The matter of creating a municipal Franchise Commission is of the most importance. Of course it is in the power of the Legislature by various Acts to regulate and control the charges and services of such Corporations as the Railway, the Gas, the Electric Light, the Telephone etc., but it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the Legislature to do so satisfactorily and with justice to both the Corporations and to the people of Baltimore, since it has not the opportunity to make a proper investigation, or to reach a judicial conclusion.
It is plain for instance, that the service to be afforded by the United Railway, now an absolute monopoly, and therefore uncontrolled by competition, needs to be regulated by Law. The service they supply, is to the knowledge of every one who rides on their cars during the busy hours of the day, insufficient. This may be met by requiring them to put on more cars, or acquiring them to seat every passenger, or indeed the end might be well attained by permitting them only to charge three cents for each passenger they may accept when unable to furnish him with a seat.
The last plan would seem to be the only practicable one for the Legislature to adopt, unless it established a Franchise Commission, since it has no proper knowledge of the number of cars required for proper service in Baltimore, nor would probably the people approve of the Company's being forbidden to receive passengers when the cars were filled.
Another matter which should be taken up with reference to the Railway Company, is the park tax. It is much less than it should be, for two reasons: first, it does not apply to lines constructed upon turnpikes, second; the total receipts of the Railway are distributed between the taxed and untaxed lines upon an absurd mileage basis, as if Baltimore street was not more valuable than the
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