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READING COMPANY v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION. (04/13/61)

April 13, 1961

READING COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION.



Appeal, No. 439, Oct. T., 1960, from order of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, No. 86763, in case of Reading Company v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Allen Lesley, with him H. Merle Mulloy, for appellant.

Thomas C. Zerbe, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him Louis J. Carter, Assistant Counsel, and Joseph I. Lewis, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Ervin

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 638]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

This is an appeal from an order of the commission dated September 6, 1960 denying appellant's application to remove the agent at the Fern Rock station, which is an agency passenger and freight station for carload freight only. The Fern Rock station is located on the south side of Godrey Avenue, east of 10th Street, in the 49th Ward of the City of Philadelphia, on appellant's Bethlehem Branch, Philadelphia Division.

The application was filed in accordance with § 202 of the Public Utility Law, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1053, 66 PS § 1122, which provides as follows: "Upon approval of the commission, evidenced by its certificate of public convenience first had and obtained, and upon compliance with existing laws, and not otherwise, it shall be lawful: ... (d) For any public utility to dissolve, or to abandon or surrender, in whole or in part, any service, right, power, franchise, or privilege: ..."

Relative to the function of this Court on appeal, § 1107 of the Public Utility Law, as amended, 66 PS § 1437, provides: "The order of the commission shall not be vacated or set aside, either in whole or in part, except for error of law or lack of evidence to support the finding, determination, or order of the commission, or violation of constitutional rights."

The factors to be considered and the law applicable to cases of this nature have been fully and recently stated by this Court and will not be repeated here: Rydal-Meadowbrook Assn. v. Pa. P.U.C., 173 Pa. Superiore Ct. 380, 98 A.2d 481; Pa. R.R. Co. v. Pa.

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page 639]

Under the heading "Local" are the one-way and the shoppers' tickets, and under the heading "Commutation" are all of the multiple ride and commutation" forms of tickets. All fares for the "Local" one-way and shoppers' tickets may be paid on trains without penalty or additional charge, as is now done at Fern Rock station during periods when the agent is not on duty.

Multiple ride and commutation forms of tickets would have to be purchased at other nearby agency stations, such as Oak Lane, 1.2 miles by highway to the east, and Tabor, 1.0 mile by highway to the west, as well as at Jenkintown, Wayne Junction or Reading Terminal, or at any other agency station convenient to or used by the patron.

Appellant has also instituted a service known as the commutation ticket "Purchase-by-Mail-Plan" by means of which patrons may purchase their commutation and multiple ride tickets by U.S. Mail, postage paid.

When the application was filed in September 1959 the following picture was presented: the only business transacted for which an agent is required was the sale of an average of about six, actually 6.4, commutation or multiple tickets per day and about one interline ticket every three weeks. The local one-way and shoppers' tickets constitute 86 to 87 per cent of all ticket sales. These are the ones for which the fares can be paid on trains without additional charge or penalty as at present when the agent is not on duty. He had handled no freight since the one car in November 1958.

The following tabulation shows the number of tickets by types and the per cent of decline for the first seven months in each of the years 1957, 1958 and 1959:

[ 194 Pa. Super. Page ...


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