrier, or special train is arranged for movement of the interrupted traffic, the tariff rates or fare, if there be any for such movement, must be applied. In the absence of such tariff regulations compensation should be agreed upon.
This rule does not apply in cases of congested lines due to heavy traffic or ordinary
61. Equalizing rules or tariffs-Application of rates or fares in force on other lines unlawful (issued March 18, 1907). In the not distant past many carriers issued circulars or tariff rules which in effect and substance stated that that carrier would meet any rate or fare made by a competitor or share in any through rate or fare made by a connecting carrier for the purpose of meeting or protecting any rate or fare via another route or gateway. Those rules plainly intended and contemplated that rates or fares which were not found in that carrier's tariffs should be applied to traffic moving over its lines.
The law makes it clear that no carrier can lawfully apply to transportation over its lines any rate, fare, or charge that is not plainly stated in its own tariffs at that time, and that all such rules as are now referred to and all practices under such rules are unlawful.
62. Free transportation of passengers in connection with shipments of propertyWhen unlawful (issued November 6, 1906).-Section 1 of the act provides that free transportation may be furnished "to necessary caretakers of live stock, poultry and fruit." This provision in the statute is construed to mean necessary caretakers of live stock, poultry, or fruit that is loaded and ready for movement, or the movement of which is actually contracted for or that is actually in transit, and may include free or reduced fare transportation for the return of such necessary caretakers. This transportation may be in the form of free pass or reduced fare transportation, but in any event it must be the same for all under like circumstances and must be published in the tariff governing transportation of the commodity. Tariff may provide that caretaker sent out to return with shipment that is arranged for or that is in transit will be required to pay fare going and that such fare will be refunded if person so sent does return as actual caretaker of shipment for which he is sent. But a tariff rule which provides that if a person goes out over the line with the intention of purchasing live stock and returns within a certain time with a certain number of cars of live stock the carrier will refund to him the fare paid on outgoing trip is improper and unlawful.
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Includes vegetables.-The Commission is of the opinion that the term "fruit" in this connection includes perishable vegetables when shipped under conditions that render caretakers necessary.
63. Free passes and free transportation (issued October 12, 1906).—The provisions of the act relative to the issuance of free tickets, free passes, free transportation, or free carriage to employees of carriers apply only to persons who are actually in the service of the carriers and who devote substantially all of their time to the work or business of such carriers. Land and immigration agents, unless they are bona fide and actual employees, representatives of correspondence schools, agents of accident or life insurance companies, agents of oil or lubricating companies, etc., are not within the classes to which free or reduced fare transportation can be lawfully furnished.
Business or duty of the carrier.-But the Commission does not construe the law as preventing a carrier from giving necessary free transportation to a person traveling over its line solely for the purpose of attending to the business of or performing a duty imposed upon the carrier, nor from giving free carriage over its line to the household and personal effects of an employee who is required to remove from one place to another at the instance of or in the interest of the carrier by which he is employed.
Contract work on carrier's own line.-Nor does the Commission construe the law as preventing a carrier from giving free or reduced-rate carriage over its line to contractors for material, supplies, and men for use in construction, improvement, or renewal work on the line of that carrier, provided such arrangements for free or reduced-rate carriage are made a part of the specifications upon which the contract is based and of the contract itself.
Ministers of religion-Their families-Government officials and families.-The provisions of the act relative to the issuance of free or reduced fare transportation to ministers of religion do not apply to or include members of the families of ministers of religion. Neither do the provisions of the act relative to the issuance of free or reduced fare transportation admit of including therein officers of the Government, the Army, or the Navy, or members of their families, or other persons to whom such considerations may have been extended in the past, unless they are within the classes specifically named in the act.
Reduced rate or fare transportation.-Reduced rate or fare transportation may be granted to such persons as are specified in the law as those to whom free transportation may be given.
