A-13797, JUNE 14, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 980

A-13797: Jun 14, 1926

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POSTAL SERVICE - USE OF AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT CITY MAIL CARRIERS TO THEIR ROUTES THE APPROPRIATION FOR CAR FARE AND BICYCLE ALLOWANCE CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE HIRE OF PRIVATELY OWNED OR CONTROLLED AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT CITY MAIL CARRIERS FROM THE POST OFFICE OR POSTAL STATION WHERE THE MAIL IS DISTRIBUTED TO THEIR RESPECTIVE ROUTES. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH AN AGREEMENT IN DUPLICATE WITH CITY CARRIER JOSEPH A. THIS IS THE SAME AMOUNT THAT HAS FORMERLY BEEN ALLOWED FOR CAR FARE AND BICYCLE HIRE AT THIS OFFICE. THERE IS NO STREET-CAR SERVICE AT BREMERTON. THE USE OF A BICYCLE ON THE ROUTE IN QUESTION IS NOT FEASIBLE.

A-13797, JUNE 14, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 980

POSTAL SERVICE - USE OF AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT CITY MAIL CARRIERS TO THEIR ROUTES THE APPROPRIATION FOR CAR FARE AND BICYCLE ALLOWANCE CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE HIRE OF PRIVATELY OWNED OR CONTROLLED AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT CITY MAIL CARRIERS FROM THE POST OFFICE OR POSTAL STATION WHERE THE MAIL IS DISTRIBUTED TO THEIR RESPECTIVE ROUTES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JUNE 14, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 30, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH AN AGREEMENT IN DUPLICATE WITH CITY CARRIER JOSEPH A. HENDRICK, OF THE BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, POST OFFICE, TO FURNISH A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A CARRIER WITH MAIL, ON ROUTE NO. 7, AT THE RATE OF $60 PER ANNUM, OR $5 PER MONTH. THIS IS THE SAME AMOUNT THAT HAS FORMERLY BEEN ALLOWED FOR CAR FARE AND BICYCLE HIRE AT THIS OFFICE.

THERE IS NO STREET-CAR SERVICE AT BREMERTON, AND THE USE OF A BICYCLE ON THE ROUTE IN QUESTION IS NOT FEASIBLE, FOR THE REASON THAT A TOTAL WEIGHT OF APPROXIMATELY 107 POUNDS OF MAIL PER TRIP IS CARRIED AND NO OTHER MEANS OF PUBLIC OR PRIVATE CONVEYANCE OFFERING THE SAME FACILITIES CAN BE PROCURED AT SO ADVANTAGEOUS A RATE.

THE STARTING POINT OF THE ROUTE ON WHICH THE AUTOMOBILE IS USED IS ONE MILE FROM THE POST OFFICE. THE MAIL IS TAKEN BY THE AUTOMOBILE TO A POINT MIDWAY OF THE ROUTE FROM WHICH DELIVERY IS MADE ON FOOT.

THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FOR TRANSPORTATION BY STREET CAR AND OTHER PUBLIC CONVEYANCE AND HIRE OF BICYCLES THE RENTAL OF AN AUTOMOBILE PRIVATELY OWNED BY A POSTAL EMPLOYEE CAN BE AUTHORIZED WHERE THE RATE IS MANIFESTLY ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE DEPARTMENT, WHETHER MORE OR LESS THAN THE ACTUAL COST OF THE GASOLINE, OIL, AND STORAGE OF THE CAR.

THE APPROPRIATION ITEM TO WHICH YOU REFER, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926, IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 785, AND IS AS FOLLOWS:

FOR CAR FARE AND BICYCLE ALLOWANCE, INCLUDING SPECIAL-DELIVERY CAR FARE, $1,000,000.

