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Mr. VOGT. This has obviously been somewhat of a problem. We resolved it down to the fact that, I think, a package could not consist of more than 30 pounds, and actually the driver would be obliged to carry the two at one trip.
If he had to make more than one trip, then we started charging 25 cents extra, in essence, per trip. This was our second recommended offer. Prior to that it had been 25 cents per package extra. It did amount to quite a reduction.
Senator BARTLETT. The reason I ask, someone, of course, could get on the cab with a package and then again someone might get on a cab with a package.
Mr. VOGT. Yes, sir. This is a problem that we have had. We have had cabdrivers, human nature being what it is, who would be interested in getting 25 cents for carrying in a box of Rinso, and on the other hand we have had passengers who would find the largest box in town and be interested in having it carried in under the free rate.
So it broke about even. We tried to break it down as well as you could. Actually, this is a commonsense-type problem. It is something that just simply is a problem that you have to resolve when it comes up. We defined it, I thought, as well as we could and didn't attempt to go any further, being afraid of the fact that our definition. itself might create more problems than it would avoid.
That was one issue.
The second issue that came up, I believe this was the 4100 area, the enlisted men's area, where we were charging $2.50-that is the 3600 area. There is another area, the officers area, where we were charging $2.
There are some six-tenths of a mile difference. This had more or less developed over a period of years. They wanted, in essence, to have this dropped. What they wanted was to have the drop in the enlisted men's area, but no increase in the officers' area. We offered to switch it around. This seemed equitable to us.
Actually a lot of it has been rather, I feel, picayunish in a sense. The problem involved is that the cab companies were already operating at what amounted to, if they had to operate on Fort Wainwright fares, they would be operating at a complete loss, no question about it. This is a surplusage type thing. They exist on the profits they make in town, and they serve Fort Wainwright.
The additional income that they get from Fort Wainwright, of course, helps make the concerns going concerns. And I might add that neither concern is in what you would call a profitable position. Considering the investment that they have, both companies are obviously not getting anywhere near the return that they should be getting.
Recently in the city of Fairbanks we did obtain a fare increase. It was a very nominal one. Part of it was through the changing of zones, and a small percentage of increase in fares. I would say roughly 5 percent.
Senator BARTLETT. What is the charge for one passenger from here, for example, to the gate at Fort Wainwright?
Mr. VOGT. $1.26, and 25 cents extra per passenger if they get off at the same stop, if there is no extra-if you don't have to make a variation from the direct route.
Senator BARTLETT. What is the charge for one passenger from the Chamber of Commerce Building where we are, to the Travelers Inn?
Mr. VOGT. $1.02.
Senator BARTLETT. And how far is it approximately from here to the Travelers Inn?
Mr. VOGT. About eight-tenths of a mile.
Senator BARTLETT. And how far from here to the Fort Wainwright gate?
Mr. VOGT. About 1.2 miles. It is 14 or 15 blocks. At least that. Senator BARTLETT. Go ahead.
Mr. VOGT. Clearly here you have hit it in a sense. Your fares in town are already considerably higher than they are at Fort Wainwright.
The zone fares, too, if we went across the river, got into our changing line, Minny Street, the change in zone is from $1.02 to $1.26. The next zone increase is $1.55. I am thinking about the comparison of the zone rates on Fort Wainwright and the zone rates in town.
For your information, Mr. Chairman, this is Joe Cooper from Yellow Cab, and Mr. Brown from Checker Cab.
If you take into consideration the distance we travel in South Fairbanks, we go out of the $2.50 zone long before we would enter the $2.50 zone at Fort Wainwright. Probably a mile and a half before we enter the $2.50 zone at Fort Wainwright, in distance.
Going to South Fairbanks, you would pass through the $1.02, then it would be $1.26, then $1.55. The reason the 2 cents is set up, we have to charge tax and try to make it come out even, a dollar and a nickel.
The odd fare is such that when the sales tax is added it comes out to an even amount.
Mr. MCELROY. Is there any shuttle bus service provided at Fort Wainwright?
Mr. VOGT. It hasn't been much in the past. At the present time the cab companies are not serving Fort Wainwright. We have refused, of course, to go along with their proposed fare rates and as a result neither company is operating on Fort Wainwright at the present time.
This has been somewhat of a problem to the cab companies in town. Actually we were debating asking them for a fare increase when they came along with this, and in essence wanted the fares to come down.
As I pointed out before, it has been some 17 years since there has been a cab raise in that area at all, a fare raise.
Actually, I think business has dropped off there in recent years. I have here a letter which was written to Senator Bartlett by the Department of the Army. Basically it goes through the same things that I have described.
