Home Page    Table of Contents     Next Chapter

Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        19. Issuance of TransfersThe general rule is that transfers are issued only when fare is paid. This is not always the case, however. For instance, it frequently happens that the conductor will go through the car issuing transfers at some point after fares have been collected; the Connecticut Company very often does this in the case of through passengers coming into a terminal city. Another instance is the "Mexico" line of the El Paso Electric Railway, where passengers boarding a car bound from Juarez, Mexico, for El Paso, Texas, pay fare on entering the car, while the conductor goes through the or issuing transfers after the United States border is crossed. But these instances are exceptions, and the general rule is as frequently advised: "Conductors will issue transfers only upon request when fare is paid."

        There is occasionally the arrangement of issuing transfers at the transfer point, when passengers are leaving. This is in accordance with the above role only on "pay-as-you-leave" cars, but otherwise it constitutes a distinct departure from the regular custom. This manner of transfer issuance is fairly common with continuation transfers, but is sometimes regularly adopted, as on Staten Island (N. Y. City) municipal cars during 1922, or on the buses of the Long Beach Transportation Company in Long Beach, Calif.

        A further step is the institution of the "agent's ticket" or the "inspector's ticket," where a special transfer agent meets cars arriving at the transfer point and hands out transfers to passengers as they get off the car. The Staten Island municipal cars at present use this transfer system exclusively; the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system and the Brooklyn City Railroad use it in most cases for the "feeder" variety of the continuation privilege; but in many cases the latter two systems require "conductor's feeder tickets," issued according to the regular rule, only when the fare is paid.

        Emergency transfers are necessarily issued when the contingency arises and not when fare is paid; hence generally when the change of cars is being made.

        The existence of prepayment stations sometimes complicates matters. Where a prepayment station is an exceptional matter, or even where they are common, the regular rule of issuing transfers when fare is paid may be adopted, and a transfer issued by the fare collector at the station. This is the case, for example, at the Public Service Terminal at Newark, N. J. (although now transfer privileges have been suspended in Newark); and this rule is strictly adhered to in Philadelphia, where there are a large number of prepayment stations on the elevated and subway lines.

        Or it may happen that conductors issue transfers to passengers boarding cars at prepayment stations (car house at Watertown, Mass.), or go through the car issuing transfers to passengers after the car leaves the prepayment station (Edgewater, N. J.; most subway cars in Boston).

        There is also such an arrangement, allied to the "agent's ticket," as having a transfer agent at a prepayment station give transfers to passengers leaving the station. This is the device used on the subway and elevated lines in New York and Boston.

        In the cases where transfers are issued at prepayment stations, whether by the fare collector on payment of fare, or by a special agent to outgoing passengers, there will usually be special prepayment station transfer forms which would certainly form an essential part of a complete collection of transfers of the system in question.

        We may note that where transfers are issued at a different time from fare collection, there is no control of what kind of fare the transfer is issued for, and therefore the transfer will this case must be issued irrespective of what fare the passenger paid, whether cash, ticket, token, or transfer. If there are to be any restrictions in this regard, the regular rule of issuing transfers only when fare is paid must be adopted. 

        Where transfers are regularly issued at the time of fare collection (especially if fare is paid on boarding the car), while other transfer forms are issued as "agent's tickets," either to passengers getting off at the transfer station or to passengers leaving a station platform, there is, of course, the possibility that a passenger may get two transfers, one of each kind, for the same fare. In some cases, as, for instance, in the case of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system, this is regularly used in certain cases. I take the liberty of quoting from their two-cent transfer form: "Transfers issued by short cars are good to all transferring lines; such lines, if beyond terminus, may be reached by next connecting car on Transfer Agent's Ticket." The language of this may seem rather obscure; it means, however, that if the car stops before the end of the line, and thus does not reach the transfer point, a regular transfer will be issued anyway; meanwhile the passenger can also get an agent's ticket which will enable him to get a car which does reach the transfer point. The passenger thus gets two transfers, and uses one on the second car, and the other on the third. This, in effect, amounts to giving the same transfer privileges as if the first car had gone through to the end of its own line.

        20. Passenger Using TransferOne of the essential conditions of a transfer ticket is that it must be used by the person to whom issued; in other words, it must be used for the fare of the same person who got the original ride. A transfer belonging rightly to one person is not supposed to be used by someone else; such a thing would mean letting two persons ride for the same fare. Hence the statement, very commonly found on transfer forms, that a transfer is not transferable.

