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Page 2, lines 21 and 22, strike out the entire lines and substitute in lieu thereof the following: “Divide; that portion of section 15 lying east of the Continental Divide and on the eastern slope of Mount Nimbus; and that portion of section 22 lying on the eastern slope of Baker Mountain."

Page 3, line 2, change the word "section" to the word "sections” and insert immediately following the number and word "17 and”.

Page 3, line 3, after the word “Divide" insert the following: "and that part of section 29 lying outside the park boundary.”

With amendments as indicated above the proposed legislation covered by H. R. 11784, would be very beneficial in connection with adjustments of the park boundaries to the best interests of the park and I therefore recommend that the same amended as suggested be favorably considered by the department and Congress.

HORACE M. ALBRIGHT, Director. O

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SENATE

718T CONGRESS

2d Session

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REPORT No. 926

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF TAXICAB OWNERS IN

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

JUNE 16, 1930.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. ROBsion of Kentucky, from the Committee on the District of

Columbia, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany S. 3615)

The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (S. 3615) to amend section 8 of the act making appropriations to provide for the expenses of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1914, and for other purposes, approved March 4, 1913, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon and recommends that the bill do pass, with the following amendments:

On page 1, line 8, strike out the words "two new paragraphs, numbered 2a and 3a", and insert in lieu thereof the following: "a new paragraph, numbered 2a”.

On page 2, line 10, strike out the words. in such way or ways as it may prescribe".

On page 2, line 12, strike out the period and insert the following: "by filing with the commission a bond, policy or policies of insurance of such amount or amounts as may be required by the commission.”

On page 2, strike out lines 13 to 23, both inclusive.

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PURPOSE OF THE BILL

By amending the public utilities law of the District of Columbia —which is embodied in section 8 of the act mentioned in the title of this bill—the bill is intended to protect the public of the District from taxicab drivers who are financially irresponsible and unable to pay claims arising from injuries or damage done by their vehicles.

The committee believes that this necessary protection will be afforded by the terms of this bill, as amended. The proposed legislation provides that the Public Utilities Commission of the District shall have authority to require taxicab owners to post with the commission bonds or insurance policies, in such amounts as the commission may prescribe, to satisfy damage claims.

NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

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There can be no doubt that this legislation is gravely needed in the District. The taxicab business of the Nation's capital is utterly free from municipal regulation, except in regard to license tags and street stands.

On February 17, 1930, the Utilities Commission transmitted to the committee a draft of this bill. In its letter accompanying the draft the commission pointed out that its authority to regulate taxicabs had been seriously questioned by a local court decision.

In the original draft of the bill, and in amendments subsequently submitted, the commission asked that the utilities law be so amended to authorize the commission to cause taxicab owners to prove financial responsibility; to set maximum and minimum fares for taxicabs; to issue certificates of convenience and necessity to taxicab owners; and to prescribe fixed routes for busses in the District.

The Committee held extensive public hearings on the bill. Testimony was received from members of the commission, the people's counsel, the District hack inspector, representatives of various taxicab companies, officials of the National Association of Taxicab Owners, and numerous other interested individuals.

The committee found that all were agreed upon the principle of financial responsibility, while wide divergence of opinion existed as to the wisdom of other questions involved in the suggested legislation.

FURTHER STUDY REQUIRED

Because of the changing conditions in the taxicab business in the District it is probable that a study of the extent of municipal regulation should be made when these conditions have become more settled.

In the meantime, however, the committee feels that the people of the District should be allowed to continue to benefit by the low-rate cabs, but that each taxicab owner should stand ready to respond for damages done.

The amendments recommended by the committee exclude all other considerations except that of financial responsibility, and make specific the requirements for proof of such responsibility.

There is appended hereto, as part of the report, the letter from the Public Utilities Commission transmitting the draft of the bill.

PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, February 17, 1930. Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER, Chairman Committee on the District of Columbia,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C, MY DEAR SENATOR CAPPER: We are transmitting herewith a draft of suggested legislation giving the Public Utilities Commission power to require common carriers subject to its jurisdiction to make proof of their financial ability to pay judgments rendered against them as a result of their negligence.

On December 30, 1929, the commission, by its order No. 823, required all taxicab operators to make such proof, giving them an election to do so by showing adequate net assets, by bond, or by insurance. Acting under this order the commission made extensive tests of taxicabs, reviewed proof of financial responsibility of numerous operators, and issued permanent and temporary certificates of its acceptance of such proof to operators of approximately 1,210 cabs. The order, however, was contested by one operator, who alleged, inter alia, that this commission was not empowered to issue such an order, that he did not have the necessary assets and could not afford to give bond or take out insurance. Justice Alfred A. Wheat, of the District Supreme Court, on the basis of a prior decision of that court in Harlan v. Bell (Equity No. 45,752), issued a temporary restraining order, which is about to be made permanent, so that appeal may be taken from it.

The commission believes that such a requirement is necessary. It does not believe that public service should longer be intrusted to operators who are unable to demonstrate their financial responsibility. It has received numerous complaints of inability of persons injured by taxicabs to secure collectible judgments against the operators. It does not consider the requirement unduly burdensome upon the taxicab owners.

The commission believes that any doubt respecting its authority to require such protection for the public should be removed promptly by affirmative legislation.

The necessity for such regulation is emphasized by the fact that it has already been imposed in many cities throughout the country. There are, all told, 86 cities having a population of over 100,000 in 1928. In at least 72 of them taxicab operators are required to establish their financial responsibility, just as now proposed for Washington. In addition, there are also a number of cities of lesser population where the same requirement is imposed.

Paragraph 3a is included to give the commission power to fix minimum as well as maximum fares. This is a power now generally granted to regulatory commissions throughout the country. It is of importance in the District because of a threatened taxicab rate war, indications of which have already been brought to the commission's attention. The commission considers the granting of such power essential to its proper functioning in general, and necessary to enable it to cope with the present taxicab situation. Very respectfully,

MASON M. PATRICK. O

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