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CONFERENCE RULINGS OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE
Issued July 9, 1908.
[Index to Conference Rulings, See Post, Page 806.]
These rulings have been made by the Commission in conference, on the dates indicated, upon questions raised or submitted in correspondence.
April 14, 1908.
62. Boats that are not common carriers.-Certain carriers have been in the habit of advancing the charges of sailing vessels, boats, and barges bringing vegetables to their terminals to be forwarded to interstate destinations, and of entering the amount on waybills as charges in addition to their tariff rates. Upon inquiry whether the carriers may lawfully continue this practice it was held that if the boats are common carriers, making regular trips and offering their services to the general public, they must file tariffs and the practice must be discontinued until they do so.
63. Servants may not use free passes.-The word family, as used in the anti-pass provision of the Act, does not include servants. (See No. 93.)
64. Absorption of switching charges.-The tariff of a carrier provided for the absorption of switching charges. Upon inquiry it was agreed that the Commission could not sanction a practice under which switching charges are paid by the consignee, the carrier deducting the amount of the switching charges from the published rates and collecting the balance from the consignee. In all cases the carrier must collect the full tariff rates. Where its tariffs provide for absorptions of switching charges the carrier must pay the switching company for its services and not leave that to be done by the shipper.
April 18, 1908.
65. Special rates for United States, State, or municipal governments.-Section 22 of the Act authorizes the carriage, storage, or handling of property free or at reduced rates for the United States, State, or municipal governments. As has before been decided, such transportation can be granted without the publishing and filing of a tariff therefor only in instances where the arrangement is directly between such government and the carrier; but it is considered permissible for carriers to incorporate in their lawful tariffs special rates for the United States, State, or municipal governments applicable only to traffic consigned to such United States, State, or municipal government by name, in care of a recognized officer thereof.
May 4, 1908.
66. Joint rates between a water and rail carrier subjects the former to the provisions of the Act.-A steamboat line agreed upon joint rates with a rail line for certain passenger and freight traffic. Held, That it could not unite with a railroad company in making a through route and joint rate on a particular traffic without subjecting all its interstate traffic to the provisions of the law and to the jurisdiction of the Commission.
67. Handholds-Safety-appliance law. The law makes no distinction between passenger and freight cars, and handholds must, therefore, be placed on the ends of passenger cars and cabooses.
68. Adjustment of claims.-It is not a proper practice for railroad companies to adjust claims immediately on presentation and without investigation. The fact that shippers may give a bond to secure repayment in case, upon subsequent examinations, the claims prove to have been improperly adjusted does not justify the practice.
69. Error by ticket agent.-A station agent inadvertently failed to indorse "colonist ticket" on a regular ticket sold upon a published colonist rate. Held, That the connecting carriers must be paid their full proportion of the first-class rate, but that the Commission would not intervene between the initial carrier and its agent.
May 5, 1908.
70. Effect of a failure in a new tariff naming higher rates to cancel the same rates in prior tariff.-A carrier's tariff effective January 1, 1903, named certain rates between two points. By a joint tariff, effective February 1, 1908, higher rates were named between the same points, but without reference to the previous tariffs or cancellation of the lower rates therein. On March 26, 1908, a supplement was filed naming the same higher rates and canceling the rates named in the tariff of January 1, 1903. Held, That until March 26, 1908, when the original rates were canceled, they remained in effect and were the lawful rates.
71. Different fares to different societies unlawful.-A tariff covering daily picnic excursions between certain points for the season named fares for Sunday and day schools and different fares for "" "societies." Held, That the tariff is discriminatory and that the fares for the school picnics should be the same as for society picnics.
72. Reconsignment privileges and rules.-Usually the combination of local rates is higher than the through rate. Frequently a shipper desires to forward a shipment to a certain point and have the privilege of changing the destination or consignee while shipment is in transit, or after it arrives at destination to which originally consigned, and to forward it under the through rate from point of origin to final destination. Many carriers grant such privilege and generally make a charge therefor.
The privilege is of value to the shipper, and in order to avoid discrimination it is necessary for the carrier that grants such privilege to publish in its tariff that fact, together with the conditions under which it may be used and the charge that will be made therefor. Such rules should be stated in terms that are not open to misconstruction.
