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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        9. Prepayment StationsThere are occasional devices for doing away with the use of transfers altogether. For instance, it often happens that, for emergency reasons, it is necessary to transfer passengers en bloc from one car to another, and, if it is not found convenient to issue emergency transfers (for instance, if no such form is provided by the company) this can be done without the collection of a fare by some conductor or inspector watching the crowd going over from one car to the next and seeing that nobody gets in from anywhere else without paying fare. This, however, is generally feasible only as a temporary emergency measure, and, if such a situation continues to arise, it becomes necessary to issue some form of transfer.

        We may also note the existence of prepayment stations, which are not to be entered without payment of fare. Such a station may be enterable only on a car, or it may be possible to enter through special gates where fare is collected. Such prepayment stations are especially common on the so-called "rapid transit" lines (subway or elevated). They are general on the subway and elevated lines in Boston, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Of course, a passenger arriving on one car can alight and take another car within the same fare limits of the station. Prepayment station platforms between which transfer is desired can arrange it either by presentation of a regular transfer ticket (as in Boston at South Station, or New York at the crossing of 149th Street and Third Avenue, and in rush hours at the Canal Street station of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system), or, as is more common, by a simple passageway connecting the two platforms. In Boston, transfer is also arranged by prepayment stations at many places on the surface, though usually in connection with a subway or elevated station. At the Watertown car house, on the Boston Elevated Railway system, there is a platform which can only be entered on cars, and which is reserved entirely for the use of passengers transferring without transfer ticket from car to car.

        Prepayment stations are sometimes established for the purpose of facilitating collection of fare from large crowds, and, in such cases, they frequently are not arranged to facilitate transfer from one car to another, especially at terminals. Thus, at the Public Service Terminal, Newark, N. J., passengers get off at one set of platforms and on at another set, with no direct connection between them. Indeed, since October 1, 1923, all transfer privileges in that city have been suspended. In such cases it frequently happens that the prepayment feature is confined to rush hours.

        The existence of prepayment stations, besides sometimes abolishing the necessity of transfer tickets, also complicates the questions of validity, issuance, and receipt of transfers. We will consider later the question of issuance, when we take up the whole general subject; we may simply note here that special prepayment station forms of transfers are frequently to be found, including a large variety on the Boston Elevated Railway system, a "terminal" and "terminal repeat" form issued at the Newark, N. J., Public Service Terminal during rush hours before the change of fare on October 1, 1923, and a few forms on the Philadelphia Rapid Transit system (two "elevated" transfer forms, an "elevated bus exchange ticket," and a special rush-hour form issued at Juniper Street subway station), as well as the transfer forms between elevated and subway in New York (Interborough Rapid Transit) at 149th Street and Third Avenue, and four forms of "agents' tickets" on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system.

        When a transfer is to a car or other vehicle to be boarded at a prepayment station, the transfer is generally good for admission to the station. Thus, before the suspension of transfer privileges in Newark, N. J., street car transfers could be used for admission to prepayment platforms at the Public Service Terminal.

        10. Payment of FaresBefore the recent war, carfares in single zones were, as a general rule, five cents, with a few cases of six-cent fares in New England (the Atlantic Shore Railway in York County, Maine; and most of the car lines of the Middlesex and Boston system), and a few cases of three-cent fares, especially in the Middle West (such as the Cleveland Railway). Now carfares as low as five cents are the exception, found in a very few parts of the country. We may name among these New York City (except the "yellow cars" on Staten Island), and a large surrounding district; Niagara Falls, N. Y.; Camden, N. J.; San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles ("yellow cars" only), Calif. In many parts of the country, including a large part of New England, a ten-cent fare is becoming almost as universal as the five-cent fare used to be. Car fares generally range between five and ten cents, and frequently vary widely, even in the same district.

        On many systems there are devices by which frequent users of the system get reduced fare, usually at a fractional price; this is ordinarily done by the use of strip tickets or tokens. "Strip tickets" are coupons attached together in a strip, each coupon being good for one fare; "tokens" are metal discs, the shape and approximate size of some coin, usually the nickel or the dime, each token being good for one fare. Usually these are sold in certain numbers at a reduced price, although in some cases they are sold at the same price as cash fare, and are intended only to save making change (Boston Elevated Railway, during eight-cent fare in 1919; United Railways and Electric Company in Baltimore). Such tickets or tokens are usually allowed the same privileges as cash fare, though the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway does not issue transfers on tickets. Where transfers are sold, ticket or token plus the transfer fee will ordinarily entitle the passenger to a transfer on the same basis as a passenger paying full transfer fare. As an illustration, the fare on the Philadelphia Rapid Transit system before October, 1924, was seven cents, but strip tickets were sold at four for a quarter dollar. An "exchange ticket," which is the downtown transfer, was issued for ten cents cash or a ticket and three cents.

