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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        45. Elements of a Time LimitAs we have seen before, a transfer is intended for a continuous ride, and not for a stop-over at the transfer point. As a preventative of too long stop-overs, the transfer indicates some time of the day after which it is not good. This time limit includes three items, the half-day (A. M. or P. M.), the hour, and the fraction the hour (or minute, as we may call it for short). There are so many devices for indicating the half-day that we will consider it separately, except where it is directly involved in the means of indicating the hour and minute.

        The fraction of the hour is not always indicated at all, the time limit of transfers being on some systems always the "even hour," that is, the exact beginning of an hour. In other cases the fractions indicated are half-hours, thirds of an hour, quarters, sixths, and twelfths. The devices used for indicating these fractions are usually so closely connected with those used for indicating the hours that we could not very well treat them separately. In Appendix C will be found a list of the devices used on a number of systems, together with the time-intervals denoted.

        46. Old-Type Time LimitsIn the old-type transfers punches are used to denote time limits as well as other necessary conditions. It is in the case of time limits that the least variation from the old type is to be found; in fact, if we leave out of consideration the devices to denote A. M. or P. M., the system of punching the time limit is retained on almost all systems. There are some exceptions, but a very few. In many transfer forms, the time limit is the only thing required to be punched. In the true old-type time limit there are punch-spaces for the hours from 1 to 12, and around each hour cluster punch-spaces for the minutes after that particular hour, so that we might, for instance, have the following:

  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10 11 12
30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30

or the following:

  4 15|   5 15|   6 15|   7 15|   8 15|   9 15| 10 15| 11 15| 12 15|
30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45| 30 45|

        A punch at the number of an hour indicates that that hour is the time limit; if it is on one of the other figures, it will indicate the number of minutes the time limit is past the hour to which that space belongs.

        There will, in old-type transfers, be two sets of punch-spaces, one set labelled A. M. and the other set labelled P. M. These might be in separate rows, or in separate parts of the transfer, but they are usually beside the rows of punch-spaces. In such an arrangement as the second one shown above, the hour is sometimes put on a side to emphasize its distinction from the minutes, and the label" AM" or "PM" put in the corner where the illustration puts the hour. This, for example, is done on the Middlesex and Boston transfers. As a general rule, P. M. spaces are dark (color of print), while A. M. spaces are "light," or, to be more exact, the color of the transfer; in the P. M. spaces, the print and the boxes being the color of the transfer. This distinction of color between A. M. and P. M. is quite general, so that a dark space usually means P. M.

        As a way of distinguishing the hours from the minutes, the former are usually, in old-type transfers, printed in either larger or heavier type.

        47. Slight Variations of Old-Type Time LimitsIn the old-type time limit the half-day is indicated by which set of punch-spaces (dark or light) is used in punching the time limit, so that the half-day really has no separate indication. Where there is some separate device to indicate the half-day, it becomes unnecessary to provide two different sets of punch-spaces for this purpose, and accordingly, if it is desired to make no further changes in the time limit, the old type is preserved with the exception that only one set of punch-spaces (usually the light set) is used.

        In other variations there is no indication of the minutes, and the hours are presented in a row or column; this may be considered as essentially the old type. Again, the minutes may come in a row following the hours, presenting the time limit punch-spaces in regular tabular form. When the fractions of an hour are thirds or sixths the final 0 may be dropped from the number of minutes to save space. Such a form (assuming some device to denote A. M. and P. M. apart from this time limit), would be in somewhat the following shape:

1 1 2 3 4 5
2 1 2 3 4 5
3 1 2 3 4 5
4 1 2 3 4 5
5 1 2 3 4 5
6 1 2 3 4 5
7 1 2 3 4 5
8 1 2 3 4 5
9 1 2 3 4 5
10 1 2 3 4 5
11 1 2 3 4 5
12 1 2 3 4 5

         In many transfer forms, including the Stedman type, such a tabular arrangement of the time limit punch-spaces is regularly used, occupying the extreme right end of the transfer ticket. We may call this the tabular time limit.

        Another variation is the avoidance of the repetition of minute-number at each hour by putting one set of these minute-numbers in a separate row or column of their own, and having a separate punch for the hour and the minute. In such a case, if the minute is not punched, the time limit is the even hour.

        Even the tabular time limit has its variations. In the standard form it is arranged at the right end of a horizontal transfer, columns across the width of the ticket, and rows along the length. In some cases we have other tabular forms which cannot be included with the standard tabular time limit; for instance, the column is arranged along the length of the ticket, as in vertical transfers, making the whole arrangement less compact; sometimes this is done with the regular double set of punch-spaces as found in old-type transfers. The form is also sometimes broken up into two or even four columns.

        48. Owl Time LimitsUnder this heading we include the early A. M. hours, which, in many transfer forms, receive a separate treatment for two reasons. The first is that cars run less often or not at all during those hours; the second is that, after midnight, it is sometimes more convenient to consider that it is still part of the preceding day.

        The former consideration is often shown by either omitting the owl hours altogether from the punch-spaces, or by making them less frequent; for instance, where quarter-hour intervals are used, the owl punch-spaces will show only hours; in other cases, by using only every other hour, such as 1, 3, and 5 A. M. As for the consideration of the dating, the arrangement of the punch-spaces often indicates the desired effect by starting the punch-spaces, not just after midnight, but at 4 or 5 A. M. If there are separate A. M. and P. M. forms, the effect can be achieved very well by making the A. M. form effective, let us say, from 4 A. M. to 3 P. M., and the P. M. form for the rest of the time. In some Southern California systems, due to a combination of the two considerations that we have given above, a special owl punch-space is provided, with such a label as: "Good at any transfer point until 8 A. M. of the following day." The "at any transfer point" is specified because, on many systems, owl routing is different from ordinary routing. The consideration of routing alone induces many systems to provide an owl punch space which is not connected directly with indicating the time limit, but as to do rather with routing.

