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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        153. Transfer Hunting from Various Cities.  A transfer collector's opportunities for getting new transfer forms within a reasonable distance of his base of operations depends considerably on the place where that base is situated, how many large cities are within a reasonable radius, and how many transfer forms are issued in each, as well as the probability in each case of the frequency of new issues. A variable color schedule also has its effect on that question.

         In the west, for instance, where large cities are few and far between, or else clustered together in a small space with no other fair-sized cities within hundreds of miles, the opportunities for the transfer collector are very limited indeed. For example, a transfer collector living in Denver would hardly have many chances to collect transfers outside his own city, and the number of forms issued there is not much above a dozen. So we must come to the conclusion that Denver is a poor place for a transfer collector to live, though, of course, not an impossible place.

         In the Great Lakes States the chances are considerably better. There the trolley cars take one great distances in any direction, to all sorts of cities, large and small, most of which have a wide variety of transfer forms, though some large cities, such as Chicago and Milwaukee do not afford such remarkable opportunities as might be expected.

         It is, however, on the north Atlantic coast, where great cities are congregated within a very small space, that the transfer collector's chances are best. Of course, this will have to be taken with some qualification, but it is, nevertheless, true that a collector living in Boston, New York or Philadelphia or somewhere in the vicinity of those cities has probably the chance of collecting more different varieties of transfer forms than a collector living in almost any other part of the country. Probably the highest collecting opportunity would be near one of the large cities of Connecticut, let us say, New Haven; for these cities, besides the fact that each of them has an unusually large variety of transfer forms due to a variable color schedule, are also within easy reach of the three large cities above named besides many smaller but important towns.

         It may be difficult to state just what the transfer collector should consider as his radius of operation. A good rule is: far enough only to allow of a return the same day. Of course, to go to the limit of such a radius of operations very often would be entirely too expensive; still an occasional trip to some large city even at such a distance may be found worthwhile, if some sight-seeing or business be combined with the transfer hunting.

         To illustrate this matter, we will take up the opportunities presented to collectors living in certain cities. Each case will only partially be considered, because we cannot pretend to know of every transfer form issued within such large regions.

         154. Opportunities for Collection from New York.  When a transfer collector lives in New York, he may note that the number of transfer-issuing systems in his own city is large enough to make it hardly necessary for him to leave the city to obtain a considerable collection. To our own knowledge there are at least 330 transfer forms being issued at any time within the city limits, and the possibility of new issues increases that number.

         For example, the Third Avenue Railway system has a universal transfer privilege on its Manhattan lines, on its Bronx lines, and on its Queens lines, though no transfer between lines belonging to different borough zones. On some of the lines the route is the issuing unit, on most of them, and indeed on all the Queens lines of the system, each direction on each line is a separate unit and therefore issues a separate transfer form. Our estimate of the total number of transfers obtainable on these lines is 77. Similar opportunity presents itself on the New York Railway system as regards two-cent transfer forms; in addition to which there are special privilege free transfer forms, mostly connected with transferral to and from subsidiary and allied lines (New York and Harlem, Second Avenue, Ninth Avenue). We believe that there are 20 of the two-cent forms and (including free transfers issued by subsidiary companies) 20 free transfer forms, thus totalling 40 for the system. The Brooklyn lines have a very complex arrangement of transferring, of which it has been said that there are more varieties of transfers than elsewhere, but they never seem to take you where you want to go. However, it may be safely said that within the central fare zone and on the three main subsidiary companies, the two-cent transfer privilege is almost universal, and each line issues two such transfers, one for each direction; free transferrals are fairly haphazard. Also note an irregular two-cent transfer point at Coney Island Avenue and Neptune Avenue, Coney Island. Taking everything into account, we estimate the number of distinct transfer forms to be found on the Brooklyn systems at somewhat over 150.

