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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        122. Local Trolley and Bus RidingOne of the most interesting features accompanying the collection of transfers is the process of exploration of one's own city, as well as other cities, by riding on the network of local transportation lines, whether trolley, bus, or rapid transit. In the course of direct collection of transfers, that is an essential part of the process, and in this way one can get a better knowledge of a city and its environs, and its various streets and important features, than possibly in any other way. The transfer collector, besides the information acquired from reading and analyzing the inscriptions on transfers, gets a thorough and first-hand knowledge of more details of his city and its vicinity than the average inhabitant would be likely to get. And, since buses or even local rapid transit lines are likely to be sources for obtaining transfers, the careful collector will cover these lines as well as the street cars, and thus increase his acquaintance with the city. Of course, this applies to any cities that a transfer collector may happen to visit, so that such a collector will be likely to have a fairly thorough knowledge of cities which he visits even for a short time. The knowledge of a city, thus acquired, will necessarily include detailed information as to how to reach the various parts of the city, the various transportation lines in the city, and the fares and transfer privileges. Such information, systematically gotten together, the transfer collector would be able to acquire, while other inhabitants or visitors will not see the city so much as a whole. A city and its environs will thus appear to the transfer collector not merely as on a map, but rather as a dynamic map, one into which some life and motion has been put. This in itself should be enough to lend some interest to the collection of transfers. Further, the local car lines offer a thorough resume of a vicinity. If a city is passed through on a train, the parts seen are anything hut characteristic, since the neighborhoods about a railroad track are apt to be rather run down in appearance. The opposite will be true of the city as seen from an auto, which will be principally from the point of view of the boulevards. But the local transportation lines will take in everything, business section and all other types of sections of the city and suburbs.

        Traveling on local transportation lines, and watching routes and signs on cars, are essential for the transfer collector not merely in the process of directly collecting transfers, but for hints as to new places to look for transfers, and to acquire a sufficiently good topographical background to be able to analyze the transfer privileges and the inscriptions on transfers properly. For instance: a ride out to the end of some trolley line may reveal the existence of branch lines or connecting systems which the collector might not otherwise suspect. Also, if the collector gets on a car and notices some passenger ahead asking for a certain kind of transfer, he might also ask for the same thing and get a sample transfer to start his collection of the system on, or one that may supply hints of other new transfers. Again, seeing passengers with transfers get on at a certain point and have their transfers accepted will indicate that they transferred from some line intersecting at that point, so that the collector, on his return trip, may plan to get off at that point, meanwhile hazarding a guess as to the intersecting line in question, so as to ask for the return transfer. Thus, a New York collector goes out to Coney Island on a summer day by the Franklin Avenue car line, and notes that passengers get on at Bergen Street, some of whom use transfers for fare. On the return trip, the collector may, when paying the second fare after Park Circle, ask for a transfer to Bergen Street, and get one for an extra two cents. On the basis of this, by "reversibility" hints, almost the entire collection of Brooklyn two-cent transfer forms may be obtained, and in addition the collector will also be certain to stumble into most of the free transfer forms. By planning a tour of a section of the city, having it broken up so that a number of transfers can be called for with a good chance of getting them, and not using any of the transfers, a fair collection may be obtained.

        A collector in a city for a short time may pick out a likely looking transfer point and note the lines that would probably transfer to each other there. Then he can walk about half a mile or so away from there in the proper direction and take a car back, asking for a transfer to the line crossing the selected transfer point. If this works, the collector has gained a transfer; if not, he has gained information of the transfer privileges of that system.

        Without asking for transfers at all, extensive car riding helps out in giving the collector an idea of exactly how car lines run in the city and, therefore, of just what is to be expected of a universal transfer privilege, which he may start with as a tentative assumption until further information modifies it. The collector can also use information as to routing in order to help classify any transfers obtained and to help find hints of new transfers, whether on the "reversibility" basis or otherwise. In any event, the thorough transfer collector is likely to follow the slogan of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company: "Trolley 'round and know your town!" This program, of course, enlarged to include buses and rapid transit services.