        49. Dial Time LimitsA common variation of the old-type transfer in relation to time limits is the use of dial arrangements of the punch-spaces. The simplest shape this device takes we may call the single dial. This is simply a regular clock-face, with the hours marked around the edge as in an ordinary clock, usually in Arabic, but sometimes in Roman numerals. The minutes can occupy the central part of the dial, sometimes being arranged on a concentric circle inside the circle of the hours, so that both hours and minutes can be punched in the place they would occur on a clock or watch. This arrangement (as seen, for example, in the San Diego transfers) pre-supposes some other means of indicating the half-day. The minutes may be arranged otherwise within the central part of the dial. The central part is sometimes divided into a light half (usually the upper half) and a dark half (usually the lower half), labelled respectively AM and PM, each half containing a complete set of punch-spaces for the minutes. Another variation is that found in the 1924 issue of Pacific Electric Railway transfers (Southern California), which has a complete double set of punch-spaces for the hours, arranged in two concentric circles, representing the way watches are sometimes fitted out to show the so-called "24-hour time," such as is used in some European countries.

        Besides the single dial there is what we might call the double dial. This resembles the single dial in ail essential points, except there are two dials, each complete in itself and each containing minute punch-spaces inside it, the one (usually light) labelled AM, the other (usually dark) labelled PM. This supplies a complete double set of punch-spaces for both hours and minutes. As a variation of this, we note what we may call the square double dial, in which the outlines of the dials are square instead of round; here no color distinction is made. This type is found on the bus systems in Long Beach, Calif.

        The most complex dial device, and at the same time the one which is closest to the old type time limit, is what we may call the dozen-dial arrangement, such as is found in Connecticut (Connecticut Company) and in the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Covington and Newport Railway). Here the arrangement includes twelve dials, usually elliptical in shape, and with the longer axis vertical, the dials having a dark center and light margin. The margin of each dial contains a complete set of minute punch-spaces, and the dials are numbered in the center from 1 to'12. Here we have the series of hours, with the minutes clustered about each, as is usual with old-type transfers. A punch in the center indicates the even hour, while one on the margin of one of the dials indicates the number of minutes past the hour that the time limit is.

        50. Stamped Time LimitsThe device of rubber-stamping the time limit is not common, because it cannot i be used under the ordinary conditions of the issuance of transfers. However, in the case of forms issued from prepayment or other special stations, the difficulties are not so great, and rubber-stamped time limits are accordingly sometimes found on such transfer forms. In the case of the New Jersey refund coupons of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, the time limit, together with the complete date, is rubber-stamped by a time-clock device which stamps a dial with an hour-hand pointing to the time limit. Other cases of rubber-stamped time limits are transfers between elevated and subway lines issued by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company at 149th Street and 3rd A venue, New York City; also the transfers formerly issued at prepayment stations in Boston (in this case, that of the Boston Elevated Railway, another device was adopted in 1922).

        51. Attached Coupons as Indicating Time LimitThe indication of time limits by attached coupons is rare, but not unknown. One case is the Ham patent transfer forms, formerly in use in Washington, D. C.; these forms have two attached coupons, a light one on the left for A. M., and a dark one on the right for P. M. Each coupon contains a complete set of punch-spaces for time limit, in standard tabular form. The time limit is punched on the proper coupon and the passenger receives the transfer with that coupon only, without the other. However, the object of the attached coupons, in this instance, is rather to indicate the half-day than the time limit itself.

        The Moran patent forms, such as are used in Boston, show a truer case of time limit by attached coupons. There is no punching of the time limit. The earliest hour to be used as a time limit on the particular form (1 PM or 2 or 3 AM, as the case may be; or whatever other hour is desired) is printed at the bottom of the main body of the transfer; to this is attached a series of narrow coupons, each with another hour printed on it, somewhat as follows (left figure):

The bottom is attached to the pad, and, when the transfer is issued, coupons bearing hours later than the desired time limit are left on the pad. The time limit is thus to be found printed on the lowest coupon issued. Thus, if the transfer is issued with coupons as shown in the right-hand figure above, it is good until 4 P. M.

        52. Absence of Time LimitJust as we have seen that some transfers remain undated, so there are some transfers without a time limit. Of course, undated transfers may be expected to have no time limits; there are others in which the only time limit is the day or the half-day. Thus, on the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, "exit coupons" issued to passengers coming from Newark are merely dated, and are said to be "good on connecting train." The only check on this is that coupons of different colors are issued on different trains. Again, on transfer forms issued by, or good on, the Los Angeles Motor Bus Company, the only timing is "A. M." or "P. M." There are, of course, inadvertent omissions of time limits, out that is not part of the form.

        53. Effect of Time LimitsGenerally, a time limit on a transfer or similar coupon is intended to specify the time beyond which the transfer is not valid. There are, however, cases where the transfer is specified to be good' within a certain time after the indicated limit (30 minutes leeway with New Jersey refund coupons of Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company); and cases in which the transfer is specified as good on the first car leaving the transfer point after the time limit. In cases where a repeat privilege is allowed on the same transfer ticket, there is usually a certain allowance after the time limit made for that. These are peculiarities of company regulations, and can usually be found among the general regulations printed on the transfer.

        The legal validity of the time limit is at best rather questionable. It seems fairly agreed that it cannot be enforced where the passenger requires a longer time to make necessary connections. In some States the time limit is not legally recognized at all, the date being the only authorized condition of time. However, this is of little concern to the transfer collector, since these legal requirements do not affect the transfer form itself. Even in States where the law does not allow the enforcement of time limits at all, it is nevertheless the case that time limits are specified on the transfers.


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