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Notes on the Collection of Transfers

W. J. Sidis




        24. Companies and SystemsWe have used the word "system," as speaking of systems issuing transfers, etc. But we have not as yet indicated what we mean by that term. Generally speaking, transfers are given by cars of one company to cars of the same company. (Note that the term "cars," as we use it, includes buses or any other kind of vehicle from which transfers might be issued.)

        Where this simple situation obtains, the company is a system in itself. And generally, a system includes a set of car routes operated under the same management as a united whole. It is, however, largely a matter of discretion as to when two or more companies should be lumped together under one system, and when a single company should be divided into several systems. For instance, both at Portsmouth and at Concord, N. H., the Boston and Maine Railroad operates trolley cars and issues transfers between them; but, on account of the very distance between the two sets of routes, they can hardly be said to be one system.

        There are other cases of geographical separation of lines belonging to the same company; thus, the Massachusetts Northeastern Railway operates the body of its lines along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire state line north of the Merrimac River, not diverging far from the state line in either direction. But it also has another set of lines about thirty miles away, commonly known as the Dover, Somersworth, and Rochester Railway, operating between those cities in New Hampshire. This mayor may not be considered as a separate system. Likewise the question arises with the Lebanon Division of the Reading Light and Transit Company in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the case of the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, the lines north of Boston and the lines south of Boston are not geographically connected, but, being fairly operated as a whole, it is probably best to consider them as one system.

        Another case to be considered is that of new lines acquired by a company but not yet assimilated, as the Easton (Pa.) lines of the Lehigh Valley Transit Company, which still has its own forms and issues of transfers, and its separate cars bearing the old monogram of the Easton Transit Company. It may be convenient, for the purpose of classifying transfers, to include it as a separate system under the old name.

        However, the most difficult problem in the matter of separating systems is in the case of subsidiary and connected companies. These mayor may not belong to the same system, according to the manner of operation, under which heading one of the most important items of consideration for our purpose is the form and mode of issuance of transfers. In New York City we have three instances of this problem that will serve very well as illustrations. Cars labeled "Third Avenue Railway System" are in use on lines throughout Manhattan, the Bronx Borough, Long Island City, Yonkers, Tuckahoe, Pelham, Mount Vernon, and New Rochelle. It is true that, in Long Island City, above the name of this system on the cars there are to be found, in very small, almost invisible letters, the words "Leased From." Transfers issued in different parts of these lines are labeled with the names of various subsidiary companies, but one car receives transfers from the other depending on the zone rather than the particular subsidiary company. The forms are fairly uniform throughout, and use the same sort of paper and are printed m the same type; some of the Westchester County forms are differently arranged, but the back belongs to the standard Third Avenue form. Only in Long Island City might there be some doubt, for there the form is slightly different. But on the whole we may consider it as having been acquired by the Third Avenue system, since it came under receivership of officers of the Third Avenue company when it was separated (on May 10, 1922) from another company, the New York and Queens County Railway. The substitution of Third Avenue cars for Queens County cars is, for instance, an indication of the annexation. In this case, we might consider the whole as a single system.

        Slightly more complicated is the question of the New York Railways Company and the affiliated but independent companies. These companies are: the New York and Harlem Railroad traction lines, the Second A venue Railroad, the Eighth Avenue Railroad, and the Ninth Avenue Railroad. Each one of these companies presents a slightly different problem. The New York and Harlem lines do not really have an independent transfer system of their own, but give free transfers not only between their own two lines, but also to lines of the New York Railways proper, and the transfer form is practically uniform with that of the free transfers of the New York Railways. We can say the same of the Ninth Avenue Railroad, though that is slightly more independent, and uses a different type of transfer form. Therefore the collector will probably find it most convenient to classify these two companies as part of the New York Railways system. The single transfer form (continuation) in use on the Eighth Avenue Railroad is so obviously uniform with the Ninth Avenue form that it would be difficult to separate them; so this also may be put into the same system, though the company does not give transfers to, or accept transfers from, the others. But the Second Avenue Railroad is a slightly different case. It has a well-developed transfer system of its own, and transfers to the New York Railways only in one case, where a line of the latter company uses Second Avenue tracks. Hence we leave the Second Avenue Railroad out of the New York Railways system. We may possibly do the same with the Eighth Avenue Railroad, though it is hardly worth while. But the other companies it is most convenient to include.

