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CITY PITTSBURGH v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION ET AL. (TWO CASES) (03/17/53)

March 17, 1953

CITY OF PITTSBURGH
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION ET AL. (TWO CASES)



COUNSEL

Anne X. Alpern, City Sol., John M. Marshall and David Stahl, Asst. City Sols., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

William J. Grove, Jack F. Aschinger, Asst. Counsel and Lloyd S. Benjamin, Acting Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Vergil W. Thomas and Charles K. Robinson, Pittsburgh, for Pittsburgh Railways Co., intervenor-appellee.

Gilbert Nurick, James W. Hagar and McNees, Wallace & Nurick, Harrisburg, amicus curiae for Pennsylvania Bus Ass'n.

Before Rhodes, P.j., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Reno

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 88]

RENO, Judge.

These appeals by the City of Pittsburgh have brought up for review two orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission relating to increases of fares by the Pittsburgh Railways Company. No. 27 April Term, 1953, concerns an increase of the basic street car fare from 15 cents to 17 cents, and No. 173 April Term, 1952, deals with an increase from 17 cents to 20 cents. Prior increases are discussed and decided in City of Pittsburgh v. Pennsylvania P.U.C., 165 Pa. Super. 519, 69 A.2d 844; City of Pittsburgh v. Pennsylvania P.U.C., 168 Pa. Super. 95, 78 A.2d 35; and City of Pittsburgh v. Pennsylvania P.U.C., 172 Pa. Super. 230, 93 A.2d 715.

A brief statement of the history of the proceedings which produced the orders before us will be helpful.

On August 10, 1951, Railways filed tariff increasing the basic street car fare from 15 cents to 17 cents, tokens from 133/4 cents (4 for 55 cents) to 162/3 cents (3 for 50 cents), and the 20 cent cash

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 89]

    bus fare was increased to 23 cents. The tariffs were scheduled to go into effect September 10, 1951. Prior to their effective date the City filed a complaint charging that, inter alia, the proposed rates would produce an excessive return, were unreasonable, and requesting the Commission to suspend them. The Commission permitted the 17 cent rate to become effective September 19, 1951. Hearings on the City's complaint were held by the Commission between October 3, 1951 and June 17, 1952. After the filing of briefs by Railways and the City, the Commission heard oral argument on August 26, 1952.

Meanwhile, on June 24, 1952, before the conclusion of the hearings on the 17 cent fares, Railways filed with the Commission a new schedule of rates to become effective July 27, 1952. These schedules increased the basic street car cash fare from 17 cents to 20 cents. They provided for a 45 cent weekly permit card, which was transferable and good for limited rides in downtown low fare zones, upon the payment of 15 cents for each ride. Such permit cards were introduced in place of the former 162/3 cents (3 for 50 cents) token fare, which was increased to 20 cents cash, and were intended to induce the short distance rider to make use of the system. The bus tariff increased the 23 cent cash fare to 25 cents. On July 10, 1952, the City filed complaint against the proposed 20 cent fares, alleging their unreasonableness, and asking the Commission to suspend. On July 15, 1952, the Commission, ...


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