A-61298, APRIL 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 752

A-61298: Apr 9, 1935

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IS UNAUTHORIZED. THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS COVERED BY TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS J 362957. ALL OF THE REQUESTS WERE DRAWN UPON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY. WERE PRESENTED. THE CHARGES ORIGINALLY CLAIMED WERE IN ERROR IN APPLYING A COACH FARE TO ANY PORTION OF THE JOURNEY FOR THE REASON THAT THERE WERE NO COACH FARES AVAILABLE BETWEEN THESE POINTS. THAT INASMUCH AS THE REQUESTS CALLED FOR THROUGH TICKETS AND THROUGH TICKETS WERE FURNISHED. CHARGE WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE ONLY REGULAR THROUGH RATE THAT IS AVAILABLE. THE CITED CASE INVOLVED TRAVEL OF GROUPS OR PARTIES BETWEEN POINTS BETWEEN WHICH NO THROUGH PARTY FARES WERE PUBLISHED. THERE WAS THUS A DISAPPROVAL OF THE CONSTRUCTED THROUGH PARTY FARE BETWEEN POINTS BETWEEN WHICH NO PARTY FARE WAS PUBLISHED.

A-61298, APRIL 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 752

TRANSPORTATION - FARES - IN EXCESS OF LOWEST COMBINATION WHERE A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST CALLS FOR TRANSPORTATION AT LOWEST RATE AVAILABLE FOR COACH SERVICE, PAYMENT THEREFOR FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS ON THE BASIS OF A THROUGH FARE IN EXCESS OF A COMBINATION OF FARES, OVER AN INTERMEDIATE POINT, AFFORDING THE SERVICE REQUIRED, IS UNAUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE AUDITOR, PASSENGER RECEIPTS, GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, APRIL 9, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE MATTER OF YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS P 2531-A FOR $41, P-2732-A FOR $2.79, AND P-2814-A FOR $16.88, TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE DISBURSING CLERK FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AT THE UNITED STATES PENITENTIARY, MCNEIL ISLAND, WASH., AND REPRESENTING ADDITIONAL CHARGES CLAIMED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DISCHARGED PRISONERS FROM TACOMA, WASH., TO PHOENIX, ARIZ., TUCSON, ARIZ., AND FORT WORTH, TEX., IN DECEMBER 1931, AND FEBRUARY AND MARCH 1932. THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS COVERED BY TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS J 362957, DECEMBER 4, 1931, AND J- 362969, DECEMBER 10, 1931, TO PHOENIX; J-362958, DECEMBER 6, 1931, AND J- 376349, MARCH 3, 1932, TO TUCSON; AND J-376323, FEBRUARY 15, 1932, TO FORT WORTH. ALL OF THE REQUESTS WERE DRAWN UPON THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY, AND EACH CALLED FOR TRANSPORTATION OF ONE PERSON AT THE LOWEST RATE AND SPECIFIED THE CLASS OF SERVICE DESIRED AS "COACH, IF AVAILABLE.'

THE ORIGINAL BILLS COVERING THIS SERVICE CLAIMED CHARGES ON THE BASIS OF FARES OF $45.49 TO PHOENIX, $47.33 TO TUCSON, AND $80.72 TO FORT WORTH, SAID FARES BEING CONSTRUCTED APPARENTLY BY COMBINING COACH AND FIRST-CLASS FARES AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE TACOMA TO PHOENIX:

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO PORTLAND --------------------------------- $5.21

COACH FARE TO LOS ANGELES ------------------------------------ 24.00

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO PHOENIX ---------------------------------- 16.28

TOTAL ------------------------------------------------------ 45.49

------- TACOMA TO TUCSON:

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO PORTLAND ---------------------------------5.21

COACH FARE TO LOS ANGELES ------------------------------------ 24.00

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO TUCSON ----------------------------------- 18.12