         The Interborough Rapid Transit system issues transfers only at 149th Street and Third Avenue, where the elevated crosses over the subway, and they transfer to one another. Each line in each direction issues a separate form and furthermore, each issues both an A. M. and a P. M. form, thus making a total of 8. Likewise there is a continuation form on the Manhattan & Queens, a one-line system, where on that account one would hardly suspect any necessity for transfers. The Long Island Electric Railway operates two lines connecting and transferring to each other with an overlap privilege at Jamaica; each of the two lines issuing a separate form, making two forms for that company.

         The Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (Hudson Tubes) issues forms on its Sixth Avenue tube sufficiently resembling transfers to be included in a collection: "refund coupons" at the exit on the southbound side, and "exit coupons" at entrance on the northbound side. A different form is issued at each station differing only in the station name printed on the form. This means 10 forms, since we can look for a form of each class at each of the stations; Christopher St., 9th St., 14th St., 19th St., 23rd St. An occasional color variation would bring up the number of "New York" forms of this system to 15 or over. If we also wish to take into account the forms of this system issued in New Jersey, we have a separate one-cent refund coupon form issued at each of the five stations in Jersey City or Hoboken and "exit coupons" issued to passengers from Newark going to Sixth Avenue, and issued in at least seven different colors. Thus we have at least 27 possible forms to be looked for.

        On Staten Island there are three transfer-issuing systems. The municipal cars issue transfers on the "agent's ticket" plan, the only difference in form being a change of color each day. There being, however, at least five colors, at least 5 forms can be collected there. The "yellow cars" in the same borough issue two classes of transfer, each in several colors, and we know that thus at least 8 forms can be collected. The Staten Island Rapid Transit issues transfers from the North Shore to the East Shore, and vice versa, thus giving 2 forms resembling the Moran type except for the omission of the timing. Thus Staten Island produces at least 15 transfer forms. So far, we have considered approximately 330 forms. We may add the receipt forms on local trains of the Long Island Railroad between Brooklyn and Jamaica, thus adding 3 more New York City forms. But if the collector chooses to go beyond his own city limits, there are still more forms awaiting him. Into Long Island, he may take the N. Y. & L. I. Traction lines from Jamaica into Mineola and Hempstead, and there get 3 more transfer forms. Or he may go up into Westchester County, and get further forms from the Third Avenue Railway system up there, in Yonkers, Tuckahoe, Mount Vernon, Pelham, and New Rochelle; regular transfer forms and two overlap receipt forms (one in Yonkers and one in Pelham). In most cases the line is the issuing unit; sometimes line and direction. Altogether we have registered 32 such forms. At New Rochelle, the car from Stamford (N. Y. & Stamford Railway) gives transfer to Third Avenue system cars, usually yellow, sometimes red. The same line farther up gives a three-cent transfer at Port Chester and a four-cent transfer to Stamford lines; there are also other transfer forms from this system as follows: one from Larchmont lines, one from Rye lines, and a free and a three-cent transfer form from Port Chester lines (overlap plan), giving a total of 8 forms on this system. The collector may also go up beyond Tuckahoe into White Plains and get an overlap transfer from each line, and a special form from the Tarrytown line good only to the Court House, 5 in all. Thus, by trips into Westchester, the New York collector may add 45 new forms.

        A boat or train trip up the Hudson River will yield 2 forms at Ossining and 4 at Peekskill; 2 at Kingston, and at least 1 each at Poughkeepsie and Newburgh (variable colors; at Newburgh, bus transfers). At Albany and at Troy, 1 from each line, totalling about 21 forms; while trolleying over to Schenectady we get 12 more. Combing the Hudson valley so far up, therefore, adds at least 43 new forms, or in all, so far 421 forms.

        The collector riding up towards Stamford can collect there and at other Connecticut cities, 1 form from each line in each city, but the color being changed each month, and five colors being used, the possibilities are multiplied by 5. Estimate: 8 lines at Stamford, 5 at Norwalk, 26 at Bridgeport, 4 at Derby, 4 at Ansonia, 28 at New Haven, 7 at Hartford, 14 at Waterbury, 7 at New Britain, 8 at Meriden, 6 at Middletown; total 137 issuing units, therefore 685 forms. Add a couple of occasional special forms, 687. A rail trip to Danbury and to New London will yield 1 general fom1 in each city, making a total of 689 forms in Connecticut within reach of the New York collector. Total forms so far considered, 1110.

