« PreviousContinue »
running time between Somerville and New York City is estimated as 1 hour and 41 minutes.
Applicant's representatives do not consider that the proposed service would be attractive to commuters traveling daily to or from New York City who now use The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, but believe that the service would be utilized principally by persons who now drive their private automobiles in traveling to and from that point. The proposed operations are designed primarily to serve persons who desire to travel between points on applicant's line or proposed line in New Jersey and midtown Manhattan without the necessity of interchange.
Applicant estimates that it would transport approximately 1 200 passengers daily in one-way trips between points on the proposed route, and that 80 percent of such traffic would come from persons who now use their private automobiles for commuting. However, there are no facts of record to support such estimates. Several of the persons supporting the application would discontinue driving their automobiles in traveling to and from points on the proposed route in the event applicant is granted the authority sought; but, on the other hand, there are numerous persons commuting daily between many of the points which applicant proposes to serve by driving their automobiles to and from the various rail terminals of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey and the terminals of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Newark and Jersey City for connections to New York City, notwithstanding the fact that they are afforded public transportation by bus lines connecting with the rail lines.
Applicant admits that it does not expect to compete and could not economically compete with the commuter mass transportation service rendered by the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey between Somerville and New York and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company between Newark and New York because of the low and attractive commutation rate of the rail lines. It follows that it is problematical as to what percent of the persons who now drive their private automobiles all the way or part of the way in traveling to and from New York City would use the proposed service.
Of 15 public witnesses supporting the application, 7 were from Union Township, 4 from Plainfield, 1 from Mountainside, 1 from Roselle Park, 1 from Bound Brook, and 1 from Scotch Plains. Most of these persons have occasions to go to New York City only 2 or 3 times a month. One averages 1 trip a week to New York and uses his private automobile as a means of commuting; and he would use the proposed service in preference to driving his automobile in making such trips. Six of them are engaged in the real-estate business. They
believe that the proposed direct bus service would meet a need of persons not afforded a direct single-line public transportation service to and from midtown Manhattan, and would be a decided advantage in effecting sales of real property in New Jersey through which the proposed route extends. Several of the witnesses represent certain civic groups in New Jersey which have adopted resolutions favoring a grant of the authority sought. Summarized briefly, they believe that there is a public need and demand for the proposed service, especially for persons making occasional trips to midtown Manhattan for pleasure or for shopping.
The traffic consultant who had been engaged by applicant to make a study of the need for the proposed service also testified in support of the application. He had made a study of the territory involved, of the transportation facilities existing there, of the trends of the traffic, and of the riding habits of the public. Through him there were put in evidence (1) a diagram disclosing the proposed routes of applicant and the present routes of a number of competitive carriers, (2) a list of applicant's equipment, (3) population statistics for 1930 and 1940 of the various municipalities to be served, with the percent of increase during that decade, (4) tables showing applicant's proposed schedule of operation and fares, and (5) exhibits based upon traffic checks of 10 competitive rail and motor carriers disclosing their operating time between a number of the considered points, and the fact that few of them picked up or discharged passengers at intermediate points en route on such trips; all of which he had prepared. In addition, he testified that residents at many of the considered points have no direct service to midtown New York available at present, that in his opinion the service furnished by local interstate motor carriers was too slow, that long-distance express motor carriers did not stop at intermediate points, that in many instances trains operating to New York City could not be conveniently reached by use of public transportation facilities, and that in his opinion there is a definite need for the proposed service.
The witness also stated that he had mailed questionnaires to 34,699 telephone subscribers in 19 municipalities through which the operation would be conducted. These questionnaires were designed to elicit categorical answers to such questions, among others, as to whether the proposed service would benefit the addressee, the time and frequency with which the service would be used, and the present means of travel to and from New York City. Signed replies were received from 13.6 percent of the addressees. Sample questionnaires, tabulations of the results of the survey, and calculations based thereon were offered in evidence. Protestants, though they concede the qualifications of witness, nevertheless, strenuously objected to the admission in evidence of the questionnaires or any compilations based thereon upon the grounds that such matters are hearsay, admission of which would deprive them of a fundamental right to cross-examine the signatories. In reply to this objection, counsel for applicant urged that the witness had "used the questionnaire and the tabulations and analysis of them as the basis for his opinion” and that they were properly admissible as part of the basis for such opinion. For this limited purpose they were admitted by the examiner with the specific statement that they were not received for the purpose of proving the truth of any statements therein. Protestants urge that such ruling was erroneous, that the questionnaires and calculations based thereon were not, in fact, any part of the basis for the expert's opinion, and that they were inadmissible for any purpose. The testimony of the witness shows that the responses to the questionnaires were not the basis for the witness' opinion.
We have long accepted as sound the general principle that, over objection, petitions, letters, affidavits, and questionnaires such as here involved, are inadmissible due to the lack of opportunity for opposing parties to cross-examine. In our opinion, the questionnaires and calculations based thereon were not admissible in this proceeding and will not be accorded any weight by us.
The record clearly shows that prior to the mailing of the questionnaires, applicant's witness had formed an opinion as to the need for the proposed service. This original opinion, formed before the questionnaires were mailed, is still available to us. It was based on facts above stated, which entitle it to consideration and in reaching our conclusion herein we shall give it due weight.
