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arm, attempted to get off of the platform to which he had alighted and walk over across the hallway in front of the terminal taxicab to this platform of the station proper, and just as he arrived at the platform of the station proper he fell, and, of course, having only one leg and his crutch and hand stick in the other hand, he had but little chance to support himself, so the crutch went one way and the hand stick the other, and he fell on the abutment of the curb, and on looking at him I saw the cab had not moved, but another soldier was getting out, and the second porter, by the way, was helping the other soldier out. I noticed that this soldier appeared to have two legs, but one was short, and he evidently had a cork leg, and he had one arm off.
His left arm was off, and the right arm was in a sling, and he had very little chance to support himself. That soldier also came near falling, but the red cap did not let him by. A third soldier also alighted from the cab, and he also had one leg missing.
Now, the point that struck me here was that when they brought the three rolling chairs these soldiers had to move across to the platform, and one of them did fall, whereas the chairs could not be brought down into the hallway because they could not lift them up the curb very handily. If the cab had been permitted to drive up to the curb to let those soldiers alight from the cab into the rolling chair, their chance of easy movement and the proper care that I think we owe them could have been looked after.
So it is quite necessary, we find, for the general public—not so much for the public vehicles but for the general public—whether a man is able to walk or not able to walk, that he should be able to come up to the curb and alight without having to cross over obstructions. That, therefore, is one thing the committee should look after—the west portico—if any action is taken in the Union Station, in order to guarantee to the public the free access to the use of the station, that part of the station being nearest the business end of the station.
There has been some suggestion here—or at least it has been conceded by the testimony that has been offered here by the expert witnesses of the District government—that the grievances complained of by the hackers are just in some respects, and they feel that one remedy out of it is to place them on an equal basis, and as a means to placing them on such equal basis they have suggested to me the use of taximeters. We wish to go on record against this committee passing a law requiring that all public vehicles shall use taximeters until all the information or necessary information concerning the use of taximeters has been had by the committee. The suggestion has been so late that we have not been able to get sufficient data from the companies that handle the taximeters to enlighten the committee, but such data is in progress of being secured.
Now, a taximeter, roughly, as we understand it, is not a salable article; it is not a marketable article; it is controlled by the inventors, and is leased or rented; and we have every reason to believe that it is a scheme that is being furthered by the corporations to get control of them, and they have attempted to get control of them in other cities, for instance, where the public vehicle drivers have been in litigation or entering into proceedings to get equality with corporation taxicabs.
Now, the meter is not a guaranty to the public as to its fairness. It is an intricately made machine, it is constantly out of order. Man made it, and man can unmake it, and man does unmake it. It is an instrument for the protection of the corporations alone from their drivers, and it is a contrivance to rob the general public and make the public feel it is getting a square deal.
The taximeter is no advantage to the man who does not care to ride in a corporation cab because he does not want to pay the price, or for other personal reasons he may have, and the meter is no advantage to the public vehicle driver, who owns his own car and is responsible only to himself for the amount of money that he takes in, and has no one to turn it over to but himself, and the laws can be made specific and simple so that anyone will know whether he is being overcharged or not, and, in that connection, the public vehicle driver usually states his price before he goes to a point. It is seldom that a man will come out and get in a public vehicle and say, “ Drive me to Chevy Chase,” and when he arrives say,“ What is my bill?” A man comes out and says “George, how much is it to go to Chevy Chase?” George knows that the Terminal taxicab will take him there for $3.60, and George knows that he can go and get that Terminal taxicab, and so George is usually going to say, Well, boss, I will take you out for $2.75 or $3 even.” What is the use of a meter if a passenger is going to make his price beforehand? What is the use of requiring George supporting that corporation by leasing its taximeter-they will not sell it straight out-if it is of no value to him?
Of course, the District government has not provided any means for the inspection of the taximeters that are already in use, and the companies that use them only use them on certain cars; and if they are promoting a scheme, they do not back it up as a legitimate guaranty to the public at all, because they are using at least 30 per cent of their automobiles without meters, and the same system for the determination of rates of fare which Congress has already specified for the use of public vehicle chauffeurs, which is amply sufficient for speed, is used on their touring cars. The speedometer is a true and accurate gauge of a mile; and if the price for a mile is the specific question, any person who rides in an automobile is usually able to read a speedometer, which only has two parts, whereas a meter has six faces, and there must be a correlation of all those faces in order to determine the ultimate fare, and it is more intricate to read and get the fare than a speedometer would be. So that we do not believe that the imposition of a taximeter on the public vehicle chauffeurs will do anything at all toward equalizing conditions.
What we need is for you to say in this legislation or other subsequent legislation what is a public vehicle.