        123. Suburban and Interurban RidingWherever possible, the collector will try to spread this "local exploration" beyond his own immediate vicinity to neighboring localities. In many places, especially on the northern Atlantic coast, the local car systems of neighboring cities connect with each other, and very frequently the same car does local service for several cities and towns, so that staying on the same car a little longer will bring the collector into a new city and a new field for collection. By this mode of connecting from one street car line to another (using buses and rapid transit where necessary), a considerable amount of travel may be accomplished. For instance, we have traveled in this way from New York City to Wilmington, Del. in one direction, and to Hartford, Conn., in the other; and other similarly long distances. The travel is slow, but the passenger traveling in this way sees more of the cities traversed than he would traveling by train or auto, and he sees portions which are more characteristic, giving him a better idea of the places visited. There is also a good opportunity to stop off and visit and "sight-see" in every city passed through, thus making it more interesting not only from the viewpoint of transfer collection, but also from that of exploration.

        In other places less densely populated, local car services do not dovetail so readily with one another; but there are frequently what are called 'interurban" cars, connecting the various cities. These have a regular ticket arrangement, and their mode of fare collection is more like that on railroad trains than is found on local street cars and buses. In the Great Lakes states these interurban trolley lines interconnect for long distances, and issue inter-company passage tickets in successive coupons, very much like those in use in long-distance railroad travel. Interurban trolley systems are not normally transfer-issuing systems, but there may be exceptions, and a transfer collector riding on an interurban car should look for such exceptions. First, there may he places where the same system operates local lines, and local transfers are issued, so that one should always be on the lookout for places where an interurban company operates local service. Secondly, there may be intercompany transfers from an interurban to a local car such as happens, for example, in Tacoma, Wash. Thirdly, there may be cities where the interurban cars issue to their passengers transfers of the local car system good under the same conditions as when issued from local cars, and often in the same forms; thus, passengers entering Cleveland on interurban cars get one-cent transfers to cars of the Cleveland Railway Company, the transfers themselves being of that company. For instance, passengers entering on the Lake Shore Electric Railway may get transfers which are of the form issued by the Clifton line of the Cleveland Railway Company.

         In planning suburban and interurban trips, trolley maps of the region in question are helpful; such maps may, for instance, be found in the Rand McNally Commercial Atlas of America. And, inasmuch as many of these interurban systems also operate local transportation service, and the maps indicate also local systems operating suburban service, they are useful to the transfer collector in giving new hints of transfer-issuing systems, as well as denoting the geographical arrangement and classification of those systems. In riding from city to city, interurban buses may also be used; these are becoming quite common, and can frequently lie used for travel to places where there is no direct trolley.

        The interurban trolley systems indicated on trolley and transportation maps are sometimes simply suburban lines of local trolley systems, and sometimes the same system that operates interurban lines may also operate local lines. In looking for transfer-issuing systems in regions covered by interurban and suburban rides, it is useful to remember this.

        124. City Exits.  In connection with suburban and inter-urban riding, it is well to learn the various ways to leave a city by trolley, whether it be one's own city or any of the cities covered during the course of the exploration. We will refer subsequently to the help of maps and guide books in this matter. We may remark, however, that in many cases interurban lines have depots of their own, as distinct as those of any railroad line, and, especially in western cities, the common trolley exits are by way of cars obtained at such depots; one merely has to learn at which depot one gets a car to a particular place. In other cases it is not so simple, especially when suburban extensions or connections of local lines are involved, or where the interurban cars do not actually run into the city. Thus, in many of the large eastern cities, there is a complex of trolley exits which the transfer collector, in the course of his explorations of the locality, should ascertain, and incidentally add to his knowledge of the city. Of course, a knowledge of these exits involves some knowledge of where each of these exits leads.

        There are many cities, of course, which are so isolated that trolley or bus exits can hardly lead anywhere; or where such exits would be of no interest to the transfer collector. But in the case of most of the large cities, the question of such exits is of some interest.

        To illustrate how complex this exit question may become, we cite some examples. New York City can supply us with an excellent one. Absolutely no interurban lines run into the center of the city, if we except the Albany stage line, and, possibly, the Hudson tubes leading to the New Jersey suburbs, though the latter is really suburban rapid transit. The city is served by purely local subway, elevated, and surface car lines, and some local buses. The Hudson tubes run subway service to Jersey City, Hoboken, Harrison, and Newark, N. J. Staten Island ("Borough of Richmond"), though part of the city, is really suburban, reached by ferry from Manhattan (at "South Ferry"), Brooklyn, and some points in New Jersey. The eastern edge of the Borough of Queens is really also a suburban district, shading out into Long Island. The bodies of water surrounding and dividing the city divide the suburban areas into four main parts: first, the mainland east of the Hudson, represented near the city by the Bronx and Westchester County; second, Long Island, starting with the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens; third, Staten Island; and fourth, New Jersey, to which Staten Island constitutes one way of approach. The exits via the Bronx to the mainland east of the Hudson are as follows: (1) the Van Cortlandt exit, Broadway and 242nd Street, the terminal of the Broadway branch of the West Side subway, where cars are to be had for Yonkers and Hastings, connecting at Yonkers for Mount Vernon and Tuckahoe; at Tuckahoe connection is made for White Plains and Tarrytown; (2) the Woodlawn exit, reached by shuttle train from the end of the Jerome Avenue subway line, with connection from the West Side Elevated at 167th Street; there are to be had the Central Park Avenue cars of the Yonkers lines, connecting at the end of the line or at McLean Avenue with cars for either Yonkers or Mount Vernon; (3) the Bronx River Road exit, at the end of the Willis Avenue car line, with connections similar to exit 2; the McLean Avenue car from there runs directly into the center of Yonkers; (4) the most important of the Bronx exits, at White Plains Road and 241st Street, reached by shuttle train from the end of the "East 180th Street" line of the East Side Subway the shuttle also connecting with a shuttle starting at the Fordham Road station of the Third Avenue Elevated; here are found cars for Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, connecting at Mount Vernon for Tuckahoe, White Plains, and Tarrytown, and at New Rochelle for Larchmont, Rye, Rye Beach, Port Chester, Stamford, and through Stamford with most of Connecticut; (5) the N. Y. W. & B. exit, a rapid transit suburban line reached from the 133rd Street station of the Third Avenue Elevated or from the end of the "East 180th Street" line of the East Side Subway, leading to White Plains or to Larchmont, and connecting at Larchmont with the same Connecticut connections as exit 4. Without finishing the list of exits from New York City, this will give an idea of how complicated the suburban transportation exits may be. Sometimes information obtained in regard to exits from cities visited may be conveniently kept in short memoranda such as the following extract in regard to Philadelphia exits: "To Chester from Subway (R 37) or via Darby (R 11 from Subway, then R 76), or from 3 & Jackson (reached by R 5 S on 2)."

        Many of these exits from any city will have their own fare zone and transfer privilege arrangements, and the exits themselves are thus a good source for the collection of transfer forms.

        125. Other Modes of Travel We would hardly suggest traveling from one city to another for the mere purpose of scouting for transfer forms. But frequently some nearby place where transfer forms are available may be of sight-seeing interest and the railroad or boat trip there and back interesting and not so long or so expensive as to be more than a pleasant way to fill in spare time. In such a case it should by all means be considered by the transfer collector. Sometimes special excursions may be taken advantage of for outings, and incidentally for transfer collecting. in certain regions, particularly those served by the Pennsylvania Railroad, such Sunday railroad excursions are common. In general, a sight-seeing trip of this sort should not be too long to admit of return the same day. One may also allow for trolleying one way and returning by railroad. Of course, it one is taking a long trip anyway, collecting transfers at stop-over points adds interest to the trip and gives the traveler a better knowledge of those cities.

        126. Points To Be Noticed by the Collector.  A transfer collector on a trip to any place, whether it be in his own immediate vicinity or to other cities, should observe everything in regard to the routing of local transportation lines, whether street car, bus, or rapid transit, and the general appearance, coloring, signboards, etc., of the vehicles of the various types on any system in the territory covered. It is of advantage to note also any company numbering or lettering of the various routes, and, in general, the nomenclature of those routes. If there is company numbering or lettering, it should he noted in such detail as may be possible (see Appendix D for examples); if otherwise, the collector may make up such a system of numbering or lettering if those routes turn out to be transfer-issuing units, or are involved in them. Again, it may he of interest to note, wherever sufficient information can be obtained, the number of car lines in a city, for comparison with the population; this comparison may readily he made by the car index (Section 66). The rule for the car index is: divide the number of car line[s] by the square root of the number of thousands in the population. 

        The interconnections of various routes and systems, the city exits, and the accessibility of important points, are also to be noticed; but the most important thing for the collector to observe is where the various routes go and how they connect with one another. He should learn this sufficiently to be able to visualize it in a sort of map form. Another important matter is the name and extent of territory of the system of systems operating local transportation in the various cites covered. These may include some of the suburban and interurban systems found in the atlas.

        Amount of fare and mode of payment of fare and issuance of transfer is also important; a transfer collector exploring any locality should note all these matters.


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