        There is actually no check on this; and many states have laws penalizing the giving or selling of transfers to persons not entitled to them. Such laws are not in effect everywhere, and in some states without such laws the ground is occasionally covered by local ordinances. The following, for example, is the New York State law on the subject (N. Y. Penal Code, Sec. 1566):

    No transfer ticket or written or printed instrument giving, or purporting to give, the right of transfer to any person from a public conveyance operated upon one line or route of a street surface, elevated or underground railroad to a public conveyance upon another line or route of a street surface, elevated or underground railroad, or from one car to another car upon the same line of street surface, elevated or underground railroad, shall be issued, sold, or given except to a passenger lawfully entitled thereto. Any person who shall issue, sell or give away such a transfer ticket or instrument as aforesaid to a person not lawfully entitled thereto, and any person not lawfully entitled thereto who shall receive and use or offer for passage any such transfer ticket or instrument, or shall sell or give away such transfer ticket or instrument to another with intent to have such transfer ticket used or offered for passage after the time limited for its use shall have expired, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

        Provisions in other states are similar; though many states require some fraudulent intent on the part of the giver of a transfer before any penalty is applied. In some places stricter provisions are made; thus, a Chicago ordinance penalizes throwing transfers away without first tearing them up. In spite of that, whole transfers are frequently to be found lying abandoned in Chicago streets.

        Of course, it would be against such laws to give a person a transfer even for the purpose of collection, in states where the law is similar to that of New York in this respect. We wonder, however, how such laws would apply to giving a collector sample transfers from other states, or sample transfers which are mutilated or otherwise obviously cancelled, or sample transfers whose use is completely obsolete (such as most of the transfer forms issued by the Public Service Railway of New Jersey), so long as there was no attempt in any case to use these sample transfers for fare. This is at least one precaution a transfer collector should observe: not to use for fare any of his collection, or, in fact, any transfer at all not received by him in the usual way.

        But even in the absence of such laws, the "non-transferability" of transfers is recognized, and abuse of transfer privileges considered as an ordinary case of fraud.

        21. Fares Paid for TransferIt frequently happens that transfers are issued to all passengers paying fare, no matter what form the fare takes. Originally this was universally the case, but recently regulations have been made by many companies limiting the number of cars to be used on one fare. The attitude has been, as one street car company expressed it, that "one could ride all day on a nickel and a quart of transfers." The result is that, in many systems, transfers, except possibly under special conditions (usually in the case of continuation privileges), are issued only in exchange for cash fares (usually including reduced-rate fares such as passes, tickets, or tokens; though the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway issues transfers only on strictly cash fares). Also, where an extra transfer fee is charged, and it is not intended to collect more than once for another change of cars, is usually the case, then the ordinary transfer form cannot lie used in exchange for another transfer.

        Where there is no special provision for re-transferring, then there are two alternatives: either transfers are issued only for cash fares (usually including reduced-rate fares), thus allowing the passenger the use of only two cars for his fare; or else transfers may also be issued in exchange for other transfers, and the number of cars on which a passenger may ride for one fare is unlimited. And other legislation requires some special arrangement for repeating the transferral.

        This question, of course, cannot come up in systems not permitting a change of cars more than once between any two places. For example, if there is only one transfer point, no such question can arise, since transfers are issued only on cars going to the transfer point, and are received only on cars after the transfer point is passed. So there could naturally be no possibility of exchanging one transfer for another. But if two lines run so that they do not meet, and a third line (or perhaps a series of lines) is needed to connect from one to the other, this question might easily arise and require some sort of regulation.

        As for the distinction between cash fare and reduced-rate ticket, as found on the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway ("Bay State system"), we may also note the peculiar case of the ferry transfers issued by the purser of the ferryboats from Portsmouth, N. H., to Badger's Island, Kittery, Me.* These transfers were good on electric cars from Badger's Island; but the peculiarity that we may note here is that there were two distinct transfer forms, one issued to passengers paying full cash fare, the other to passengers giving tickets. The transfer privileges were the same for both, but there were two distinct forms of different colors, conspicuously labeled 'CASH' and 'TICKET' respectively. There can be no question of repeat transfers here, because this system (the Portsmouth, Dover, and York Street Railway), had no other transfer point than Badger's Island.