        Most of New Jersey is a blank with respect to transfers, but they are obtainable in places even there. From the West 125th Street Ferry the New Yorker can go to Fort Lee and Hackensack, and obtain a one-cent transfer form on each of the following routes: Hudson River, Fort Lee (at either place), Englewood, Palisade (at Fort Lee), Hackensack, Bergen, Main (at Hackensack). Also at Carlstadt from the Passaic to the Hackensack line. About 10 identification check forms on the Main and Hackensack lines may also be included; total from this source, 18 forms. Or again, a Springfield car from Newark will reach the Morris County Traction lines, where each line issues a different colored transfer. At least 4 forms can be thus obtained. Again, a ride from Newark to Trenton gives one the opportunity to collect 11 forms from the , regular car lilies at Trenton, and 3 fom1s across the river at Morrisville, Pa. Also 2 Public Service forms, 1 issued by each of the lines entering Trenton. This brings our New Jersey total up to 42. Add 2 forms in Asbury Park, and 2 in Atlantic City (reached by train or boat excursions), and we have 46 New Jersey forms.

        Or we may continue our trip beyond Trenton into Philadelphia, where the variety is very wide indeed and including both free and exchange transfers, may well be set above 200. Beyond there about 5 varieties in Chester and 11 in Wilmington, Del., bring the total possibilities for the New York collector up to 1372, at a low estimate. A trip in the direction of the Lehigh Valley to Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Mauch Chunk, places the possibility at well above 1400. And if we take the excursions offered by railroads to Baltimore (estimate 68 forms) and Washington (estimate 34 forms), the collector living in New York finds that he has a fair chance of collecting almost 1500 distinct forms, even without waiting for new issues to increase that number, as they inevitably will; especially since places like Brooklyn and Philadelphia arc very much subject to such new issues with some minor routing changes.

        This cannot claim to be a complete account of the transfer forms within a fair radius of New York and may change at any moment, out it will give a fair idea. A collector in Philadelphia can cover pretty much the same territory with the exception of such places as Hartford or New London, and including many places in Pennsylvania not normally within operating radius from New York. The preponderance is altogether in favor of the New York collector, however. The collector in New Haven will be able to take in most of the territory described in this section, and in addition a large territory in Massachusetts and Rhode Island which will give him opportunity to acquire more forms than the collector in New York.

        155. Opportunities for Collection from ClevelandWe gave New York as a good example of a center situated on the north Atlantic coast; now for an instance of a center on the Great Lakes and suppose, for example, that our collector lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Here we cannot give so complete an account of the opportunities this collector will have. However, we will suppose that he tries to collect transfers first within the immediate vicinity of his own city. There is only one operative transfer-issuing system in the main section, the Cleveland Railway Company. There are two main classes of forms, the one-cent forms and the so-called "free" forms, which are generally repeat forms issued on one-cent transfers. Certain out-of-town shuttle" ("dinkey") lines do not come within the transfer privileges, but the Linndale Dinkey gives free transfer to the Lorain Avenue line. In other cases, "free" transfer forms may be obtained as follows: To obtain forms from crosstown lines, take a car from downtown and transfer to the line in question, then get a retransfer. To obtain "free" forms from downtown lines, transfer from the Depot line to the line in question, and ask for a transfer to a crosstown line. The Depot and Pier lines each give only a one-cent form. Each line is a transfer-issuing unit, but sometimes several routes are grouped together as a single unit. Altogether 61 forms are obtainable in this way. Besides this we note that a five-cent fare obtains ill certain regions on the outskirts; on the Lorain Avenue line this is true beyond West 117th Street, and a special receipt form is issued to passengers paying such fare to distinguish them from through passengers. The neighboring city of Lakewood is also served by this system, and there is found probably the queerest fare rate in the United States. Passengers in Cleveland normally pay a six-cent fare (9 tickets for 50 cents); but a passenger from there to Lakewood has his fare reduced to five cents, provided he goes across the city line; thus, on the Lakewood car lines, the farther you go the less you pay. Within Lakewood itself the fare is also peculiar, being three cents provided you can pay in tickets or in exact change; otherwise five cents. We know that at least two different kinds of receipt forms are issued to keep track of fares paid by passengers in this city. Thus, from the Cleveland Railway system, 64 forms are obtainable.