TOTAL ------------------------------------------------------ 47.33

------- TACOMA TO FORT WORTH:

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO PORTLAND --------------------------------- 5.21

COACH FARE TO LOS ANGELES ------------------------------------ 24.00

FIRST-CLASS FARE TO FORT WORTH ------------------------------- 51.51

TOTAL ------------------------------------------------------ 80.72

IN THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING CLERK, WHO PAID THE CHARGES SO CLAIMED, THIS OFFICE SUSPENDED CREDIT IN THE AMOUNTS OF 96 CENTS PER PASSENGER FOR THE TRAVEL TO PHOENIX, $2.12 PER PASSENGER TO TUCSON, AND $25.51 PER PASSENGER TO FORT WORTH, TOTAL $31.67, ON THE BASIS OF FARES CONSTRUCTED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE TACOMA TO PHOENIX:

FIRST CLASS TO PORTLAND -------------------------------------- $5.21

COACH FARE TO LOS ANGELES ------------------------------------ 24.00

FIRST CLASS TO PHOENIX --------------------------------------- 15.32

44.53

------- TACOMA TO TUCSON:

FIRST CLASS TO PORTLAND -------------------------------------- 5.21

COACH FARE TO SAN FRANCISCO ---------------------------------- 15.00

COACH FARE TO TUCSON ----------------------------------------- 25.00

45.21

------- TACOMA TO FORT WORTH:

FIRST CLASS TO PORTLAND -------------------------------------- 5.21

COACH FARE TO SAN FRANCISCO ---------------------------------- 15.00

COACH FARE TO FORT WORTH ------------------------------------- 35.00

55.21

UPON REQUEST OF THE DISBURSING CLERK FOR REMITTANCE OF THE OVERPAYMENTS, THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS ABOVE NOTED, WERE PRESENTED. IN EXPLANATION OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS, YOUR LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL STATES, IN EFFECT, THAT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS CALLED FOR COACH TICKETS IF AVAILABLE, THE CHARGES ORIGINALLY CLAIMED WERE IN ERROR IN APPLYING A COACH FARE TO ANY PORTION OF THE JOURNEY FOR THE REASON THAT THERE WERE NO COACH FARES AVAILABLE BETWEEN THESE POINTS; THAT INASMUCH AS THE REQUESTS CALLED FOR THROUGH TICKETS AND THROUGH TICKETS WERE FURNISHED, THE ,CHARGE WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE ONLY REGULAR THROUGH RATE THAT IS AVAILABLE, THAT WOULD BE THE FIRST-CLASS RATE. * * *" IN SUPPORT OF THIS CONTENTION YOU CITE AND QUOTE FROM A.T. AND S.F. RAILWAY V. UNITED STATES, 256 U.S. 205.

THE CITED CASE INVOLVED TRAVEL OF GROUPS OR PARTIES BETWEEN POINTS BETWEEN WHICH NO THROUGH PARTY FARES WERE PUBLISHED. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS ADJUSTED THE ACCOUNTS ON THE BASIS OF COMBINING THE INDIVIDUAL FARE FOR A PART OF THE JOURNEY, MULTIPLIED BY THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS CONCERNED, WITH A PARTY FARE FOR THE REMAINDER, THE CHARGES SO RESULTING BEING LESS THAN THE CHARGES CLAIMED, ON THE BASIS OF THE THROUGH INDIVIDUAL FARE. THERE WAS THUS A DISAPPROVAL OF THE CONSTRUCTED THROUGH PARTY FARE BETWEEN POINTS BETWEEN WHICH NO PARTY FARE WAS PUBLISHED. OTHER WORDS, THE TARIFF DID NOT PUBLISH A THROUGH PARTY FARE OR PARTIES FARES TO AND FROM AN INTERMEDIATE POINT, AND SINCE THE ONLY THROUGH FARES WERE INDIVIDUAL FARES, IT WAS HELD THAT INDIVIDUAL FARES MUST BE APPLIED TO THE THROUGH SERVICE THERE CONCERNED.