        22. Repeat TransfersBy this term we denote special arrangements by which passengers riding on a car under a transfer privilege (not a cash or ticket fare paid on that same car) may be allowed to transfer to another car. In many cases, such as the Boston Elevated Railway, or the Staten Island (New York City) municipal cars, this is done simply by issuing transfers to all passengers irrespective of the sort of fare paid, so that a passenger paying cash fare and a passenger giving a transfer are not distinguished at all in respect of their rights to further transfer. In such cases, we have what we may call "unlimited repeat," there being no way to limit the number of cars on which a passenger may ride for the single initial fare. There are other cases in which this repeat privilege is denied altogether, and in some instances (as in Brooklyn or Pittsburgh) it is restricted to what is in the nature of a continuation privilege. In Section 8 we have shown how this works: a "preliminary" continuation transfer is entitled to the same privileges as cash fare; while "feeder" forms are given for all sorts of fare; this general rule may be restricted in particular cases.

        As we have seen, where the continuation privilege is separately provided for, it usually carries this sort of special repeat privilege over and above what the system ordinarily allows; but aside from that, there are often special restrictions on the repeat privilege. We may consider the repeat privilege as divided, like the ordinary transfer privilege, into universal, restricted, and special; and we may also consider the limits (in respect to number of changes of car) and the mode of limitation.

        Where the repeat privilege is special, that is, where it is only found in a certain special series of lines, the same arrangement of exchanging one transfer for another may be conveniently used; in such cases, the only exchange of transfers that will be made is such as will cover that particular series of lines. Thus it can be regulated in whatever way may be necessary. For example, in the New York Railways system, there is a special free transfer privilege, and in only two cases are repeats allowed on it. To mention one of these cases, a passenger from East 14th Street may get a free transfer to Fourth Avenue northbound; exchange that for a transfer to 23rd Street westbound; exchange that again for a transfer to Broadway north; and again re-transfer to West 34th Street. In this way, by exchanging transfers, only that one route can be covered, in either direction, and transfers can be exchanged just three times. So that we have what we may call a triple repeat, covering five successive cars.

         But where the repeat privilege is too general, and yet is not unlimited; where the privilege depends rather on the number of cars than on the particular routes, some means of checking up on the number of cars used must be provided not covered by the simple exchange of ordinary transfers. Also, where a transfer fee is charged, so that transfers are sold, and it is therefore necessary for the conductor to turn in a transfer fee, then, unless it is intended to charge a new transfer fee at each repeat, it is obviously not feasible to exchange ordinary transfers. Some other device must be adopted in these cases to allow passengers another transfer where it is desired.

         The devices used are essentially the same as those used in overlap transfers; namely, attached coupons, special transfer forms, and punches. Combinations of these are also used, especially where more than one repeat is desired. These devices will be further considered when we take up transfer forms, particularly the route coupon arrangement. In cases where there are special continuation transfer forms, this is an example of different forms being used to indicate re-transfer.

        The use of a special transfer form for the second change of cars is a common arrangement, especially where a transfer fee is charged. Such we may call a repeat form, and the use of it usually means that only a single repeat is allowed (except possibly for continuation privileges). This repeat form is ordinarily distinguished from the regular form in some conspicuous manner, such as color, surcharges, etc. For example, on the Cleveland Railways (transfer fee, one cent) the repeat form, there called "free" transfer, is distinguished by its white color; in St. Louis, the distinction is made by the surcharge of horizontal red bars on the repeat transfers (here no transfer fee is charged). Before October, 1923, the Public Service Railway of New Jersey issued a few repeat forms, to be used in special cases only; three such forms in Newark were distinguished by their green color; the others were the same color as the regular forms issued by the same line, but surcharged "2" (for second transfer) and 'NO CHARGE,' in red. The use of punches is also made in this connection. A passenger presenting a transfer and desiring to re-transfer receives his transfer back, punched in a special place provided for that purpose. This process is usually called validation. There may be several validation spaces provided, or even spaces for special kinds of validation (for example, over some definite line). This device is used especially in the vicinity of San Francisco.

        The route coupons, in their ordinary use for this purpose, serve somewhat the same purpose as the successive attached coupons of an inter-company railroad ticket, the conductor on each car detaching a coupon, and the conductor on the last car taking in the whole remainder of the transfer. This is arranged in several ways, based on the prototype of the "Smith patent" form, which we will consider later. Here the number of attached coupons indicates the number of repeats allowed; thus, if two such route coupons are attached to the transfer, they represent a provision for a double repeat.

