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CAMBRIDGE, MASS

The Commission.

/ LITTAUER LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY

COMMISSIONERS.

R. H. M. DAVIDSON, Chairman, Commissioner;
HENRY E. DAY, Commissioner;

JOHN M. BRYAN, Commissioner;

JOHN L. NEELEY, JR., Secretary.

HENRY E. DAY, Chairman, Commissioner;
JOHN M. BRAN, Commissioner;
JOHN L. MORGAN, Commissioner;

JOHN L. NEELEY, JR., Secretary.

HENRY E. DAY, Chairman, Commissioner;
JOHN M. BRYAN, Commissioner;
JOHN L. MORGAN, Commissioner;

1. JOHN L. NEELEY, JR., Secretary.

HENRY E. Day, Chairman, Commissioner;
JOHN M. BRYAN, Commissioner;

JOHN L. MORGAN, Commissioner;

ROYAL C. DUNN, Secretary.

July 1, 1897,

to January 3, 1899.

January 3,
1899, to
January
S. 1991.

New term beginning

January

J 8, 1901.

1, Resigned October 1, 1901. and Royal C Dunn elected as his successor.

OFFICE OF THE RAILROAD COMMISSION,
STATE OF FLORIDA,

TALLAHASSEE, March 1,1902.

To His Excellency,

W. S. JENNINGS,

Governor of Florida:

SIR: In obedience to the requirements of Section 16 of the Act creating the Railroad Commission of Florida, we have the honor to submit to you the fifth annual report of the transaction of this Commission for the period beginning March 1, 1901, and ending February 28, 1902.

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The transactions of this office, which the statute directs shall be annually reported, include everything done or attempted to be done by the Commissioners in the discharge of their duties under the law. A record of each day's proceedings is kept, which shows every transaction, involving a wide range of questions connected with the transwortation of persons and property by railroad. Thes embrace the revising, allowing and adopting, for the us of each railroad company doing business wholly or part within the State, of schedules of just and reasonab.. rates of fare and charges for the transportation of passengers, freights and cars over the railroads operated by it in this State; the making of just and reasonable rules and regulations to be observed by said railroad companies "as to charges at any and all points for the neces sary handling and delivery of all kinds of freight and transportation of passengers;" the prevention of unjust discriminations between persons and localities; requiring railroad companies to establish and maintain adequate and suitable freight and passenger depots; the erection and use of union passenger depots by two or more railroads entering the same town. Also, the preparation of forms for annual or other reports, which the law requires railroads to make to the Commission to enable it to prescribe just rates, fares and charges, and rules and regulations, and from which to compile and tabulate statistics relating to the organization, capitalization, traf

fic, earnings, expenses, etc., of the different railroad companies in this State; the hearing and investigating and deciding all complaints against railroads for violations of the statute or the rules and regulations of the Commission made thereunder; the enforcing of the same through the courts of the state, by instituting suits in the name of the State through the Attorney-General or State Attorney, for the penalties prescribed by law for refusal to comply therewith. Full and complete records and files of all letters, complaints, schedules, rules and regulations, investigations and orders, together with the monthly and annual returns, rate sheets, joint tariffs, and circular orders of railroad companies, and all other papers and communications issued by or filed with or submitted to the Commission, are kept by the Commission in systematic order for ready reference of the variety and volume of which the public probably have no adequate conception.

ADJUSTMENT OF CLAIMS AND CORRECTION OF ABUSES.

The Commissioners have been impressed and ofttimes embarrassed at the manifest hesitation of many persons who have suffered wrongs at the hands of railroads, in making complaints to the Commission, so that such wrongs may be corrected. It is largely for this purpose that this department of the State government is in existence, and those persons who have acquainted themselves with the powers and duties of the Commission, and the very simple process of obtaining redress for wrongs committed by the railroads, through the medium of the Commission, have availed themselves of the advantages here offered, with the result that in a large majority of cases our adjustment of complaints submitted have been accepted by the complainants with expressions of entire satisfaction. If a shipper or consignee or passenger has been overcharged by a railroad company, he need only addres a letter to the Commission at Tallahassee, stating his complaint in his own way. In ordinary cases, the services of a lawyer are quite superfluous, and the only expense to be incurred by the complaint would be a few cents for postage.

Complaints are immediately investigated, and if ascer

tained to be well founded, the overcharge is directed to be refunded or the unjust discrimination to be discontinued. If the order is not obeyed, the matter is placed in the hands of the Attorney-General or the State Attorney for suit in the name of the State, as provided by law. So long as the subject matter of a complaint is within the jurisdiction vested by law in the Railroad Commission, neither the amount of money involved-be it large or small-nor the nature of the complaint will in terfere with its adjustment by the Commission with all due dispatch. Again, this Commission is in open session every week day of the year, and will at any time entertain complaints submitted to it.

These observations are made in the hope that a greater number of the people will avail themselves of the services of the Commission to correct wrongs coming within its jurisdiction. In proportion as this is done will the usefulness of the Commission increase. This board has no officer or agent to travel over the State in search of claims and complaints for adjustment; but when these are submitted to us they are treated with as much consideration as would be given them by aany of the courts, and without the necessary delay and expense which us ually attend proceedings in the courts.

RAILROADS PROSPEROUS.

During the past year there has been unusual activity along all lines of business coming under the supervision of this Commission. It has been a period of uncommon prosperity for practically all the transportation companies. The heavy deficits heretofore exhibited by several roads are shown by the reports for the past year to have either been converted into net earnings or the deficits materially diminished, as compared with previous years. The roads as a whole show handsome net earnings from operation as a result of the past year's traffic. The total increase in net earnings from operation of the railroads reporting for the year ending June 30, 1901, over the year ending June 30, 1900, was $347,241.09, or 18.11 per cent. This result, in view of the many reductions in rates and classification by the Commission in the past few years, is very gratifying, and it is confidently hoped that this satisfactory condition will continue.

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