THE INSTANT CASE PRESENTS A DIFFERENT SITUATION. THE FARES USED IN DETERMINING THE SUSPENSION IN THE DISBURSING CLERK'S ACCOUNT, AS WELL AS THE FARES USED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS, ARE ALL INDIVIDUAL FARES. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER UPON A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST WHICH CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE SERVICE DESIRED WAS TRANSPORTATION IN COACHES AT THE LOWEST RATE THE CHARGES PROPERLY APPLICABLE ARE THOSE RESULTING FROM THE HIGHER FIRST CLASS FARE PUBLISHED AS APPLYING FROM ORIGIN TO DESTINATION, OR A LOWER FARE CONSTRUCTED BY COMBINING FARES TO AND FROM AN INTERMEDIATE POINT APPLICABLE TO THE SERVICE REQUESTED AND PERFORMED.

THE FIRST-CLASS FARE OF $5.21 TO PORTLAND ENTITLED THE TRAVELER TO TRANSPORTATION IN COACHES BETWEEN TACOMA AND PORTLAND. APPARENTLY THE FIRST-CLASS FARE WAS THE LOWEST FARE APPLICABLE FOR COACH TRAVEL BETWEEN THOSE POINTS. HOWEVER, FROM PORTLAND TO SAN FRANCISCO, THERE WAS A FIRST- CLASS FARE AND A COACH FARE, EITHER OF WHICH ENTITLED THE PASSENGER TO TRAVEL IN COACHES BETWEEN THOSE POINTS, THE LATTER BEING THE LOWER FARE. LIKEWISE, THE SAME SITUATION OBTAINS FOR COACH TRAVEL BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND TUCSON, OR FORT WORTH. EACH OF THESE FARES AFFORDS BETWEEN THE POINTS NOTED THE ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES THAT THE TRAVELER DESIRED. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS HAVE HELD FOR MANY YEARS THAT WHERE A THROUGH FARE EXCEEDS THE AGGREGATE OF THE INTERMEDIATES, THE CHARGES FOR GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE LOWER COMBINATION AND THAT THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS IS UNAUTHORIZED FOR PAYMENT OF CHARGES NECESSITATING SUBSEQUENT REPARATION PROCEEDINGS TO RECOVER THE EXCESS.

IF IT BE URGED THAT THE COACH FARE AND THE FIRST-CLASS FARE ARE NOT LIKE FARES AND THAT, THEREFORE, A THROUGH FIRST-CLASS FARE IN EXCESS OF SUCH A COMBINATION IS NOT AN UNLAWFUL FARE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT SUCH CONCLUSION WOULD BE PREDICATED UPON THE PROPOSITION THAT THE PUBLISHED THROUGH FIRST- CLASS FARE AFFORDS PRIVILEGES WHICH THE COACH FARE DOES NOT AFFORD. THE BASIS OF SUCH A DISTINCTION, HOWEVER, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THERE IS NO PUBLISHED THROUGH FARE AFFORDING ONLY THE SERVICE AND PRIVILEGES WHICH THE TRAVELER DESIRED AND IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE LAWFUL FARE FOR THE SERVICES REQUESTED TO BE FURNISHED IS THE LOWEST COMBINATION AFFORDING SUCH SERVICE.

THERE APPEARS NO REASON, THEREFORE, WHY, SINCE THE REQUESTS CLEARLY SHOWED THAT TRAVEL IN COACHES AT LOWEST RATES AVAILABLE WAS REQUIRED, THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE CHARGED ANY MORE THAN THE LOWEST RATE APPLICABLE TO SUCH SERVICE. ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIMS PRESENTED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS ARE DISALLOWED AND THERE WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM SOME UNPAID BILL THE SUM OF $31.67, REPRESENTING THE OVERPAYMENTS AS HEREIN STATED.