The principal common carriers of passengers now operating between Somerville and New York City are The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, Jersey Central Transportation Company, All-American Bus Lines, Inc., Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., Royal Blue Coaches, Inc. (operations formerly conducted by Alma Lines, Inc.), Frank Martz Coach Company, Northern Trails, Inc., Edwards-Laketo-Sea Stages and Central Greyhound Lines, Inc. In addition, there are several New Jersey intrastate motor common carriers of passengers which operate in the New Jersey territory involved and which serve as feeders to all stations of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey and to other rail and motor carriers serving New York City and operating to and from Elizabeth, Newark, and Jersey City, N. J.
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey has long provided a mass transportation commuter service for passengers and their baggage between Somerville and New York City. Its rail line substantially parallels and runs through practically all of the New Jersey towns which applicant proposes to serve. It has frequent east-bound and west-bound trains operating daily between Somerville and Jersey City. On east-bound trips, it operates 24 trains daily from Somerville and a varying number, ranging from 11 to 40, from points east of Somerville, and on west-bound trips, it operates 25 trains daily from Jersey City and a varying number, ranging from 14 to 40, from points west of Jersey City. Between Jersey City and the Liberty Street Terminal in New York, it transports its passengers by ferry. One of its officers who is familiar with present transportation facilities between Somerville and New York City expressed the opinion that the existing service is adequate to meet the public need; and that the grant to applicant of the authority sought would result in a diversion of traffic with a consequent loss to the railroad, which has been rendering a fast and dependable service between New York and points on its line in New Jersey over a period of many years.
The Public Service Coordinated Transport is an intrastate motor common carrier of passengers operating 20 different bus lines between off-rail points in the New Jersey territory between Somerville, Elizabeth, and Newark and the various railroad stations of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey where passengers are afforded connections for direct travel to New York City. This carrier objects to any added competition in the New Jersey territory which it claims now is adequately served.
Another intrastate motor common carrier of passengers opposing the application is the Trackless Transit Company of New Jersey, which operates between East Orange and Roselle through Irvington and Union, N. J. It transports passengers making connections at Roselle with the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey for through transportation to New York City.
The Pennsylvania Railroad Company, in conjunction with the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Company, operates a rapid transit system of frequent schedules for the transportation of passengers between Newark and New York City. In addition, it operates a fast and frequent electric service between midtown and downtown New York and Elizabeth and Newark. Each of the New Jersey municipalities which applicant seeks to serve is served by a bus line or lines to the Elizabeth and Newark stations of this carrier.
The Jersey Central Transportation Company, in conjunction with the Reading Transportation Company, as well as All-American Bus Lines, Inc., Pennsylvania Greyhound Lines, Inc., Royal Blue Coaches, Inc. (purchaser of operating rights of Alma Lines, Inc.), Frank Martz Coach Company, Northern Trails, Inc., Edwards-Lake-to-Sea Stages, and Central Greyhound Lines, Inc., are long-distance common carriers of passengers and their baggage authorized to operate bet ween Somerville and New York City and to serve most of the New Jersey towns
which applicant proposes to serve. However, these carriers give rery little service to persons traveling between such points. They are long-distance operators which make no attempt to render the type of service here proposed, inasmuch as their busses are usually loaded with passengers traveling between distant points.
The city of New York opposes the application to the extent that applicant proposes to operate to and from midtown Manhattan. The Times Square area in New York City is now highly congested with traffic, and the regulatory authorities there are opposed to a grant of authority to any additional carriers which seek to establish terminal facilities in that part of the city. The city of New York did not, however, file exceptions to the recommended report of the examiner.
In our opinion, the record establishes that public convenience and necessity require the proposed operation for the transportation of passengers and their baggage. Persons traveling between New York and the New Jersey points which applicant proposes to serve are entitled to through motor-carrier service as well as to the present motorrail service.
Applicant is fit, willing, and able to render the service hereinafter authorized.
We find that public convenience and necessity require operation by applicant, in interstate or foreign commerce, as a common carrier by motor vehicle of passengers and their baggage between Somerville, N. J., and New York City, over the regular routes described in the appendix, serving all intermediate points except those in Essex and Hudson Counties, N. J.; that applicant is fit, willing, and able properly to perform such service and to conform to the provisions of the act and the rules and regulations thereunder; that a certificate authorizing such service should be granted; and that the application in all other respects should be denied.
An appropriate order will be entered.
PATTERSON, Chairman, dissenting:
As stated in this report, there are seven or eight long-distance motor common carriers of passengers and one rail line whose routes approximately parallel that granted applicant. Since they have adequate equipment to meet the needs of the public, there is no necessity for applicant's services.
Route A, between Somerville, N. J., and New York, N. Y.: From terminal at Division Street, and South Street, in Somerville, over South Street to its junction with Bridge Street, thence over Bridge Street to its junction with Main Street, thence over Main Street to its junction, with Grover Street to its junction with High Street, thence over High Street to its junction with Gaston Avenue, thence over Gaston Avenue to its junction with Union Avenue, thence over Union