Granting reduced rates or fares without providing tariff for same.-Section 22 of the act authorizes carriers to grant free or reduced rate transportation of property for the United States, State, or municipal governments, or for charitable purposes or for exhibition at fairs and expositions. It also authorizes free or reduced fare transportation of certain specified persons. This special provision and the words "reduced rates' are construed to be special authority for carriers to depart from established tariff rates or fares; and for such transportation as is provided for in said section 22 it is not necessary for carriers to provide tariffs or observe tariff rates or fares and regulations excepting in the issuance, sale, and use of mileage, excursion, or commutation passenger tickets, and joint interchangeable mileage tickets. As to these the provisions of section 6 with regard to publishing, filing, posting, and observing tariffs must be complied with.
Reduction may not be made through a third party.-Reduced rates or fares may be granted to the United States, State, or municipal governments only in instances in which the transaction is directly between the carrier and such government and may not include those in which a contractor or other third person or party is interested. 64. Transportation of men or property for telegraph companies-Exception (issued June 3, 1907).—In its decision on the petition of the Western Union and Postal Telegraph companies, issued December 27, 1906, the Commission held it would be unlawful for a carrier subject to the act to contract or stipulate with a telegraph company for the carriage of its officials, employees, or property for any greater or less or different compensation than that specified in the regularly published tariffs in effect at the time, except in connection with the construction, operation, and maintenance of telegraph line and service on its own line. It was held that a
[ADMINISTRATIVE RULINGS AND OPINIONS.]
group of separately incorporated roads, recognized as a "railway system," may be considered as one in the making of contracts for telegraph service on that system. This definitely differentiates between the employees of the telegraph company who are actually engaged in constructing and maintaining a telegraph line along the line of a railway, or in operating such telegraph line as a part of the actual operation of that railway, and those who are engaged in the commercial business of the telegraph company. The fact that railway officials may, by use of D. H. franks, send messages on railway business from or receive such messages at a commercial office of a telegraph company does not constitute that office a part of the operation of any of the lines of railway which such officials represent, nor bring that telegraph office into such relationship with the business of the railways as to warrant treating it as part of the operating facilities of such railways. Practically all telegraphing so done is "off the line" business and is to be considered as commercial business. The same distinction is to be observed in the hauling of materials and supplies for telegraph companies with which the railway company has contract for telegraphic service.
File copies of contracts-(Effective November 15, 1907).-This rule applies also to telephone service, and carriers that have not already done so are hereby requested and called upon to promptly file with the Commission copies of all contracts for telegraph or telephone service on their lines.
65. Transportation of newspaper employees on special newspaper trains. In its decision of January 21, 1907, on the petition of certain newspapers in New York City, the Commission decided that a commodity rate may not be applied to the transportation of passengers or a passenger fare to the transportation of a commodity, and that therefore employees of the newspapers riding on special newspaper trains can not lawfully be transported under a commodity rate established for the carriage of newspapers or at any rate other than the one specified in the regularly published schedule of passenger fares.
66. Free transportation of officers or employees of omnibus or baggage express companies Exception. In its decision of March 25, 1907, on the petition of the Frank Parmelee Company, the Commission held that a carrier subject to the act can not lawfully give free transportation to officers, agents, or employees of an omnibus or baggage express company, except, as authorized in the act, for baggage agents who meet passenger trains at some point near the larger cities and go through the trains to arrange for transfer of passengers and their baggage.
67. Payment for transportation (issued September 15, 1906).-Nothing but money can be lawfully received or accepted in payment for transportation subject to the Act, whether of passengers or property, or for any service in connection therewith, it being the opinion of the Commission that the prohibition against charging or collecting a greater or less or different compensation than the established rates or fares in effect at the time precludes the acceptance of services, property, or other payment in lieu of the amount of money specified in the published schedules.
68. Party fare tickets (issued September 29, 1906).-The tariffs and regulations governing the issuance and use of party fare tickets, together with the rules relating to the allowance of free baggage to persons using such tickets, must be regu larly filed and published. The privileges so extended must not be limited to any particular class or classes of persons, but must be open to all. Regulations governing issuance and use of party fare tickets must not be such as will operate to evade or nullify any provision of the law. The Commission suggests that the rules should provide that the party shall travel on one ticket and consist of not less than ten persons.
