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[Okla sonably good and efficient condition and the switchboard is in good and workable order with the exception of some worn jack sleeves which should be replaced.
The town of Manitou and the surrounding community is receiving good telephone service and the concern rendering same is entitled to a reasonable return upon its investment after all usual deductions.
Wherefore, premises considered and the Commission being fully advised,
It is, therefore, ordered, That the Manitou Telephone Company be permitted to charge $4.80 per annum, payable in advance, for switching rural telephone service, or at the option of the subscriber $1.25 per quarter, payable in advance, the other provisions of the Commission's switching orders, journal entry in Cause No. 3556* and -journal entry No. 1007+ remaining in effect; this order to date from date of application, January 1, 1924.
Done at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, this twenty-ninth day of January, 1924.
* See Commission Leaflet No. 125, p. 1362. | See Commission Leaflet No. 143, p. 844.
The Public Service Commission.
HIGHWAY EMERGENCY SERVICE, Inc. v. THE BELL TELE
PHONE COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Complaint Docket No. 5497.
Decided January 28, 1924.
Highway Emergency Telephone Service to be Furnished by Corporation not in Telephone Business Disapproved — Rule that Applications for Service Must be Made by Person
Desiring to Use the Same Upheld.
REPORT. In this proceeding an order is sought to compel the respondent to install its telephones, and associated apparatus, in boxes or booths owned by the complainant and attached to posts located on private property adjacent to a public highway along which the respondent maintains and operates a telephone line. The respondent contends that the application should be refused because the service is not desired for the use of the complainant and those associated with it, but solely in order that such service may be resold by the complainant to persons contracting with it for access to such boxes or booths. Respondent therefore contends that such an order as is prayed for by complainant would be unlawful, as there rests upon the respondent no legal duty to render the particular type of service sought.
The complainant is a domestic corporation, formed for the purpose
of acquiring by purchase, lease or otherwise, property along and adjacent to public highways of this Commonwealth, establishing thereon telephone booths or boxes with only such telephone facilities therein as may be necessary to transmit and receive messages over lines of duly organized telephone companies connected with said facilities; with the right to contract for the use of said facilities in said booths or boxes with such persons as may desire the same; to establish and maintain comfort sta[Pen tions upon the company's property with the right to contract for the use of said stations with such persons as may desire to use the same; and with the right to transact all business necessary to carry out the said purposes of the company, or which may be incident or cognate thereto, said rights not to include the right to transact a general telephone business within the Commonwealth."
The complainant locates its boxes or booths about a mile apart and contracts with a regular telephone company for the installation therein of telephone instruments connected with the nearest exchange of such telephone company. It also arranges with physicians and garage owners to respond to emergency calls. A list containing the names and telephone numbers of such physicians and garage owners is placed in the booths. The complainant affords access to said boxes to any person desiring the same by supplying him with a key which will open any and all of complainant's boxes or booths. By contracts with the Cumberland Valley Telephone Company and York Telephone Company, the complainant has established its service from Harrisburg to York Springs, which is in operation, and it has erected 9 booths adjacent to the highway from York Springs to Gettysburg and applied for service therein to the respondent, which is the only telephone company having a line on that portion of the State Highway.
It is to be noted that the complainant does not desire the telephone service for its own use, either to send or receive messages. It desires such service solely for the use of persons to whom it has sold or rented keys — chiefly automobilists using the highways.
The complainant pays the telephone companies their charges for their facilities and service and receives its chief, if not only, income from the sale or rental of its keys giving access to its boxes or booths. In other words, the complainant furnishes certain members of the public access to telephone instruments for the purpose of telephonic communication which is exactly what the respondent is organized and undertakes to do as its primary duty under the law.
C. L. 147]
Such service as the complainant here demands is not now being rendered, nor has it ever been rendered, by the respondent, nor is there any provision therefor in the tariffs and schedules of the respondent as filed with this Commission and under which it has developed its system and business in this State. The respondent sets forth that in its schedules there are two general classifications of service: the first, where the respondent places its telephones and facilities on the premises, either business or residence, of the subscriber for the use of the subscriber and of those related to him, as members of his family, guests, or business associates; and the second, where the respondent itself establishes its own pay stations at convenient locations accessible to members of the public desiring telephone service when not on their own premises. In both of these classes of service the respondent supplies all of the facilities necessary for telephonic communication and itself is in direct privity and contractual relations with the users or consumers of its service.
It was suggested at the hearing and stressed in the argument that the respondent now permits the resale of its service to the guests of hotels; but it is obvious that the conditions of hotel life and the relationship between the proprietor of a hotel and those who are temporarily or permanently residing in his rooms, are wholly different from those between the complainant and members of the public using the highways. Under present-day conditions, and in order that it may perform its function in our social system, it is necessary that a hotel be equipped for telephone service for the use of the proprietor or management and also for the use of guests occupying rooms in the hotel. A telephone in a sleeping room of a hotel is required by the guests for the purpose of communicating telephonically with the proprietor or management and also, on occasion, with other persons outside of the hotel. As the proprietor controls the premises, the telephone company must contract with him no matter who uses the service. On the other hand, it is not essential that the [Penn. respondent contract with the complainant or with any other middle-man in order to afford access to its telephones to the users of the highways even in cases of emergency, because if there be a reasonable need for such emergency service, the respondent can itself provide booths or boxes, install telephones and directories therein and afford access thereto by means of keys, coins, or other devices; and this the respondent should be able to do more efficiently and at less cost than can the complainant, because the respondent already has the rights-of-way and poles along the highways on which it can install said boxes, and it has a large commercial organization in constant contact with the public by means of which it can make a wide distribution of keys or others means of access to such boxes.
While the respondent claims that the classes of service now provided in its schedules amply meet the needs of all classes of the public for telephone service, it admits that it could, and should, introduce new classifications if the needs of the public so require.
To show its efforts to keep abreast of conditions, the respondent produced evidence that its representatives were in constant contact with automobile clubs and others particularly interested in the use by the public of the highways. Furthermore, that during the past ten years the respondent had investigated the results of operation of all companies similar to the complainant who had established highway emergency service along various highways in the States of California, Massachusetts, Texas, Colorado, New York, Connecticut, Ohio and Maryland, and that in every instance the service was abandoned after the first year, which indicated that such service appeared attractive as a potentiality but disappeared because of a lack of continuing need or demand therefor.
Accepting this evidence at its face value and assuming that it fairly represents the results that have actually been experienced in the installation of such emergency highway telephone service, there is but one conclusion to be drawn. That is, that the telephone company is sub