        The region called West Park has lately been annexed by Cleveland, and part of it is served only by an interurban company, the Cleveland Southwestern. There is a transfer point, there the main line to Bucyrus crosses the local Puritas Springs line; here a transfer form is issued which is the same form as is used everywhere else on that system (Elyria, Oberlin, etc.). Thus we can get 65 forms, in the city of Cleveland, including Lakewood in our exploration because the ride out there is the cheapest in Cleveland.

        Taking interurban cars or buses to other cities, we get , a good variety of transfer forms. The "Southwestern" we have already considered; the Lake Shore cars go regularly to Lorain (1 form), Sandusky (1 form), Toledo (1 form on the Community Traction Company), and Detroit. In the last-named city there is a good opportunity for collecting transfers; but traveling in that way would hardly leave time for a hunt in the suburban regions (Wyandotte, Pontiac, or even Windsor, Ont.); still, if a rail trip is used for the return, it might be done. In Detroit itself, the street cars are municipally operated; each line issues just one transfer form, there being 27 listed car lines, besides which there is an emergency form and a bus emergency form. The regular green buses also operate on a universal privilege, 1 form for each line, giving 11 more forms. Thus, out this way, 43 forms are available without searching in the suburbs of Detroit. We may also note that it is possible in this direction to reach Lima and even Fort Wayne, Ind., with through cars from Cleveland; we cannot state just what the opportunities for transfer collection are in those cities, though they should be good. Between the suburbs of Detroit and these cities, we may estimate 40 more forms, bringing our total up to 148.

        Another interurban line is the "Southwestern," and we have seen that its transfer form is obtainable within the limits of Cleveland. But on that line is Mansfield, where local service is operated by the Ohio Public Service system. We estimate the number of forms obtainable there as 8. Farther on in the same direction are Marion and Columbus. The collection opportunities in Marion we do not know, though we can guess that they are somewhat similar to Mansfield; in Columbus there are approximately 15 forms readily obtainable. Estimate, therefore, 31 forms altogether from this source, and bring up the total to 179.

        The Northern Ohio system leads to Akron and Canton, and takes in also other cities in the same region. In Akron, there is a car and a bus form; there is also a transfer form for each of certain neighboring cities, bringing the number of forms up to 5. In Canton each line issues a transfer, estimate 17 forms. Through Akron (or Silver Lake Junction, north of Akron) can be reached the city of Alliance, where probably 3 transfer forms can be obtained. Our total so far thus being brought up to 204.

        We may now turn to the Youngstown bus line on which are to be found: Warren, Niles and Youngstown. In the two former cities probably 12 car and bus transfers are obtainable; in Youngstown there are about the same number of forms issued by the Youngstown Municipal Railway. Probably about 7 more forms could be obtained beyond Youngstown, in the Pennsylvania towns of New Castle and Sharon. Our total is now 235, more or less.

        Ashtabula is also accessible by car or bus, where three transfer forms are obtainable. Beyond there one can reach Erie, Pa., via Conneaut, where each line and direction is a separate transfer-issuing unit, yielding about 38 forms. The total is now brought up to approximately 276.

        If we now consider traveling by rail other places are opened to access without requiring travel beyond a single day. One can go to Pittsburgh (there being frequent railroad excursions there), and get a large variety of forms, the privilege being of the overlap variety. We estimate about 100 forms as obtainable there. Again, the collector may go to Buffalo, and there and in the nearby cities of Lockport and Niagara Falls, the International Railway issues about 48 transfer forms, the number being increased by a slightly variable color schedule. It is even possible to go on to Rochester (N. Y.), where there is a single form from buses, and one from each of the two interurban companies to local lines; also a variable color schedule (color changed each week) on the local cars, each line issuing a different form. There being 3 colors used known to us, and 21 local lines, that makes 63 forms; with the others, there are 66 Rochester forms. Our total so far is 1490. A trip to Cincinnati would net the collector 78 forms from the city (an A. M. and a P. M. form from each of the 39 localities) and 15 from the Kentucky suburbs. Our total is now 583. Trips to other Ohio cities and to Wheeling, etc., could easily bring the total number of available forms up to over 700.