DEAR SENATOR BARTLETT: This is in reply to your inquiry concerning the operation of a transportation service by local taxicab companies for Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The operation of a transportation service on a Federal reservation may be authorized by a license properly issued in compliance with Departmental Regulations AR 505-80 and AR 210-10. In the absence of properly granted license, taxicabs may not legally operate on a military reservation.
Yellow and Checker (Transfare) Cab Cos. had been operating on Fort Wainwright (Ladd Air Force Base until January 1, 1961) for many years under informal rate and zone agreements with the U.S. Air Force. On July 17, 1961, Army officials met with the cab company owners to arrange for a formal granting of a license to operate a taxi service. At first, the taxi operators declined to submit proposals in spite of repeated requests for them to do so. On August 11, 1961, they were advised that all taxi operations on Fort Wainwright would cease by September 1, 1961, if no agreement was reached. Although two exten
sions were granted to midnight September 15, and later to September 20, 1961, no agreement on rates or zones was reached.
Although the cab companies were forbidden to operate on the reservation after midnight September 20, 1961, they were advised that Army officials would remain open to further negotiations. The taxicab companies were given permission for emergency entrance to the post for delivery of personnel to the U.S. Air Force Hospital. This was provided to ensure emergency service to the 670 military families residing in Fairbanks. Several proposals have been submitted by the cab companies since the date of the embargo; however, they provided increased rates in general above those originally proposed by them. Commercial transportation service has not been denied military personnel since there is an approved agreement with Alaska Overland, Inc., to operate bus service on the post, executed July 24, 1960. Since the date of this agreement, the bus company has voluntarily increased the scheduled service to the installation and reduced the fare between the hospital area (near the south post housing area) and the city proper to 25 cents. The fare to the rest of the post is 50 cents one way or 40 cents if tokens are used. The bus company has indicated it will meet any requirements for transportation as needed and may voluntarily reduce the fare should business justify it.
Fort Wainwright is currently developing specifications to advertise and circulate to all interested parties for the establishment of an onpost only taxi service. The taxicab companies indicated during negotiations that they were not interested in operating an onpost only service. They were advised that should a firm sign a contract for onpost taxi service only, the other cab companies should be prohibited from operating on the post in order to make it sufficiently remunerative to the successful contractor.
Only after taxi service was suspended did cab companies indicate any serious intention of attempting to comply with applicable laws and departmental regulations. Subsequent negotiations resolved all differences except those pertaining to rates. The rates proposed by the cab companies is $2.50 for a zone which includes the barracks of nearly all lower ranking and lower paid personnel is not acceptable to the post since at the same time the companies proposed a rate of $2 for a zone which includes the post headquarters and an officers' housing area. This latter zone is six-tenths of a mile farther from downtown Fairbanks than the proposed $2.50 troop area zone. The distance from downtown Fairbanks to the headquarters area and the troop area are 4.6 miles and 4 miles respectively. The cab companies were advised that the military authorities would accept a $2 rate to each of these zones.
Further, the post authorities consider that the one-way rate proposal of $1.75 from the south post housing area to the commissary is exoritant, even though this includes the carrying of two packages. The distances involved in this zone vary from eight-tenths of a mile to 1 7/10 miles. However, the cab companies were advised that lack of agreement on rates in this zone would not necessarily preclude the granting of a license to operate in other areas of the post.
The informal taxi service service on Fort Wainwright was terminated after over 2 months of negotiations to arrive at fair rates and to establish zones. Fort Wainwright officials will remain receptive to whatever proposals may be received to provide transportation at a fair price to the troops desiring this service.
I trust this information will be of assistance to you.
R. E. VOLLENDORFF,
Lieutenant Colonel, G.S., Office, Chief of Legislative Liaison. Senator BARTLETT. What is the date of that letter, Mr. Vogt? Mr. VOGT. They apparently didn't put a date on it. There is a date over here. It looks like October 10.
Senator BARTLETT. I haven't seen it. It came after I left Washington.
Mr. VOGT. This is stamped on here, whatever that means.
The problems involved, as we see it, for one thing, you see, by regulating Fort Wainwright fares, what they have in essence done is regulated a large amount of transportation in town. If they can regulate fares to that extent, the cab company has to stop at the gate, and only one cab company, for example, could pick up on the base. This would
mean that this company would be the only one that could, in essence, bring the people back to the city.
Senator BARTLETT. What is this bus service referred to in the letter? Mr. VOGT. The bus service is Overland Bus Co. They operate on the base, and they have some minor transportation routes throughout the community. I am not very much aware of their facilities or equipment. The obvious problem involved there is that they have specific routes and schedules, and if they don't, they are becoming taxicabs. But I would rather expect that the service from the Overland Bus Co. is rather exaggerated.
