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traffic matters pertaining to the community as a whole, to bring to a successful conclusion, thru friendly coöperation, all differences between members of his organization and the carriers; and, where this cannot be done, to bring legal action to compel an equitable and favorable decision for the benefit of his community. In the larger cities the general rule is to handle no complaint which does not involve a general principle, but elsewhere the prevailing custom is to handle all complaints upon request. The reason for the difference is that in the smaller cities personal service as well as community service is expected by those who support the bureau.
A list of possible kinds of service, which it must be understood can be extended or limited to fit the particular need, is as follows:
Quotation of rates.
Supervision of express and parcels post service and rates. 4
The traffic commissioner should, from a transportation standpoint, be a market analyst. His views and other live traffic news should be passed on to his clientele thru a weekly or semimonthly bulletin. It is obvi- . ous that the scope of the activities of a conscientious
and ingenious traffio commissioner cannot be specifically defined, for he has a rich field in which to exercise initiative, invention, and adaptability. One point which must be borne in nind is the quasi-municipal nature of a chamber of commerce, commercial club, or trade body, which makes the work of the commissioner of the greatest public benefit.
First consideration should be given to opportunities to secure better service or terminal facilities, and to general rate adjustments which affect all shippers. Individual matters, such as rate quotations, freight bill audits, and claim adjustments, which affect only individual shippers, may be regarded as of secondary importance. Practically all organization traffic bureaus confine their efforts, as far as possible, to indorsing only those propositions which are for the greatest good of the greatest number.
In this respect, they differ from a traffic department formed and financed by shippers only, or one conducted by a single firm or corporation. In the latter case the primary, and perhaps the sole, object is to serve the interest of the individual shipper, whereas, in the case of community organization traffic bureaus, the primary object is the protection of the interests of the community as a shipping and commercial center, while service to an individual shipper is of secondary importance. When, however, a special charge is made for the traffic service by the community bureau, the rights of the individual shipper are given attention equal to that devoted to the broader and larger problems.
METHODS OF FINANCING
Like all other business organizations, the chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and commercial clubs are confronted with their problems of finance, and this problem must be considered when the installation of a traffic or transportation bureau is contemplated. Some organizations, especially in large cities, finance the traffic bureau entirely out of the general fund; others, especially in small cities, supplement the general fund with a special subscription from the users of the bureau; others, but only a few, rely entirely on special subscriptions.
Of the 60 organizations answering a questionnaire sent out by the Organization Service Bureau of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, but 13 made any charge for traffic service. No charge was made in the largest cities. Only 2 of the 8 organizations in cities of 250,000 to 500,000 made a special charge, and in cities of 100,000 to 250,000, 5 of the 15 made a charge; in 4 out of 13 cities of from 50,000 to 100,000, a charge was made; and in all but 4 out of 17 cities of less than 100,000 population a charge was made.
Of the 13 organizations making a charge for service, only 6 were financed out of the general fund. Summarized reports of some bureaus follow:
Buffalo Chamber of Commerce
The traffic service bureau is maintained thru subscription, but is supported, in part, out of the general funds of the chamber, tho it is supposed to be selfsupporting. The subscription fees in support of the bureau are predicated upon a fixed cost for each type of operation performed. This is determined on the basis of the total cost of operation of the bureau for one year for the various services performed, apportioned according to the expense involved in each operation and reduced to a basis of cost for each individual operation.
Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Charges are made on the basis of amount of freight paid, nonmembers being charged full-rate and members half-rate. There are three schedules of charges : (1) for the checking of freight and express bills by the week or month, and the preparation of claims for all overcharges, such claims to be presented and followed up by the subscribers; (2) for the same service as (1), plus the presentation and prosecution of claims by the chamber; (3) for the same service as (2), plus the preparation and prosecution of all claims for lost or damaged goods, the handling of a limited number of tracers, and any other special service which may be added to the department during the year.
The schedule of fees is, respectively, $20, $30, and $80 a year for the three classes of service for those paying $1,000 freight a year, and this is graduated to $270, $405, and $1,080 a year for those paying $100,000 freight a year. The bureau is in process of development, and complete plans have not been determined.
Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
Members holding four or more plural memberships participate in service of every character without additional charge. Members holding less than four memberships or subscribing less than $100 annually pay for service. The rules for the latter are: Claims are handled for 25 cents each, and, if collected, a charge will be assessed of 10 per cent of the amount collected, less the handling charge. A flat rate of 10 cents each will be assessed for tracing delayed freight and express shipments. A flat rate of 10 cents per bill will be charged for auditing freight and express bills. If individual cases are handled before the Interstate Commerce or public service commissions, or if classification adjustments require special attention and necessitate the filing of a brief or a formal complaint and going before the Commission in person, there is a charge for actual expenses, regardless of the number of memberships held.
Sioux Falls Commercial Club The traffic bureau is organized and maintained by subscriptions to a special fund by the larger shipping interests of the Commercial Club. The finances and activities of the organization are directed by a regularly elected board of directors of seven members. The subscriptions are made in the form of guarantees, and the guarantee required is determined according to the size and interest of the firm. The minimum guarantee is $50 per year, and the maximum is $150. The subscribers are assessed 25 per cent at the beginning of each year, and subsequent assessments are made as expenses are incurred, in any amount under the maximum. Last year the total amount assessed was 75 per cent of the amount subscribed.
These are typical illustrations of the systems used when special charges are made. It is significant, how