The requirement that a public utility must obtain a certificate of convenience and necessity before commencing operation is entirely of statutory origin, for at common law entry was made by holding out to the public a certain kind of service. This phase of the public's relationship to utility enterprises is, for the most part, of recent origin and has been of constantly increasing importance. One finds, it is true, as early as 1892 a statute of New York requiring certificates of convenience and necessity for railroads and in 1895 a statute of the same state requiring certificates for street railways. During the last few years other state legislatures have followed the example of New York in passing acts which require certificates of convenience and necessity for the operation of utilities, until at present nearly all of the states have provisions of this character. The tremendous growth of motor-bus transportation has greatly accelerated this legislation. The facility with which motor carrier service can be entered upon has necessitated legislative action. The original cost is slight and the cost of operation not heavy. The result might have been that highways would have become congested with numerous, irresponsible carriers, and the existence of long established and important operators would have been seriously threatened.

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