Price, Schettino and Hall. The opinion of the court was delivered by Schettino, J.A.D.
Appeal is taken from two orders of the Board of Public Utility Commissioners; the first, approving (pursuant to R.S. 48:2-14) the consent of the City of Jersey City for the operation of not more than 12 autobuses by the respondent Marion Bus Transportation Co., over an extension of an existing route; and the second, denying appellants' petition for oral reargument, reconsideration, and vacation and an application for a stay of the first order.
R.R. 4:88-13 permits us to review the findings of fact and make our own independent findings on an appeal from an administrative agency such as this. However, great weight must be placed upon the Board's action unless it has arrived at its findings by manifest violation of law or by a clear abuse of its discretion. We cannot disturb its findings where there is evidence which can reasonably support them. Fornarotta v. Board of Public Utility Comm. , 105 N.J.L. 28, 33 (Sup. Ct. 1928).
In Zachariae v. Division of New Jersey Real Estate Commission , 53 N.J. Super. 60, 62 (App. Div. 1958), we stated:
"On a review of facts determined by an administrative agency, a judicial tribunal is confined to the question of whether the findings
are supported by substantial evidence, i.e. , such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion (In re Application of Hackensack Water Company , 41 N.J. Super. 408, 418 (App. Div. 1956)) or, to express it differently, whether the evidence furnished a reasonable basis for the agency's action (In re Greenville Bus Co. , 17 N.J. 131, 138 (1954). In applying this settled principle in a case involving review of findings of the Real Estate Commission, this court said: '* * * we do not interfere with the finding if it is supported by adequate evidence.' Middleton v. Division of the New Jersey Real Estate Commission , 39 N.J. Super. 214, 219-220 (App. Div. 1956). So the evidence and proceedings must be examined within this framework."
Upon examination of the proceedings, we fail to find stated any essentially relevant finding which can be reviewed. New Jersey Bell Telephone Co. v. Communications Workers, etc. , 5 N.J. 354, 378 (1950). A summary of the proceedings will indicate why we will have to remand for authentic and specific expressions of the Board's findings.
In February 1957 respondent received, on its application, a municipal consent to extend its bus route so as to make a direct one-fare service to Journal Square from the Lafayette section of Jersey City. The city stated that the public interest required the proposed extension. Respondent applied to the Board of Public Utility Commissioners for its approval pursuant to R.S. 48:2-14 which provides that its "approval shall be given when, after hearing, the board determines that the privilege or franchise is necessary and proper for the public convenience and properly conserves the public interests." Notices of protest were filed by several bus operators, including the appellants.
Approximately eight hearings, with voluminous testimony, were held before a hearing examiner designated by the Board. He filed his report and recommendations evaluating the testimony, made specific findings and concluded that although there would result from the requested extension incidental convenience to some passengers, he was of the opinion that adequate transportation service was being provided for them, that any additional operation would divert passengers from the then existing routes, with the result
that the existing service would be curtailed to some extent, and that public convenience and necessity did not require the extension. He also considered a 1955 application by respondent which had been denied. He noted that there had been no substantial change in the areas affected and only a very little change in the route since 1955. He therefore recommended that the Board deny its approval.
Exceptions were filed to his report and recommendations. Argument in support of the exceptions and in answer thereto were ...