U.S. Supreme Court
Pennsylvania R. Co. v. Knight, 192 U.S. 21 (1904)
Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Knight
Argued December 11, 1903
Decided January 4, 1904
192 U.S. 21
Although a railroad corporation may be largely engaged in interstate commerce, it is amenable to state regulation and taxation as to any of its service which is wholly performed within the state and not as a part of interstate commerce.
A cab service maintained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to take passengers to and from its terminus in the City of New York, for which the charges are separate from those of other transportation and wholly for service within the New York is not interstate commerce, although all persons using the cabs within the company's regulations are either going to or coming from the New Jersey by the company's ferry; such cab service is subject to the control of the New York and the railroad company is not exempt, on account of being engaged in interstate commerce, from the state privilege tax of carrying on the business of running cabs for hire between points wholly within the state.
This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of the State of New York to review a judgment of that court affirming the chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
assessment by the Comptroller of the State of New York of a certain tax against the relator, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The contention of the plaintiff in error is that the tax, which is a franchise tax imposed under appropriate statutes of New York upon the company for carrying on the business of running cabs and carriages for hire between points entirely within the State of New York, is invalid under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution of the United States, Article I, § 8, subdivision 3.
The facts are undisputed. In 1897, the company established a cab stand on its own premises at the Twenty-third Street ferry in the City of New York, and has since maintained a service of cabs and coaches under special licenses from the City of New York, whereby they can stand on those premises only. The sole business done by those cabs and coaches is to bring the company's passengers to and from the Twenty-third Street ferry. The charges for this service are separate from those of the company for further transportation, and no part of its receipts from the cab service is received as compensation for any service outside the State of New York. As a separate business, this cab service has not been profitable to the company, but has been operated at a loss. The validity of this tax was sustained both by the supreme court and the Court of Appeals of New York. 67 App.Div. 398, 171 N.Y. 354. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary