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SAFEWAY TRAILS, INC. v. UNITED STATES

September 29, 1964

SAFEWAY TRAILS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES of America and Interstate Commerce Commission, Defendants, and Greyhound Lines, Inc., Intervenor-Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WRIGHT

Plaintiff seeks to set aside the report and order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Division One, *fn1" authorizing Greyhound Lines, Inc. to pick up and discharge passengers and express freight along certain specified routes between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the New Jersey Turnpike, except 'that no traffic may be transported under this authority which originates at or is destined to Philadelphia, Pa., or New York, N.Y.' In support of its petition to annul, Safeway Trails, Inc. alleges, citing Service v. Dulles, 354 U.S. 363, 77 S. Ct. 1152, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1403 (1957), that Greyhound's application was amended after publication contrary to the rules *fn2" of the Commission, and that the Commission's report and order were unsupported by substantial evidence. We uphold the Commission's action.

I.

 Safeway Trails, as an operator of interstate buses, is certificated to pick up and discharge passengers and express along certain specified routes in the Camden area between Philadelphia and the Turnpike. Greyhound Lines, as part of its national network, passes over these approaches to Philadelphia from the Turnpike, but prior to the Commission's order had no authority to pick up or discharge passengers or express. In fact, Safeway Trails is the only non-local carrier with such authority presently operating.

 Pursuant to the Commission's rules, notice was filed in the FEDERAL REGISTER of Greyhound's application for authority to serve the area concerned in this litigation. In that notice it was stated that Greyhound was seeking to operate 'between Philadelphia, Pa. and the New Jersey Turnpike, serving no intermediate points nor the Interchanges, except for traffic originating at or destined to points beyond Philadelphia, Pa., or New York, N.Y.' The same notice also advised that: 'Applicant states the purpose of this application is to remove a restriction contained in MC 1501 (Sub-No. 92), which would permit applicant to pick up and discharge passengers on its described routes, which passengers have as their destination or origin, a point beyond Philadelphia, Pa., or New York, N.Y.' The certificate as issued, and challenged here by plaintiff, authorizes Greyhound to operate 'between Philadelphia, Pa., and the New Jersey Turnpike, serving all intermediate points and the interchanges * * * subject to the restrictions (1) that no traffic may be transported under this authority which originates at or is destined to Philadelphia, Pa., or New York, N.Y. * * *.'

 It is Safeway Trails' contention that the certificate issued is broader than the application noticed and that, in effect, Greyhound's application was amended contrary to the Commission's rules. Safeway Trails is particularly concerned about traffic which, under the challenged certificate, would be picked up or discharged on the approach to the Turnpike going south from Philadelphia. It appears that Greyhound now operates through Philadelphia and Camden south via the Turnpike, serving Baltimore and Washington. Safeway Trails argues that traffic on this route, which is picked up or discharged in the Camden area, is not traffic originating or destined 'beyond Philadelphia, Pa.,' since it does not go through that city. The question presented is whether, contrary to 49 C.F.R. § 1.241(a), Greyhound's application was amended to encompass the authority contained in the certificate as issued. There is no suggestion that Safeway Trails has been misled, or otherwise prejudiced, by any difference which may exist between the application and the certificate as issued.

 It must be owned that the application was not a masterpiece of draftsmanship. Actually, the emphasis on Philadelphia and New York in the application was to assure bus lines serving Camden-New York and Camden-Philadelphia that the requested authority did not cover that traffic. As to the intent of the application, Greyhound's operating officer testified:

 'When we filed this application, we wanted to modify the restriction, and we did not want to get involved in the local traffic between Camden and Philadelphia and between Camden and New York. We wanted to make that clear, that we were not going to compete with that traffic. But it is our proposal to serve all other points beyond Philadelphia out of Camden and, in going in the other direction, beyond New York.

 'Most of the service that we run south that goes through Camden does go via Philadelphia and thence south. But we do have some service that comes out of Philadelphia through Camden out to the New Jersey Turnpike, and then heads south.

 'It is our proposal to pick up on that service at Camden to carry to points south.'

 II.

 As to the sufficiency of the evidence, it is hornbook that orders of the Commission should not be set aside, modified or disturbed by a court on review if they lie within the scope of the Commission's statutory authority and are based on adequate findings which are supported by substantial evidence upon the record as a whole, even though the court itself might have reached a different conclusion on the facts presented. United States v. Pierce Auto Freight Lines, 327 U.S. 515, 535-536, 66 S. Ct. 687, 90 L. Ed. 821 (1946). 'The judicial function is exhausted when there is found to be a rational basis for the conclusions approved by the administrative body.' Miss. Valley Barge Line Co. v. United States, 292 U.S. 282, 286-287, 54 S. Ct. 692, 694, 78 L. Ed. 1260 (1934).

 The Commission's findings here are within the scope of its statutory authority *fn3" and are fully supported by substantial evidence. Camden County is a burgeoning suburban area. Its population increased 30 per cent from 1950 to 1960. Many witnesses from Camden testified to the inconvenience and the delay occasioned by changing to a Greyhound bus in Philadelphia on trips beyond that city. The evidence also shows that express picked up in and destined for Camden was likewise delayed in transshipment. After weighing this public interest against the relatively small amount of business Safeway Trails may lose *fn4" as a result of Greyhound's new service, the Commission found that this additional Greyhound service was required by the present and future public convenience and necessity. We are in no position to gainsay that statement. It is supported by substantial evidence and by adequate findings.

 Since the Commission is 'one of those agencies presumably equipped or informed by experience to deal with a specialized field of knowledge, whose findings within that field carry the authority of an expertness which courts do not possess and therefore must respect,' Universal Camera Corp. v. National Labor Relations Bd., ...


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