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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis





     1. What Is Included. Generally speaking, a transfer means a ticket given on a local, especially a city, public vehicle (in particular, a street car), as evidence of fare paid on one vehicle and good for travel on another vehicle for the same fare in continuation of the ride. In most American cities this is a common device where traveling from one part of the city to another necessitates changing cars. There are, however, other similar sorts of tickets that may easily be included with transfers for collection purposes. In general, the purpose of a transfer is to save the payment of further fare. Transfers may even be sold, as they are in New York and Philadelphia, where the price is less than an additional fare. Or they may even be required to be presented with an amount of fare lower than would otherwise be required, as in the case of Philadelphia "exchange tickets" used on the Roosevelt Boulevard bus line; these tickets being sold for three cents, and requiring to be presented with another three cents, the total of six cents still being less than the regular ten-cent bus fare. Or a transfer, instead of being from one car (or other vehicle) to another, may be from one fare zone or fare collection to another. On long rides in electric cars, it is common to take up collections of fare from all passengers at definite points; but, under some circumstances, a passenger getting on somewhat before the collection point receives a coupon good for such fare, by way of receipt. This is, in effect, a transfer. Again, there are cases of exit fares, intended for special cases only; passengers not required to pay exit fares may get coupons which will save them that extra payment. This is a form of ticket which may be called a transfer, and is in use on the Hudson and Manhattan tubes connecting New York and New Jersey. On that same system, there is also the refund coupon, the purpose of which is to procure the refund of fare already paid to a point beyond where the passenger actually gets off.

    However, mere receipts for fare paid may or may not be included, according to circumstances of collection, form and use of ticket, etc. Where such receipts resemble those given on ordinary railroad trains for cash fares, whether to be kept as duplicates or as rebate tickets; or where they resemble the train checks given on such trains to indicate to what point fare has been paid, they are not to he considered as transfers. And yet even here the line is very difficult to draw. Where fare is not arranged by fare zones or fare limits, but varies from station to station, any tickets given are railroad checks rather than transfers; and, generally speaking, a receipt for a through fare covering several fare zones is also in the class of railroad checks rather than that of transfers. Take for example the Public Service system in New Jersey, consisting mainly of trolley lines (Public Service Railway) charging by the regular fare-zone system, a single fare in each zone; and a few express lines (Public Service Railroad) on which fares differ according to the stations, and are collected as on regular railroads, including sale of tickets, hat checks, cash fare receipts, etc. These documents are not transfers. But on one of the P. S. Railroad lines, where a receipt for the five-cent fare is accepted for fare on the other lines to that amount, that form is to he considered as a transfer. On the other lines of the P. S. Railway there are various kinds of car-to-car transfers whose right to that name could hardly be doubted; and then there are "identification slips" acting as fare receipts in the case of overlapping fare zones, which should also be considered as transfers from one zone to the next. But on the Hackensack line of that system, there are checks issued to passengers on entering, uniform with these "identification slip," and called such, showing merely where the passenger got on, so as to determine the amount of fare he should pay on leaving. Although such slips would usually not be considered as transfers, their uniformity with other transfer forms makes it rather better to consider them as such.

2. Vehicles Giving Transfers. A vehicle on, from, or to which a transfer is issued, must be a public vehicle charging fare and providing public transportation between points within the same locality. The system may he a steam railroad in local service with a single fare or fare zones, such as the Boston, Revere Beach, and Lynn ("Narrow Gauge") between Boston and Lynn, Mass., or the East and North Shore divisions of the Staten Island Rapid Transit in Staten Island, New York City; or the local electric Long Island R. R. lines near New York City. Again, the system may be a system of buses operated under a single management, as is the case with the Fifth Avenue Coach Co. in New York City, or the Newburgh Public Service system in Newburgh, N. Y. Where buses are operated by a number of independent persons or groups, there can, as a general rule, be no transfers. Again, we may have transfers issued by a so-called "rapid transit" system; that is, a system consisting of elevated or subway railways, operating either trains or ordinary cars. This is exemplified by the Interborough system in New York City, and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad connecting that city with its New Jersey suburbs. But ordinarily the system with which we have to deal in the issuance of transfers is one of ordinary street cars, whether operated on streets or on private rights of way; but, as we have said before, there is some requirement of there being definite fare zones, though a car on which there is no fare-zone system may issue a transfer to a fare zone on another car. Such is the case of the International Railway around Buffalo, on which a passenger may travel by ticket from Niagara Falls to Buffalo (the fare not being arranged in definite zones) and be entitled to a transfer to local street cars in Buffalo. Besides these kinds of systems, we may consider mixed systems, where two or more kinds of transportation are in use. Thus, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit system consists of street car, bus, elevated, and subway lines, both trains and street cars being operated in the subway. Transfers are given between all these various classes of transportation. The Brooklyn Manhattan Transit system (formerly the Brooklyn Rapid Transit) consists of elevated and subway trains and street cars; but at only two points (Marcy Avenue and Broadway, and 4th Avenue and 86th Street, in Brooklyn) do the surface cars transfer to the rapid transit lines, or vice versa. The Connecticut Company in Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven; and the Municipal Railway in San Francisco, are instances of systems of buses and street cars combined, issuing transfers interchangeably. The same is true of the Washington Railways and Electric Co. in the District of Columbia. A special case is the Portsmouth, Dover, and York system in the south corner of Maine, where transfers used to be given between trolleys and ferryboats.


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