Now, I have here the public hack ordinance of the city of New York, department of licenses, division of licensed vehicles, and with the permission of the committee I would like to read some few excerpts which they have in operation that cover our case somewhat in detail, and with your permission I would like to leave this copy with the committee for its information. The first excerpt says:
If, upon inspection, the vehicle is found to be of proper character and in proper condition, in accordance with the provisions of this article and the rules and regulations so established, and upon payment of the license fees hereinafter
set forth, the same shall be licensed by delivering to the owner a card of such size and form as may be prescribed by the commissioner of licenses, which card shall contain the official license number of the hack so licensed, together with the date of inspection of the same and a statement to the effect that in case of any complaint the commissioner shall be notified, giving the license number of the cab. Each license card shall be signed by the commissioner or by a duly authorized deputy and, suitably framed to protect it from injury, shall be affixed by the owner to such conspicuous place in the interior of the vehicle as shall be designated by the commissioner or his deputy. Such cards shall contain blank spaces upon which an entry shall be made of the date of every inspection of the vehicle by the inspector who inspects it. They shall be of a distinctly different color each year, and in the case of public hacks driven by mechanical power the license number assigned hereunder shall in each case be the same as that assigned to the vehicle by the secretary of state of the State of New York for that year, pursuant to law.
At all times there shall also be affixed to a conspicuous and indispensable part of each public hack a small plate, not exceeding 6 inches in diameter, which shall bear the license number of the vehicle. The design of such plates shall be prescribed by the commissioner of licenses and shall be changed annually.
All that, under our system, is left to the discretion of the hacker, which, under this law, is required to be executed by the office of the commissioner or some one designated by him.
Here is another section :
The commissioner of licenses is hereby authorized to locate and designate as public hack stands the space alongside the curb adjacent to property used as public parks, public buildings, railroad stations, steamship and ferry landings, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and the center of any street or avenue where the roadway, exclusive of the sidewalk, is 30 feet in width or more.
Of course, we leave that part with the committee to determine as it sees fit; but the sense of the matter is the location of the stand next to the curb where the business is; and then there is no reason and no necessity for crabbing, of which the authorities here have complained.
Mr. Zihlman. Is there any language in there which prohibits discrimination between different classes of vehicles?
Mr. Mosley. I have not come across that point. It is not in this law; but they have had some recent cases in New York which put all hackers on the same basis, and that matter has been sent for at Albany, but has not yet arrived, but we hope to get it soon. The law itself equalizes all those in the public vehicle business and puts corporations and privately owned vehicles on the same basis.
Another section reads:
Only public hacks, in such numbers and of such kinds as are set forth on the metal sign, may remain at the stand while waiting for employment; and only in single file pointed in accordance with the traffic regulations. No public hack standing at the head of any such line shall refuse to carry any orderly person applying for a hack who agrees to pay the proper rate of fare; but this shall not prevent any person from selecting any hack he may desire on the stand, whether it be at the head of the line or not. As the hacks leave the line with passengers those behind shall move up, and any public hack seeking a space on the stand shall only approach the same from the rear end of the stand and move up as far as possible to the last vehicle already on the line.
That establishes by law the order of precedence, first come first served. And then it says here:
All disputes as to the lawful rate of fare shall be determined by the police officer in charge of the police station nearest to the place where such dispute is bad; failure to comply with such determination shall subject the offeuding
party to a charge of disorderly conduct, punishable by a fine of not exceeding $10, or, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment for not more than 10 days.
That is to say, if I should carry a man to the Willard Hotel and tell him the fare is 80 cents, and he says, “ Here is 75 cents; get the rest if you can,” under that law I would drive him to No. 1 police station and present the matter to the officer, and the officer would take it up with the result as indicated in the section.
Of course, it has already been testified here by a member of the Metropolitan police department that the committee should take some action to guarantee the chauffeur the collection of his fare, and we call attention to this article 4 here, which is in operation in New York, which gives some ground as a precedent by which the committee can proceed. This has some very valuable information in it, and it covers many of the points the public-vehicle chauffeurs have been complaining of as to the different conditions in the District of Columbia, and I shall leave this with the committee.
Going back to the matter of hack stands, we feel that the commissioner should be required, and that it should not be a matter of his discretion, to create hack stands wherever there is business, because, for instance, we have in our business districts, say, G Street between Ninth and Fifteenth Streets, F Street between Ninth and Fifteenth, and Pennsylvania Avenue between the same points, where the majority and the great bulk of Washington's business is carried on.
