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CAROL LINES v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (09/05/84)

decided: September 5, 1984.

CAROL LINES, INC., PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Carol Lines, Inc., Nos. C-79020739 and C-79040833.

COUNSEL

Val Plett Wilson, with him, Herbert Somerson, Somerson and Bomze, P.C., for petitioner.

Michael C. Schnierle, Assistant Counsel, with him, Kenneth E. Nicely, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Craig and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 62]

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) instituted complaints against Carol Lines, Inc. (Carol Lines) on February 22, 1979 and April 19, 1979, alleging in each that Carol Lines had violated Section 1101 of the Public Utility Code (Code), 66 Pa. C.S. § 1101, by transporting passengers during the summer of 1978 as a common carrier without a certificate of public convenience. Carol Lines admitted that it provided transportation services without a certificate of public convenience, admitting it had done so under contract with the Teen Tours Program of the Klein Jewish Community Center. It contended, and still contends, that its actions were not in violation of Section 1101 because: (1) the PUC is without jurisdiction to regulate passenger bus service in the Philadelphia metropolitan area because the Pennsylvania Urban Mass Transportation Law (Mass Transportation Law), Act of January 22, 1968, P.L. 42, as amended, 55 P.S. §§ 600.101-600.407 vests regulatory authority exclusively in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA); and (2) the transportation services which it provided were within the statutory exemption provided by Section 102 of the Code, 66 Pa. C.S. § 102, excepting the transportation of school children from the definition of common carrier by motor vehicle.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who heard the case rejected both of Carol Lines' attacks on PUC

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 63]

    authority and Carol Lines appealed. The PUC adopted the ALJ's decision and ordered Carol Lines to pay a three hundred dollar penalty and to cease transporting persons for compensation in violation of the provisions of the Code. Carol Lines has appealed from the PUC's order. It advances the same two arguments here as it did to PUC.

SEPTA Jurisdiction

Section 303(a) of the Mass Transportation Law, 55 P.S. § 600.303(a), provides for "the creation of a separate body corporate and politic in each metropolitan area, to be known as the transportation authority of such area. . . [which] shall exercise the public powers of the Commonwealth as an agency and instrumentality thereof." The term metropolitan area is defined by Section 302(a), 55 P.S. § 600.302(a), to "mean all of the territory within the boundaries of any county of the first class [Philadelphia] and all other counties located in whole or in part within twenty miles of such first class county." The purposes of the transportation authority are those "of planning, acquiring, holding, constructing, improving, maintaining, operating, leasing, either as lessor or lessee, and otherwise functioning with respect to, a transportation system. . . ." Section 303(a), 55 P.S. § 600.303(3)(a). A transportation system is defined to "mean all property, real and personal useful for the transportation of passengers for hire, including but not limited to . . . buses . . . as well as the franchises, rights and licenses therefor, including rights to provide group and party services . . . [with the exception of] taxicabs." Section 302, 55 P.S. 600.302.

SEPTA is the mass transportation authority created to arrange mass transportation within the boundaries of the State's only first class county, ...


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