(Issued November 15, 1907.) Carriers may provide in their tariffs as follows: "When a party of ten (10) or more persons are traveling on a party fare ticket and require the exclusive use of a baggage car, and such baggage car is not forwarded upon the same train which bears the passengers, and where it is necessary that one or more men of the party shall accompany the baggage car, a separate ticket may be issued for the use of such men as members of the party, provided such ticket is indorsed as a part of such party fare ticket and for, and limited to, the train upon which the baggage car is hauled.''
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It is not, however, lawful or permissible to permit person or persons to go in advance of or to follow the party as passengers and be computed as a part of the party or as entitled to the party fare. All tariff provisions to such effect are unlawful and must be withdrawn at once.
69. Transportation of circus outfits-Rates effective one day after filing with Commission (issued March 18, 1907).-The Act to regulate commerce, as amended June 29, 1906, applies to the transportation of circuses and other show outfits, but the Commission recognizes the peculiar nature of this traffic and the difficulty of estab lishing rates thereon in advance of shippers' request describing the character and volume of the traffic offered, and has therefore entered a general order authorizing carriers to establish rates on circuses and other show outfits by tariff, to become effective one day after filing thereof with the Commission, and relieving them from the duty of posting such tariffs in their stations. Such tariff may consist of a proper title-page reading "as per copy of contract attached," and to it may be attached a copy of the contract under which the circus is moved. As far as practicable general rules or regulations governing the fixing of such rates should be regularly published and filed.
70. Routing and misrouting freight (issued March 18, 1907).-Alleged neglects or errors on part of agents of carriers in misrouting shipments lead to numerous claims of overcharge, many of which are meritorious. The lawful charge on any shipment is the tariff rate via the route over which the shipment moves. No carrier can lawfully refund any part of the lawful charge except under authority so to do from the Commission or from a court of competent jurisdiction. That thorough understanding and uniform practice may be had in this connection, the Commission issues the following administrative ruling:
Shipper may direct terminal routing or delivery and choose between available allrail and rail-and-water routes-Shipper may not be subjected to more expensive route or to inferior route.-In order to secure desired delivery to industries, plants, or warehouses and avoid unnecessary terminal or switching charges, the shipper may direct as to terminal routing or delivery of shipments which are to go beyond the lines of the initial carrier; and his instructions as to such terminal delivery must be observed in routing and billing such shipments. The carriers may not disregard the instructions of shippers as to intermediate routing, except when tariff of initial line reserves the right to carrier to dictate intermediate routing. When such reservation is made in tariff, (1) where all-rail rates and rail-and-water rates are available the agent of carrier must have the shipper designate which of the two he wishes to use; and (2) the agent must not route shipment via a route that will be more expensive to the shipper than the one desired by him, or that does not furnish substantially as good and expeditious service. If carrier is not willing to observe the intermediate routing instructions of shipper it must not execute bill of lading containing such routing. Carriers will be held responsible for routing shown in bill of lading.
Of designated class of routes-all rail or rail and water-shipper is entitled to cheapest route in absence of specific instruction-Use of car confined to particular line Correct quotation of rates and routings. In the absence of specific through routing by shipper, which carrier is willing to observe, it is the duty of the agent of the carrier to route shipment via the cheapest reasonable route known to him of the class designated by the shipper-that is, all-rail or rail-and-water-and via which he has rates which he can lawfully use. If a foreign car is available which under rules as to car service must be sent via a particular line or route over which a higher rate obtains, agent must explain to shipper that fact and allow shipper to elect whether he will use that car at the higher rate or wait for another car. If shipper elects to use the car at the higher rate, agent should so note on bill of lading. If agent is in doubt, he should secure information from proper officers of traffic department. It is important that agents at initial points be able to, and that they do, quote correct rates and give correct routings.
Refund of overcharge caused by misrouting through error of carrier's agent— Authority to adjust overcharges does not extend to cases in which soliciting or commercial agents induce shippers to route via more expensive line. If a carrier's agent misroutes a shipment and thus causes extra expense to the shipper over and above