        The mode of collecting fare differs widely on different systems, and even on different vehicles of the same system. We may say that there are a few main types: (a) the prepayment station; (b) the "pay-as-you-enter" plan, otherwise the "prepayment car"; (c) the old-type method, by which the conductor goes through the car collecting fare from such passengers as have not already paid; (d) the "pay-as-you-leave" plan; (e) the postpayment or "exit fare" station. Method (a) has already been considered; and (e) is similar, except that the fare is collected from passengers leaving the station. A combination of these two sometimes occurs. As to the other methods of fare collection, a great deal depends on the facilities in the structure of the vehicles themselves. In some cases, where a car covers two fare zones, fares are collected in the first zone on a "pay-as-you-enter" basis, and in the second zone on a "pay-as-you-leave" basis, making it unnecessary for the conductor to go through the car collecting the new fare at the fare limit, as would otherwise have to be done, and as is done where this arrangement is not adopted, unless some system of collecting through fares either on entering or leaving the car is provided, together with a system of fare receipts to suit the arrangement provided. Such receipts are ordinarily not to be considered as transfers to enter into a collection, though occasionally they may be.

        As a general rule, transfers are collected at the same time as cash, strip ticket, or token fares.

        Where there is a fare-zone system, fare is uniform within the limits of a prescribed zone; when the limits are passed, a new fare is collected, good within the limits of the next zone. The problem is complicated where the second zone begins before the first zone ends, as frequently happens. This problem needs special consideration, and will be taken up later.

        It may happen in some cases that the charge for traveling in two fare zones continuously is less than twice that of a single fare zone. In this case some proper way must be provided whereby the reduction can be secured. The question in this form arises in three systems in California; the Pacific Electric Railway and the Los Angeles Motor Bus Company in Los Angeles (six cents in one zone, ten cents for two zones), and the San Diego Electric Railway (five cents in one zone, two tokens for fifteen cents good for two zones each). Through fare collection is necessary in these cases.

        11. Notation for Fare RatesIn classifying transfers it may be found convenient to have some abbreviated notation for the fare represented by a particular transfer or variety of transfers. We may suggest the following sort of notation which we have used for that purpose: Start by indicating the number of cents in the local cash rate. If only this number appears, it means that that is the straight fare, with no ordinary reduced-fare tickets or tokens, and free transfer. Thus, the Third Avenue Railway system in New York City, or the Market Street Railway Company in San Francisco, will bear the simple mark 5, meaning a straight five-cent fare with free transfers; similarly the mark 6 for the Harrisburg Railways (Harrisburg, Pa.), or the mark 7 for the United Railways and Electric Company (Baltimore, Md.). In reckoning reduced fare, no attention is to be paid to special cases applying only to special classes of people, such as passes or school tickets, or to commutation tickets not giving regular fare rates. If the reduced fare is a round-trip ticket fare, it can be placed in parentheses following the one-way fare, with a prefixed to it. Thus in the case of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (New York City to New Jersey suburbs), the exit coupons issued to passengers from Newark to the 6th Avenue tube should be marked 33 (  40), meaning that the fare is thirty-three cents one way, and forty cents round trip. If the reduced fare is by ticket or token with the same transfer privileges as cash fare, that rate should follow the cash fare rate, and be separated by a dash; thus, transfers of the Connecticut Company would be marked 10―7 under the 1923 fare rates (ten cents cash, two tokens for fifteen cents) and in Bridgeport under the 1924 fare rates (ten cents cash, two strip tickets for fifteen cents), while, under the 1922 rates, and, outside Bridgeport, under the 1924 rates, it would be 10―8⅓  (ten cents cash, three tokens for a quarter dollar). Similarly, ordinary transfers of any of the companies operating in Washington, D. C. should be, on that basis, marked 8―6⅔ (eight cents cash, six tokens for forty cents). A little further complication is presented where there is more than one reduced fare rate; thus, the fare on the Kansas City Railways may be marked 8―7―7, the rate being eight cents cash, two tokens for fifteen, five strip tickets for thirty-five cents.

         After the fare rate has been described as above, the transfer rate may also be described. In such case, a free transfer may be described by simply setting down the notation for the fare rate, and nothing more; if there is a transfer fee, it can be set down following the fare rate, separated by the sign +. Thus, the rate for the ordinary transfers of the Public Service Railway in New Jersey would be indicated by 8―7+1, meaning an eight-cent cash fare, a seven-and-a-half cent reduced fare (token), plus one cent for the transfer. If the coupon in question entitles the holder to a refund, the amount of the refund may be similarly indicated, only using the sign x. Thus, the refund coupons issued at Hudson Tube stations in Jersey City and Hoboken are issued on payment of a six-cent fare, and entitle the holder to a one-cent refund if presented within those cities on exit within a half hour. This rate can be denoted by 6x 1. It will occasionally happen that the same transfer form will represent different rates of fare, according to the circumstances of its issue. In such case, both rates should be set down, separated by the sign u. Thus, the regular "Main Line" form of the New York and Stamford Railway represents a five-cent fare if issued in New Rochelle or Larchmont, and a six-cent fare if issued in Rye or Port Chester, though the same form is used for both. The rate for such a form could be denoted by 5u6.

        In cases where there are special two-zone fares, such fares should only be marked for the transfers that require payment for two zones. Otherwise, the local or single-zone fare is what is to be considered in every case.

        The above notation is simply offered as a suggestion, though it is not necessary to use it. We can simply state that we have found this notation to work quite satisfactorily.


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