Now, at busy times, in shopping hours, on holidays, Sundays, with. the theaters all located in that district, whenever there is rain, or whenever there is any condition that causes the public to wish the use of a public vehicle, some ample provision should be made whereby public vehicles can get those persons desiring their use without infringment upon any law. And if the authorities do not take the necessary steps to make such provision, and the public vehicle chauffeurs certainly want the business, and all the business being there is an incentive for them to go after it, it is an injustice to them not to have somebody given the responsibility to create such parking places for them to go to and look for business. We hope that such provision will be made and that parking places will be required to be created at all the necessary places, such as hotels, etc., and that such parking places shall be free and open to all vehicles which are properly licensed to engage in the public vehicle business, not that there be a separate stand for the Terminal Co., a separate stand for the public vehicle chauffeurs, a separate stand for West 84, and a separate stand for Kline, or any one who has any of that business, but that public vehicle stations shall be designated at proper places, and a number of carefully designated signs placed there, so that there will be no misapprehension, and that the stand will be free and open to anyone who owns a motor vehicle, no matter who owns it, to come on the stand whenever a vacancy occurs, if it should be his luck. If this condition can be brought about, I assure you that the public vehicle chauffeurs of the District of Columbia will be ever so grateful for your action, and we feel that the grievance is sufficient for your consideration, and this covers practically the field of our grievances, and we thank you for this opportunity.
Mr. ZuHLMAN. The committee will stand adjourned, subject to the call of the chair.
(Whereupon the committee adjourned.)
PUBLIC HACK ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK,
An Ordinance relating to public hacks, cabs, coaches, taxicabs, little taxicabs, and sight
seeing cars and the drivers thereof."
Be it ordained by the board of aldermen of the City of New York as follows:
SECTION 1. The ordinance adopted May 27, 1913, and approved by the mayor June 2, 1913, entitled “The Public Hack Ordinance," is hereby transferred to and shall be incorporated in subdivision 3, entitled “Public Hacks and Hackmen," of article 3 of title 2 of chapter 7 of part 1 of the code of ordinances of the City of New York, and, so transferred and incorporated, the said ordinance is hereby amended to read as follows:
SEC. 316. Definitions and applications.
1. Definitions: A public hack is a vehicle plying for hire and which solicits public patronage upon the streets and highways of this city :
A cab is a public hack so designed and constructed as to comfortably seat, in the opinion of the commissioner of licenses, not more than two persons as passengers inside thereof;
A coach is a public hack so designed and constructed as to comfortably seat, in the opinion of the commissioner of licenses, four or more persons as passengers inside thereof;
A sight-seeing car is a motor-driven vehicle designed to carry seven or more persons from a fixed locality to points of interest about the city ;
A taximeter is a mechanical instrument or device by which the charge for hire of a public hack is mechanically calculated, either for distance traveled or for waiting time, or for both, and upon which such charge shall be indicated by means of figures ;
A cab driven by mechanical power on which a taximeter is affixed shall be known as a little taxicab ";
A taxicab is a coach driven by mechanical power on which a taximeter is affixed.
2. Application: This section and the six sections next following the same, shall not apply to or govern any vehicle hired or obtained from a livery stable or garage for which patronage is not solicited upon the streets; nor to any omnibus running by authority of any ordinance, law, charter, or permit upon a fixed route through the city.
Sec. 317. Department of Licenses : 1. The licensing and inspection of public hacks, the inspection and sealing of taximeters, the examination of applicants for licenses to drive such public hacks, and the licensing of drivers, as hereinafter provided in this ordinance, and the enforcement of the provisions of this ordinance, shall be under the control of the department of licenses.
2. The commissioner of licenses is hereby empowered to appoint such inspec. tors as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this ordnance, who shall be paid such compensation as shall be fixed by law.
3. The commissioner of licenses shall have power to suspend or revoke any license or permit issued under the provisions of this article.
SEC. 318. Public hack licenses: 1. No public hack shall ply for hire upon the streets of the City of New York without first obtaining a license from the department of licenses. Such license shall be issued as of February 1, and shall expire on the 31st day of January next suceeding of each and every year hereafter, unless sooner suspended or revoked by the commissioner of licenses.
2. Applications for licenses for public hacks shall be made by the owner upon blank forms to be furnished by the department of licenses, and such applications shall contain the full name and address of the owner, the class of the vehicle for which the license is desired, the length of time the vehicle has been in use, the number of persons it is capable of carrying, and, if a motor-driven vehicle, the motor power thereof.
3. No vehicle shall be licensed until it has been thoroughly and carefully inspected and examined and found to be in thoroughly safe condition for the transportation of passengers, clean, fit, of good appearance, and well painted and varnished. The commissioner of licenses shall make, or have made by his lawful deputies, such examination and inspection before issuing a license, The commissioner shall refuse a license to, or, if already issued, revoke or suspend the license of any vehicle found by him to be unfit or unsuited for public patronage.