Causes Affecting Railway Rates and Fares

Walter E. Weyl
1898 The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. CAUSES AFFECTING RAILWAY RATES AND FARES. The most superficial study of railroad conditions will reveal a fundamental difference between the freight and the passenger policy of railroads. There has been no more distinctive feature of modern industrial progress than the rapid decline in freight rates and the consequent vast increase in freight traffic. Each decade has seen a considerable diminution in the charges for the transportation of goods, and every technical advance, the invention of the steel rail, the construction of heavier locomotives, etc., has contributed to this result. This reduction, moreover, which has been common to practically all railroads and all countries, shows no signs of immediate cessation. In the passenger traffic, another and a different development has taken place. The passenger fares were originally based upon the table of charges of the old stage coaches, and the maximum charges prescribed contemplated a toll for the use of the road and a separate charge for that of the new kind of vehicle. The analogy between the railroad and its predecessor in the passenger traffic was not only formal but material. The maximum fares were little below the charges on the more primitive coaches, and unlike the freight charges, they have, until recently, shown no marked tendency to decline rapidly, but have rather manifested a reluctance to depart very far from the highest rates permitted. This distinction, however, may not be carried too far. It is false to state (as has been done) that passenger fares have not been reduced at all, but it is equally certain that they have declined to a far less extent than have freight rates. There are no limits to the evidence that could be cited in substantiation of this statement, except those set by the length of this paper, but a few examples will suffice. From 1844 to 1879, the freight rates on Prussian railways decreased [3241 CAUSEs AFFECTING RAILWAY RATES AND FARES. 25 79 per cent, and the passenger fares but 19 per cent.* The following table shows the comparatively slow decline of the passenger fares: Year.
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