         A curious variation of the route coupon device is found in Pittsburgh, where some transfers have attached coupons indicating that another transfer may be issued on that one; if the passenger had boarded the first car before reaching the inner zone limit, the coupon would not have been given out with the transfer. This is really a sort of hybrid coupon the use of which is partly repeat and partly overlap.

        Of course, combinations of these repeat devices may be used. For instance, in Los Angeles (on the "yellow cars") there is a special transfer form issued from shuttle cars as "preliminary continuation"; on the regular transfer form there is an attached coupon, and the "feeder" privilege is indicated by validating the transfer. The "bus tickets" of the same company have four validation spaces on the route coupon, allowing passengers to ride on three main-line cars and one shuttle before boarding a bus, then re-transferring from the bus once more to another car or bus, by means of the route coupon device.

        Sometimes, as is the case in Pittsburgh, a special form is used to denote that re-transfer may be given by means of a regular form.

        Repeat transfer privileges, it may be noticed, are usually more limited than regular transfer privileges, and, though sometimes just as wide, this is not always the case. So for instance, we may have (as in Newark, N. J., before October, 1923) a universal transfer privilege with a special repeat privilege. In this connection we may note that repeat privileges usually are more extensive in connection with continuation transfers than otherwise.

         23. Reversibility of RepeatsThe application of the principle of the reversibility of fare to the case of repeat transfers is slightly more complicated than in the case of ordinary transfers, and exceptions are hence more common. In this connection we may also take into account instances where one or more of the changes are made through a prepayment or postpayment station, in which case it is the same as with agents' tickets, and no discrimination can be made as to the kind of fare the passenger originally paid.

        To illustrate how to reverse a repeat transfer, let us suppose that it is possible to transfer from line A forward (using "forward" to denote the direction of the initial trip, and "backward" for the direction of the reverse trip) to line B forward, and again to line C forward. On the reverse trip we take line C backward, transfer to line B backward, and then to line A backward to our starting point. Now, if a special repeat form has been used, line B will issue it both times―but it will have to issue repeat transfers going in both directions. If validation or route coupons, or any other device, is used, it will have to cover the reverse trip on some form issued, or we have a case irreversible fare.

        But we may carry the deduction farther on the initial trip we have been able to transfer from line A forward to line B forward, at least as far as the second transfer point. So, reversing the route, we should, for the very same amount of fare, be able to transfer from line B backward, at least if we board at or after the junction of Band C, to line A backward; this is the last part of our reverse trip. And similarly the last part of our initial trip could also be made for the same fare as the entire trip. Hence we may say in general that where there is a repeat privilege over certain lines, the fare that will cover the entire trip will cover any part either of that trip or of the reverse trip. For example, the special free transfer form issued on westbound cars of the Fourteenth Street cross town line of the New York Railways is labeled: "At 4th Avenue and 14th Street N. only on 4th and Madison Avenue cars," and bears the notation:

On surrender of this ticket properly punched northbound 4th and Madison Avenue conductors will issue on request a retransfer to westbound 23d Street Crosstown cars, and in the same manner passenger may retransfer again to northbound Broadway cars and again to westbound 34th Street Crosstown cars.

         This repeat privilege may be summed up as follows: "14th St. W. to 4th Ave. N., to 23d St. W., to Broadway N., to 34th St. W." The reverse trip may be similarly denoted (in the same type of abbreviation) as: "34th St. E. to Broadway S., to 23d St. E., to 4th Ave. S., to 14th St. E." There should be forms enough to cover any part of either trip. For instance, a southbound Broadway car passenger from 34th Street should be able to get a free transfer to eastbound 23rd Street cars, with a repeat privilege to 4th Avenue south, and again to 14th Street eastbound; such forms are to be obtained, and, in all, it requires eight distinct transfer forms to accomplish this. (That is, 14th Street west, 4th Avenue north, 4th Avenue south, 23rd Street east, 23rd Street west, Broadway north, Broadway south, and 34th Street east.) In this way, by reversing repeat privileges, many more transfer forms can often be obtained than by reversing ordinary forms. The collector of transfer forms should not overlook this source of hints.


* This system has discontinued its operation.


Home    Contents    Next