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In his introduction to this work, the author states that the literature of the subject, both political and economic, as well as legal, appears to be well-nigh inexhaustible, yet there seems room for a further discussion of certain features of the Act to Regulate Commerce.
The findings of the Interstate Commerce Commission to date fill some forty-odd volumes. The decisions of the lower federal courts upon this act are only less voluminous. On the other hand, the decisions of the Supreme Court, which constitute the last word on the subject, have often not been treated by writers on this subject with a due measure of importance.
STATE COMMISSION REPORTS
The concern should also make an effort to secure copies of the State Public Utility Commission reports of the state in which they are located. Many important cases come before such tribunals and a perusal of the decisions and orders entered will often be suggestive of some line of action on similar cases that may be pending
In conclusion, lists of works on railway economics and transportation problems may be secured from booksellers from which selections may be made for addition to the departmental library.
Number of Tariffs-Individual Requirements-Request
NUMBER OF TARIFFS
The freight-rate schedules of transportation companies, or tariffs, as they are commonly styled, correspond with industrial catalogs, or price lists, since they set forth the kind and quality of service offered by the transportation company, and the varying costs attaching to each.
It is stated that at the present time there are in effect about 400,000 tariffs applicable on freight traffic that is being handled by our transportation companies. The application on points between which these schedules apply is, of course, confined to different sections of the country.
The number of tariffs applying from a given shipping point to various destinations thruout the country is inconsiderable as contrasted with the number of those in effect, and as a consequence the industry can quite easily maintain a tariff file which is well adapted to its particular requirements without a disproportionate expenditure. To accommodate such a number of tariffs and to make provisions for the storing of the superseded issues from time to time, if all of the tariffs are necessary, would require a building of considerable proportions for that purpose alone.
The Interstate Commerce Commission at Washington, D. C., is the only agency that attempts to maintain a complete file of all schedules that are or have been applicable on interstate traffic, and it does so because it is charged with that duty by the provisions of the Act to Regulate Commerce.
Transportation companies readily supply tariffs to bona fide shippers. Unfortunately, however, some of the shippers in the past have used lists of tariffs filed by the common carriers with federal and state authorities, and selected at random, numbers of tariffs which did not apply to their particular use, and then requested that they be used by the carrier. For this reason, publications are not distributed now with as free a hand as heretofore.
An iron industry has no use for tariffs applying on live stock. A request to the tariff issuing officer for tariffs applying on nonallied traffic should usually be accompanied by the reason for its need.
The number of tariffs required depends upon the amount of traffic and whether the traffic be of a general or a specific nature. A firm specializing in rough iron work will not have need for as many tariff publications as a wholesale grocery jobber, since the specific tariffs on iron and steel articles will, for the most part, suffice to cover his shipments, whereas a wholesale grocer has need of both commodity and class tariffs. A trained traffic man will have a general knowledge of the tariffs indispensable to his business and will secure them from the issuing agent or official.
In securing these publications, it is desirable to design a form which may be easily filled in by a typist or junior clerk. The form illustrated in Fig. 7 has proved satisfactory, as one or a half dozen tariffs may be requested at once. The postal card form reduces labor and postage.
Blank spaces are left for the name, title, railroad connection, and address of the officer or association agent on whom the request is made. In the body of the card is to be inserted the I. C. C. number of the schedule, if known, the railroad or committee number, if known, and the class of traffic that the tariff
A memorandum of the tariffs requested by this method can be arranged by date of request. Under date of February 8 would be tabulated the name of all the lines on whom request was made, and under each line the number of the publications requested. As the tariffs come in, they may be checked off this memorandum, and when all are received, the memorandum may be destroyed. Sometimes it is necessary to send a second request for a tariff. If this is not successful, a personal letter is sent.
BUILDING UP A WORKING FILE
The following plan has been successfully employed in building up a working file of tariffs: The agent
Will you kindly furnish us copies of your publications enumerated below: I. C. C. No.
placing our name on your mailing list for supplements thereto and reissues thereof, obliging
116 S. Michigan Avenue
Fig. 7.-A Tariff Request Form