Mr. MCELROY. Are they under franchise from the city of Fairbanks, the State, or the base?
Mr. VOGT. They would have to have a separate contract with the base to operate.
Senator BARTLETT. Is it a franchise operation otherwise?
Mr. VOGT. I would assume that is a State franchise.
Mr. MCELROY. Was that service being rendered prior to the time you were having your difficulties on rates at the base?
Mr. VOGT. Yes; it was. But not to the degree that it is.
Mr. MCELROY. It has been expanded?
Mr. VOGT. It wasn't running a shuttle service on the base.
Senator BARTLETT. It was just from the base to town and vice versa?
Mr. VOGT. Yes, sir. It is a bit of a problem.
Senator BARTLETT. It is, of course, a very real problem for the cab companies concerned. However, Mr. Vogt, it is something entirely beyond the area of jurisdiction of this committee.
Mr. VOGT. This was the attitude that I visualized when I was asked to come here this morning. This is a rather isolated type problem, and yet in a sense it is not, because if the cab companies are adversely affected to a degree that it would damage their income to the point where they couldn't provide adequate service for the community, in view of the fact that they are a necessary public utility in this area, we are getting into something serious.
Senator BARTLETT. I can agree with that as an individual Senator, of course, and have heard from the cab companies and have taken it up, as you know. But this just doesn't fall within the jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee. I find difficulty in determining what we could do, no matter what our desires might be.
Mr. VOGT. I would guess there would be little except possibly an informal type recommendation.
Senator BARTLETT. Yes, and on an individual basis as a member of the Alaska delegation, perhaps.
But if you have a recommendation to make, as to how the committee might appropriately and properly-mindful of its jurisdiction— take this up, I will be glad to entertain it.
Mr. VOGT. I think that the only thing that the committee could do would be to give an informal recommendation in the sense that the cab operations, in view of the rather peculiar type capacity that they occupy in this community, they could give an informal recommendation to the Army officials, which I suspect might be of some value in hastening a settlement.
Senator BARTLETT. Off the record. (Discussion off the record.)
Senator BARTLETT. Are there any other witnesses here who desire transportation or associated matters?
Senator BARTLETT. Mr. Buckley is in the room, I believe.
Mr. BUCKLEY. I am with the railroad. I am not here to testify. Senator BARTLETT. Will you come up for a moment?
Mr. BUCKLEY. I have a luncheon engagement at 12 o'clock and I am trying to get out in a hurry.
Senator BARTLETT. Please give your name and address.
APPEARANCE OF LARRY BUCKLEY, DISTRICT FREIGHT AND PASSENGER AGENT, ALASKA RAILROAD, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA
Mr. BUCKLEY. I am Larry Buckley, district freight and passenger agent, Alaska Railroad, Fairbanks.
Senator BARTLETT. And you are not here to testify, Mr. Buckley? Mr. BUCKLEY. No, sir.
Senator BARTLETT. We will note your presence.
You can leave with our blessing because I know we will have testimony from the railroad on figures in Anchorage.
Mr. BUCKLEY. My only reason for being here, if there are any questions concerning the questions asked this morning, I will do what I did in the past and get the answers from Anchorage.
Senator BARTLETT. We are going to open our hearings there in the morning.
We will seek to obtain them there. Thank you, Mr. Buckley. Mr. BUCKLEY. You are welcome, sir.
Senator BARTLETT. Let the record show that Mr. John Titus, Fairbanks agent for Alaska Steamship Co., has been good enough to attend the hearing.
Are there further witnesses?
If not, and quite unexpectedly, as far as the chairman is concerneu, because some of us are leaving for Anchorage at 7:30 p.m. today, we find ourselves in a situation where we are going to recess. I say quite unexpectedly because I thought the testimony would continue until about 7:18 p.m., and we would have to dash for the plane.
We have had a good record made here and we have been privileged to meet with you and to hear your views on transportation problems and related matters.
Mr. Huse has been good enough to remind me to say something I always forget to say and should say, and that is that the record will be kept open for 30 days. During that time anyone who has testified may file supplementary testimony with the committee in the form of a written statement, or anyone who has not testified may do so in written form on matters within the jurisdiction of the committee by writing Mr. Harry Huse, Committee on Commerce, U.S. Senate, Washington 25, D.C.
The committee will now stand in recess until 10 a.m., Saturday, October 21, when it will reconvene at the Loussac Library, in Anchorage.
Thank you all.
(Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the hearing was recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 21, 1961, at the Loussac Library, in Anchorage, Alaska.)