June 11, 1957
READING COMPANY, APPELLANT,
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION.
Appeal, No. 105, Oct. T., 1957, from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission of Oct. 29, 1956, No. A.P.81853, in case of Reading Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Order reversed.
Allen Lesley, with him W. I. Woodcock, Jr., for appellant.
Howard L. Criden, Assistant Counsel, with him Thomas M. Kerrigan, Acting Counsel, for appellee.
Before Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 233]
OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.
This is an appeal from the order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission denying an application to discontinue the sale of passenger tickets at Fisher's Station on appellant's Germantown and Chestnut Hill Branch.
The application was filed on January 25, 1955. Protests were filed, hearings were held, and the Commission, by order dated October 29, 1956, denied the application by majority vote with Commissioner Houck filing a dissent. The order reads as follows: "The record in this proceeding shows that ticket sales at Fishers station increased substantially between 1952 and 1954 and that revenue contrary to the general railroad trend has remained substantially constant at more than double the cost of maintaining the agent at the station. The record further shows that removal of the agent would result in inconvenience to passengers and the creation of a possible hazard to their safety and welfare while on the property of the carrier. Upon full consideration of the record, we are of opinion and find that approval of the application should be denied; Therefore, it is Ordered: That approval of the application be and is hereby denied."
Appellant contends that the above order is arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and not supported by substantial evidence of reasonable probative value. In making the order, appellant argues that the commission failed to consider the decision in the case of Rydal-Meadowbrook Association v. Pennsylvania Public Utility
[ 184 Pa. Super. Page 234]
additional charge or penalty. The Commission made no finding that the public would be inconvenienced by the discontinuance of the sale of the one-way and shoppers' tickets because they need not be purchased in advance. Foreign and commutation tickets, it was shown, may be purchased at any agency station such as Wayne Junction, North Broad Street and Reading Terminal.
A total of eleven witnesses testified against eliminating the ticket agent. They stated they would be inconvenienced by the change to a non-agency station. The record however reveals that any inconvenience resulting from the change would be inconsequential. In 1954, 88 per cent of all tickets sold were one-way and round trip; in 1955, this percentage was 86.8 per cent. Of an average of 52 tickets sold by the agent per working day, only six were multiple ride and commutation tickets and could have been purchased at the Wayne Junction Station or at the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia. The evidence shows that it costs on the average between thirty cents and thirty-four cents to sell a twenty-nine cent local ticket.
The Commission gives two reasons for its order: First, the increase in revenue between 1952 and 1954 and, second, the conversion to a non-agency station would jeopardize safety of its riders. The second argument is refuted by the fact that for the greater part of very day and for all week-ends and holidays there is no agent on the premises (and safety did not seem to be jeopardized). As to the argument that revenues have increased between 1952 and 1954, we must take into consideration the over-all picture of the financial revenues of the whole system which we have touched upon in above paragraphs of this opinion.
The findings of the Commission are not supported by substantial evidence in the record.
The order of the Commission is reversed.
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