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This entry was published on 2014-09-22
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SECTION 159
Complaints as to rates, fares and service
Transportation (TRA) CHAPTER 61-A, ARTICLE 7
§ 159. Complaints as to rates, fares and service. 1. Upon the
complaint in writing of the county executive or board of supervisors of
a county, the mayor of a city, the trustees or mayor of a village or the
town board of a town in which a common carrier of passengers by motor
vehicle is authorized to operate, or upon the complaint in writing of
not less than twenty-five persons in any such municipality, or upon
complaint of a common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle supplying
such service, as to the rates, fares or charges demanded, received or
collected, or as to the methods employed in furnishing such service or
as to the amount of service furnished or as to extension of a route or
routes, the commissioner or a representative of the commissioner may
inspect the property, equipment and appliances and methods used by such
common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle in furnishing such
service, and may cause an investigation as to the necessity of any
proposed extensions, and may examine or cause to be examined the books
and papers of such common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle
pertaining to such service in such municipality. The form and contents
of complaints made as provided in this section shall be prescribed by
the commissioner. Such complaints shall be signed by the officers, or by
the persons making them, who must add to their signatures their places
of residence, by street and number, if any.

2. Before proceeding under a complaint presented as provided in
subdivision one of this section, the commissioner shall cause notice of
such complaint, and the purpose thereof, to be served upon the common
carrier of passengers by motor vehicle affected thereby. Such common
carrier of passengers by motor vehicle shall have an opportunity to be
heard in respect to the matters complained of at a time and place to be
specified in such notice. An investigation may be instituted by the
commissioner as to any matter of which complaint may be made, as
provided in subdivision one of this section, or to ascertain the facts
requisite to the exercise of any powers. After a hearing and after such
an investigation as shall have been made, the commissioner may, by
order, fix the just and reasonable rates, fares and charges to be
charged by the common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle for the
service to be furnished and the amount of service furnished, and may
order such extension of an existing route or routes as is deemed
necessary, and may order such improvement in such service, or in the
methods employed by such common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle
as will be adequate, just and reasonable. Any change in rates, fares,
charges, routes or amount of service shall be upon such terms,
conditions or safeguards as the commissioner may prescribe. If it shall
be made to appear to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the
public interest requires a change in rates, fares, charges, routes or
service or that such change is necessary for the purpose of providing
adequate and efficient service, or for the preservation of the property,
the commissioner, upon such terms, conditions or safeguards as are
deemed proper, may authorize an immediate, reasonable, temporary
increase or decrease in such rates, fares, charges, routes or service
pending a final determination of the rates, fares, charges, routes and
service to be thereafter charged by such common carrier of passengers by
motor vehicle. The terms, conditions or safeguards prescribed may
include provisions for the purposes for which the additional revenue
derived from any such temporary increase may be expended and for the
impounding thereof until the same shall be applied to the purposes so
specified. The rate or fare fixed by the commissioner under this section
shall be the rate or fare to be charged by such common carrier of
passengers by motor vehicle for the service to be furnished until the
commissioner shall fix in the manner heretofore described a higher or
lower rate or fare to be thereafter charged. In determining the rates
and fares to be charged or the service to be furnished or the necessity
of extension of an existing route or routes, the commissioner may
consider all facts which have any bearing upon a proper determination of
the question although not set forth in the complaint and not within the
allegations contained therein, with due regard among other things to
revenue levels that are necessary and adequate under efficient
management to cover total operating expenses plus a reasonable profit.
At any hearing involving a rate, the burden of proof to show that the
change in rate or fare if proposed by the common carrier of passengers
by motor vehicle, or that the existing rate or fare, if on motion of the
commissioner or in a complaint filed with the commissioner it is
proposed to reduce the rate or fare, is just and reasonable shall be
upon the common carrier of passengers by motor vehicle and the
commissioner may give to the hearing and decision of such questions
preference over all other questions pending and decide the same as
speedily as possible.