Some carriers do not count a change of consignee which does not involve a change of destination as a reconsignment, while others do consider it a reconsignment and charge for it as such. The Commission holds the view that without specific qualifications the term "reconsignment" includes changes in destination, routing, or consignee. If carrier wishes to distinguish between such changes in its privileges or charges it must so specify in its tariff rules. Reconsignment rules and charges must be reasonable, and a charge that would be reasonable for a diversion or change of destination might be unreasonable when applied to a simple change in consignee which did not involve change in destination or more expensive delivery.
73. Effective date of tariff filed by a carrier when first coming under the law.A carrier, under its arrangements for the first time to participate in interstate transportation, failed to note an effective date on its first tariff schedule. Held, That being that carrier's first tariff it became effective as soon as filed.
74. Hours of service law.-Employees deadheading on passenger trains or on freight trains and not required to perform, and not held responsible for the performance of, any service or duty in connection with the movement of the train upon which they are deadheading, are not while so deadheading "on duty" as that phrase is used in the act regulating the hours of labor.
May 12, 1908.
75. Validation of tickets.-The condition that a round-trip passenger ticket shall be validated for the original purchaser by carrier's agent at a given point is one of the conditions which affects the value of the service rendered the passenger and one of the conditions that must be observed the same as the rate under which the ticket is sold, which must therefore be stated in the tariff under which it is sold. The tariff may provide for validation at numerous points, and it may provide for validation at any point intermediate to the original destination named in the ticket. The conditions stated upon the ticket should not conflict with the tariff provisions, but if in any case there should inadvertently be conflict between the tariff provisions and the conditions stated on the ticket the tariff rule must govern.
76. Redemption of passenger tickets. The unused portion of a passenger ticket, when presented by the original holder to the carrier that issued it, may lawfully be redeemed by the carrier by paying to the holder the difference between the value of the transportation furnished on the ticket at the full tariff rates and the amount originally paid for the ticket.
May 14, 1908.
77. Transit privileges not retroactive.-Rule No. 6 of Bulletin No. 1, providing that the benefit of reconsignment privileges cannot be given retroactive effect is held to include cleaning, milling, concentration, and other transit privileges.
June 1, 1908.
78. Grain doors.-A carrier may not lawfully reimburse shippers for the expense incurred in attaching grain doors to box cars unless expressly so provided in its tariff.
June 2, 1908.
79. "Private side tracks" and "private cars' defined.—(1) A private side track, as this expression is used in the opinion In the Matter of Demurrage Charges on Privately Owned Tank Cars, is one which is not owned by the railroad, is outside the carrier's right of way, yards, or terminals, and to which the railroad has no right of use superior to the right of the shipper. This definition is based, as we think it should be based, upon consideration of the carrier's right to the use of the track rather than the ownership of the land or rails.
(2) A private car is defined in the opinion as "a car owned and used by an individual, firm, or corporation for the transportation of the commodities which they produce or in which they deal." It will include also cars owned and leased to shippers by private corporations.
(3) The rule as to demurrage charges on private tank cars is applicable to all other private cars used by the railroads and paid for on a mileage basis.
(4) It is not the intention of the Commission that its ruling shall be given a retroactive effect. The demurrage question has been in a state of great confusion, and the desire of the Commission is to establish a uniform, fair, and practicable system for the future. Claims for refund of demurrage charges previously collected in accordance with regular tariff rules will not be entertained with favor.
June 9, 1908.
80. Shipment that moved in under a former tariff does not lose the benefit of transit privilege canceled pending the out movement.-A tariff enabled shippers to concentrate commodities on local rates at a certain point for shipment within a named period in carload lots, the in-bound billing to be surrendered and through rates from point of original shipment to apply. Before the period for taking advantage of this privilege had expired a new tariff made a new arrangement. Held, That with respect to shipments that had moved to the concentrating point under the old tariff and which moved out within the period therein allowed, the old rate should apply.
81. Supplementing mileage books by paying regular local mileage rates.-The practice under a published tariff rule which permits the holder of a mileage book which does not contain enough coupons to enable him to complete his journey to pay for the balance of the journey at the regular local rate per mile, as published by the carrier, is not unlawful.
82. Chartering trains.-It is not unlawful for a railroad company to publish a tariff under which a locomotive and train of cars may be chartered at a named rate, tickets for the journey on that train to be sold by the person chartering the train. 83. Blockade by flood.-A carrier accepted a carload shipment for movement to a point beyond its line. After delivering the shipment to a connection at a junction point it was advised that the connecting line had been closed by floods. The initial carrier accepted the return of the car from that line and ordered it forward to destination via another route carrying higher rates, taking this action without instruc