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WASHINGTON v. PUC OF DIST. OF COLUMBIA

April 13, 1950

WASHINGTON, MARLBORO & ANNAPOLIS MOTOR LINES, Inc.
v.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

Nature of Case

This is an appeal by the Washington, Marlboro and Annapolis Motor Lines, Inc., hereinafter called W.M. & A., from the orders of the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia, hereinafter called the Commission, in proceedings designated as P.U.C. No. 3489, Formal Case No. 383. The subject matter of the proceedings and orders is 'bus service of the Capital Transit Company is South East Washington, District of Columbia,' as hereinafter more specifically set forth. By application and order of this Court pursuant thereto Capital Transit Company, hereinafter called C.T.C., was granted leave to intervene in this action as a party appellant.

 Statement of Facts

 The Washington, Marlboro and Annapolis Motor Lines was organized as a Delaware corporation in 1926. Since that time it has operated routes in the District of Columbia under the authority of the Public Utilities Commission of the District of Columbia, and at rates of fare fixed by that Commission. The routes of service maintained by the W.M. & A. line are between a western terminus at 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W. and various points along Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. east of the Anacostia River and along Suitland Road, Bowen Road, Southern Avenue and Alabama Avenue, all in the southeast section of Washington. The line also operates a local service between Bradbury Heights, S.E. and Commodore Barney Circle at 17th and Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. There is in operation a free transfer service between W.M. & A. buses and the buses and street cars of the Capital Transit Company at Pennsylvania and Branch Avenues, Minnesota and Pennsylvania Avenues, and at Commodore Barney Circle. The effect of the said routes is to provide direct service to downtown Washington, or by reason of the free transfer system to provide service by connecting carrier to any part of Washington.

 In April 1942, after hearing in which W.M. & A. was recognized as a necessary party (see P.U.C. No. 3269, Formal Case No. 310), the P.U.C. issued Order No. 2167 which permitted the Capital Transit Company to extend its then existing line by moving its eastern terminus of the C-2 line from a loop at 32nd and Alabama Avenue to a loop at 36th and Alabama Avenue, S.E. The W.M. & A. appealed to this Court from that order but after W.M. & A. had made an independent investigation which revealed that the competition offered by the Capital Transit Company at its new terminus would not result in too great a disadvantage, the appeal was not prosecuted.

 In May 1948 an informal hearing was conducted by the P.U.C. in connection with the request of certain residents on the loop established at 36th and Alabama Avenue, S.E. for a relocation of said loop. The W.M. & A. was notified of this hearing and appeared. Following this hearing the P.U.C. announced that the matter would be considered further and a decision reached as to whether or not a formal hearing would be held.

 On December 10, 1948 the P.U.C. issued 'P.U.C. No. 3489, Formal Case No. 383' which was captioned 'Notice of Hearing', 'In the matter of Bus Service of the Capital Transit Co. in Southeast Washington'. This notice recited that a hearing had been held pursuant to a request for service desired in the vicinity of Alabama Avenue and 15th Street, S.E. submitted by the Garfield-Douglass Heights Citizens' Association; that certain modifications of the original request had been received; and that the Capital Transit Company had submitted certain proposals for changes in the existing service in that area; and that in view of these circumstances the P.U.C. proposed to hold a formal hearing on the proposals of the Capital Transit Company and certain modifications thereof. The proposals of the Capital Transit Company were

 1). The extension of the W-4 line.

 2). The extension of the existing W-2 line and the change in its designation to C-2.

 3). The discontinuance of the existing C-2 line as such.

 4). The discontinuance of the existing V-8 line and its substitution being designated W-2, as noted in proposal 2 above.

 On January 5, 1949 the P.U.C. consolidated the above proceeding with a request for elimination of the special five cent fare on route W-4 and continued the hearing to February 2, 1949 in order to allow further time to consider the consolidation proceedings. The P.U.C. contends that this notice was posted in the District Building and was publicized in the press. W.M. & A. contends that it received no notice either actual or statutory, and argues further that the notice did not offer any information as to the scope which the hearing covered in the way of the establishment of competitive service by C.T.C.

 As a result of the above hearing on May 4, 1949, the P.U.C. issued its Order No. 3530 which established a new terminus for the existing Capital Transit line C-2 by extending the line to Pennsylvania and Alabama Avenues, S.E.; extended Capital Transit's W-2 line from its existing terminal, along the same route of the C-2 line to Barney Circle; extended the Capital Transit's W-4 line from its existing terminal to the intersection of Alabama and Pennsylvania Avenues, S.E.

 Both W.M. & A. and Capital Transit filed applications for reconsideration pursuant to Section 43 = 704 of the District of Columbia Code. By Orders Nos. 3546 and 3547, dated June 9, and 13, 1949, respectively, these applications for reconsideration were denied by the Commission. W.M. & A. contends that it was not furnished with P.U.C. Order No. 3530 and learned of the order from newspaper sources. P.U.C. admits that it furnished W.M. & A. no copy of said order.

 On June 29, 1949 by Order No. 3553 the Commission amended its Order No. 3530 to require the continuance and extension of C-2 line for an experimental period of six months, and

 On July 1, 1949 the W.M. & A., pursuant to section 43-705 of the District of Columbia Code, filed its appeal in this Court from P.U.C. Order No. 3530 as amended, by No. 3546, and No. 3547. Since its appeal is based upon its application for reconsideration the following points relied upon in its application are argued upon this appeal:

 1). P.U.C. Order No. 3530 and the proceeding in Formal Case No. 383 are void for failure to give statutory notice to the W.M. & A.

 2). The said order and proceedings are void for failure to make the applicant a party to the proceedings.

 3). The proceedings are void in that Order No. 3530 illegally sets up competitive service to the service of W.M. & A. without the said Commission having given to W.M. & A. an opportunity to take part in the proceedings resulting in the establishment of such competitive service.

 4). Order No. 3530 is illegal and confiscatory, and deprives the W.M. & A. of its rights and property without compensation or due process of law.

 The petitioner asked the Court to suspend the Order No. 3530 pending final determination of the appeal, and to vacate the order and set aside the proceedings held in Formal Case No. 383. The suspension of the order was decreed by this Court on July 1, 1949.

 The answer of P.U.C. denies that the petition stated a cause of action; admits that the proceeding in Case No. 383 was without statutory notice to the W.M. & A. but alleges that such notice was not necessary, and denies that W.M. & A. was a necessary party to the proceedings; denies that the routes created by Order No. 3530 are competitive with the petitioner's lines; and asserts that an official of the W.M. & A. was present at the proceedings. The Answer of the Commission also alleged that the application of W.M. & A. ...


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