SEE ALSO APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 IN THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 157.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN CITIES HAVING THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO TRANSPORT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAIL CARRIERS, WITH THEIR MAIL, FROM THE POST OFFICE TO THEIR ROUTES WHERE LOCATED AT SUCH DISTANCES FROM THE POST OFFICE OR POSTAL STATION FROM WHICH THE MAIL IS DISTRIBUTED AS TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL OR MORE PRACTICABLE THAN PERMITTING THE CARRIER TO WALK. IT IS CLAIMED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT TO TRANSPORT THE CARRIER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IF THE DISTANCE TO BE TRAVELED FROM THE POST OFFICE OR POSTAL STATION TO THE CARRIER'S DISTRICT IS MORE THAN ONE-HALF MILE. SEE PAGE 97, HEARINGS ON POST OFFICE APPROPRIATION BILL, 1927. WHERE THERE ARE STREET CARS, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT CAR FARE IS ISSUED TO THE CARRIERS OR CONTRACTS ARE ENTERED INTO WITH TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE CARRIERS. WHERE IT IS FEASIBLE TO USE A BICYCLE, THE CARRIER IS GIVEN AN ALLOWANCE, IF HE SO DESIRES, IN LIEU OF STREET-CAR FARE, IN AN AMOUNT DETERMINED BY THE POSTMASTER TO BE SUFFICIENT, OR A BICYCLE IS RENTED FOR THE CARRIER'S USE UNDER FORMAL AGREEMENT. THERE APPEARS TO BE NO GENERAL ORDER OR REGULATION GOVERNING THESE MATTERS; AT LEAST, THIS OFFICE HAS NOT BEEN ADVISED OF SUCH. APPARENTLY THE AMOUNT OF CAR FARE AND BICYCLE ALLOWANCE AND THE BASIS OF PAYMENT IN INDIVIDUAL CASES IS LEFT TO THE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER. IT IS UNDERSTOOD, ALSO, THAT MAIL CARRIERS ARE SOMETIMES TRANSPORTED TO THEIR ROUTES IN GOVERNMENT OWNED OR CONTROLLED TRUCKS OR OTHER VEHICLES.

THE ITEM OF THE APPROPRIATION HERE INVOLVED IS ONE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL CARRIERS TO THEIR ROUTES BY CERTAIN SPECIFIED MEANS NOT INCLUDING AUTOMOBILES. FURTHERMORE, THE APPROPRIATION DOES NOT PROVIDE EXPRESSLY FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES, AND THE ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT IF AN APPROPRIATION DOES NOT SO PROVIDE, THE USE THEREOF FOR HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR USE BY AN EMPLOYEE IN OR ABOUT HIS OFFICIAL STATION, WHETHER FOR A CONTINUOUS PERIOD WITH A DRIVER OR FOR ANY PERIOD WITHOUT A DRIVER AND UNDER THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEE, WOULD BE PROHIBITED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 518. 22 COMP. DEC. 188; 4 COMP. GEN. 836; 5 ID. 183; DECISION OF JUNE 1, 1926, A-14264.

EVEN IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO VIEW THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE CARRIERS TO THEIR DISTRICTS AS OFFICIAL TRAVEL AWAY FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS, THE CARRIERS COULD BE ALLOWED FOR THE USE OF THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES ONLY REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENDITURES ACTUALLY MADE FOR GASOLINE, OIL, ETC. 1 COMP. GEN. 681; 2 ID. 233; ID. 339; 4 ID. 116. HOWEVER, SUCH REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED ONLY UNDER APPROPRIATIONS GENERALLY AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES OR SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION BY PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES. IN THE PRESENT INSTANCE THE APPROPRIATION SPECIFIES THE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, VIZ, STREET CARS AND BICYCLES, AND ALLOWANCES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION BY ANY OTHER MEANS. WHILE IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT, AS A PRACTICAL PROPOSITION UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, THE USE OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES MIGHT BE PREFERABLE OR EVEN MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, SUCH CONSIDERATIONS CAN NOT OPERATE TO EXTEND THE AVAILABILITY OF AN APPROPRIATION THE OBJECTS OF WHICH ARE SPECIFICALLY DEFINED AS IN THIS INSTANCE, NOR TO REMOVE THE RESTRICTIONS CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, SUPRA. 5 COMP. GEN. 582.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR STREET-CAR FARE AND BICYCLE ALLOWANCE IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR HIRE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED OR CONTROLLED AUTOMOBILES OF CITY MAIL CARRIERS TO TRANSPORT THEM TO THEIR ROUTES.