        156. Opportunities for Collection in Los AngelesHaving instanced how an Atlantic and a Great Lakes center of operation works in giving opportunities for the collection of transfers, we will next consider a center on the Pacific coast. Los Angeles is a fair sample, though probably the number of accessible forms there is a bit higher than elsewhere in the vicinity.

        In the main or "metropolitan" part of the city (excluding the large areas that are politically but not physically annexed, and which are, therefore, parts of the city in name only), the Los Angeles Railway is the main car system. Out toward Hollywood there are the "green buses" (14 A. Motor Bus Company). There is also the Pacific Electric Railway, which we will consider later, because it is also an interurban system. On the Los Angeles Railway, generally speaking, each car line issues an inbound and an outbound form; the "V" line issues but a single form. Shuttle cars are excepted, there being only one form for all shuttles. There is also one form for all five-cent bus lines, and one for each ten-cent bus line; also a "bus ticket" good to ten-cent bus lines or to green buses. There is also a "special traffic transfer" given out by agents who collect fare at certain points from passengers before entering the car. The total number of forms on this system is 43. The Los Angeles Motor Bus Company gives transfers good on its own lines, or on those of either the L. A. Railway or the Pacific Electric; each line issues a six-cent form (one zone, in Hollywood), and a ten-cent form (two zone or to L. A. Railway lines). This system issues altogether 8 forms. The Pacific Electric Railway issues in Los Angeles 2 outer zone and 2 inner zone forms (1 for east side, 1 for west side lines); also a "joint transfer" form for ten-cent transfer to the green buses; altogether 5 forms in the city proper. In other cities the Pacific Electric issues a car form and a bus form wherever either is necessary. San Bernardino and Redlands use a single form. Total of Pacific Electric forms estimated at 16. Our total thus becomes 67.

        Within the Pacific Electric territory are a number of local bus systems, among which we may name: Bay Cities Transit Company, Santa Monica and Sawtelle, estimate 5 forms; Hodson Transportation Co., Venice, 1 form; Long Beach Transit Co., Long Beach, 2 forms; West Side Transit Co., Long Beach, 1 form; B & H Transportation Co., Long Beach, 8 forms. There is also the Glendale and Montrose Railway, a car line in Glendale issuing 2 transfer forms. These bring our total up to 86. Rail trips may be made within a single day to San Diego (estimate 4 forms) or Santa Barbara (5 forms), giving a total opportunity for 95 forms. This is nowhere near the record that could be made by the New York or Cleveland collector, but in less densely populated territory this is to be expected. The best chance in Pacific regions is to wait for new issues, which will increase the number considerably.

        157. Transfer Collecting While Traveling.  A long journey affords as good an opportunity of collecting new transfer forms as probably any circumstance could. The collector will thus be induced to make stopovers where possible, and in addition learn to know a number of different cities and their environs in a way that he could not do if he simply passed through on a train. Derelict transfers may even be picked up at stations where a stop is made for some ten or twenty minutes. A collector taking such a rail journey would do well to take along a fair number of transfer envelopes, besides such envelopes as he already has for cities to be covered. Taking along the most important parts of the index, and designating on the time table in advance what geographical division and subdivision each important city belongs to, the collector is ready to keep in good filing order a small portion of his collection, and thus add to the enjoyment of the trip a side amusement, collecting during the stops and classifying during the travel. A transcontinental trip, if properly planned and arranged, could easily net between a hundred and two hundred new forms, each with its quota of information concerning the cities passed through, and each serving as a memorandum and souvenir of the trip.

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