Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/512
498 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
1. Persons. — Discriminations which are exercised in favor of per- sons in the transportation of freight will be found to be not in favor of the person but of tlie freight. In fact, personality has no part in it, but the concession is caused by the circumstances of locality or the kind or volume of the traffic. For instance, the farmers of the West and Northwest are systematically and greatly favored in the shipment, of their products to the market. Grain and provisions are carried from Chicago to the seaboard at a discrimination in their favor of at least three to one as compared with the shipments by merchants, manufacturers, and others. But as without this concession the farmer would have no market for the greater part of his crop, and as it cheapens the cost to consumers of the staff of life, it is, though a dis- crimination, a subject of no complaint. The same remark applies to dealers in coal, lumber, petroleum, and all other things produced and consumed in large quantities.
But such rates should be open to all under similar circumstances ; they can not fairly be affected by the personality. Where the cir- cumstances of situation, kind, and quantity are the same, to give lower rates to one person than to another is, in most States, illegal as well as unjust. It tends, by preventing competition in trade, to maintain prices, and so to limit consumption and restrict traffic — a result di- rectly opposed to the chief end for which all railroad managers are striving. I can conceive of no case in Avhich a railroad would grant one shipper privileges not accorded to another where the circumstances of the traffic were the same, except it were as a gift and not in the line of a business policy ; that is to say, the advantage given would be at the expense of the railroad.
In the transportation of passengers, however, differential rates are made which more nearly approach a discrimination as to persons. Yet, in this case too we will find that the different rates are caused by a difference in the traffic, and that, under like circumstances, rates to all are alike. With passengers, a discrimination based on the volume of the traffic results in the excursion rates, round-trip tickets, commu- tation, season, and one thousand-mile tickets, and the like, familiar to alL For instance, in California, from San Francisco to Alameda, Oakland, or Berkeley, a distance in each case of about ten miles, the passenger may buy a trip-ticket for fifteen cents, a round-trip ticket for twenty-five cents, and a sixty-ride ticket for three dollars, or at the rate of five cents a trip. The rate per mile would be, in the sev- eral cases, a cent and a half, a cent and a quarter, and half a cent re- spectively. Though here is a discrimination, in the proportion of three to one, yet its fairness is not only popularly conceded, but the Constitution of the State especially provides that "excursion and commutation tickets may be issued at special rates." The question, as popularly put, here arises, " On the ground of fairness, why should one person in the same train, between the same points, pay three times