        The most complicated case is that presented by the transportation companies in Brooklyn, N. Y. Here one may find several companies operating trolley cars and rapid transit (subway and elevated) lines, and issuing transfers carrying the initials of these companies. There are, in all, nine such companies, seven of which are controlled by the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (formerly the Brooklyn Rapid Transit). The other two, the Brooklyn City Railroad and the Van Brunt Street and Erie Basin Railroad, are technically independent. The subsidiary companies of the B. M. T. are operated as a whole, with the possible exception of the New York Rapid Transit (formerly the New York Consolidated). The Van Brunt Street and Erie Basin Railroad consists of a single line, transferring only to connecting B. M. T. lines; therefore, for transfer purposes, it is probably best to classify it as part of the B. M. T. system. As for the New York Rapid Transit, it gives transfers regularly to the other B. M. T. lines at two points, and to Brooklyn City Railroad cars at one point; but an example of the true classification of these lines is in their "block ticket," or emergency transfer, which is good on any B. M. T. lines for forty-eight hours. Hence the New York Rapid Transit really belongs in the B. M. T. system. The case of the Brooklyn City Railroad is slightly different; there are two points where transfer is given to B. M. T. lines, but this can be regarded as an exceptional arrangement; usually the Brooklyn City Railroad and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit carefully avoid giving transfers to each other's lines, and, especially since both supply a very large number on transfer forms, it is most convenient to classify the Brooklyn City Railroad as a separate system, and all the other Brooklyn lines as part of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system. We may note that, on all these lines, including the Brooklyn City Railroad, transfer forms are fairly uniform.

        In the District of Columbia the question arises as to the two main street car companies, the Washington Railway and Electric Company and the Capitol Traction Company, besides the Washington-Virginia Electric Railway. Both of the main street car companies give transfer to each other; and there is a transfer between the Capitol Traction and the Washington-Virginia. Still, as this is out of the ordinary transfer system of any of these companies, they are really to be considered separate systems.

         We may note that this division into systems is simply a matter of convenience for the transfer collector in classification, and does not refer to the actual management of the lines in question.

        There are other cases where the same system has different names in different states. In such cases one can usually classify them under the same system. But here again, a distinction must be drawn between that case and the case where two systems adjoin at the state line. For instance, on the car line from Providence, R. I., to Taunton, Mass., the Rhode Island part of the line is operated by the United Electric Railways, while the Massachusetts part is operated by the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway. But the operation of the two parts have nothing in common, except that the cars run through, much as cars of one railroad are frequently run through on to another. But the line from Darby, Pa., to Wilmington, Del., is a somewhat different proposition. There the only difference between the Pennsylvania and the Delaware part is the name of the company, which is known as the Southern Pennsylvania Traction Company in Pennsylvania, and in Delaware as the Wilmington and Philadelphia Traction Company. Tokens sold on these systems are absolutely the same irrespective of which state they were sold in, and the same fare token is good in either state. In this case, there is no difficulty in classifying the two companies under one system.

        25. Notation for SystemsFor the transfer collector who wishes to keep a systematic file of his transfers, the classification by systems is the first method to be taken into account. A proper code notation for the various systems covered is therefore a convenient thing to have. Of course the individual collector may readily devise a code that best suits his needs, but we are suggesting a basis on which such notation may be made, similar to the fare notation suggested in Sec. 11.

        One of the most obvious ways of classifying systems is geographical. If the same company has lines too far apart, with no connection, they will be most conveniently dealt with as separate systems. Thus each system will have a definite territory of its own, possibly slightly broken up, but nevertheless definite geographically. Hence a very obvious way to classify and, therefore, to code, these systems, is by geographical distribution. This can be done by the use of districts or divisions each divided into subdistricts or subdivisions. The major geographical divisions can be numbered, let us say, by Arabic numbers, while the subdivisions may be denoted by letters preferably in alphabetical order, starting with A for the sub-division containing the largest city in the geographical district. Thus each subdivision is denoted by a number followed by a letter―let us make it a capital letter for convenience. These divisions and subdivisions may be described or indicated on outline maps. However, we must remember in tracing them out, that it is systems and not territory that we wish to divide, for divisions or subdivisions may readily overlap. Division and subdivision boundaries should therefore be arranged with a view to avoiding this, and systems crossing these boundaries should be definitely assigned to one of the subdivisions, namely, to that one which contains the main part of it and the greatest number of the transfer points.

        Once these divisions and subdivisions have been mapped out, we may now proceed further and number the transfer-issuing systems in each subdivision; in order not to confuse it with either the division number or the subdivision letter, let us number them with small Roman numerals. Then the series of division number, subdivision letter, and system number, will denote one definite system.

        Of course, in arranging these divisions and subdivisions, we should note that subdivisions will be smaller, generally speaking, where population is denser, and may be made very large indeed where population is sparse. For instance in our own notation, Division 1 (New England) is many times smaller in area than Subdivision 9B (Southern California).

        In order to show how this works, we may refer the reader to Appendix A, where we have placed our own notation for geographical divisions and subdivisions in the United States. This notation is not one that we would especially recommend as the best, but it is one which we have found practicable.

        Of course all this is simply a matter of convenience in arranging and filing collected transfers, so whatever sort of notation or arrangement the individual collector finds most convenient, is for him the best. He may even simply number systems arbitrarily in any order, such as, for instance, the order in which they enter his own collection.

        26. Sub-SystemsIn many cases it is convenient, even after it has been decided what should constitute a system, to consider various parts of that system separately as though they had not been classified together into a single unit. We shall name each of such parts sub-systems. This may be done, for instance, where there is some distinct geographical separation, which may or may not be complete, as with the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway system (lines north of Boston and lines south of Boston completely separated), or with the Public Service Railway system in New Jersey (lines north and south of Trenton have only one junction point); or it may be done for the sake of separating different parts of the system where notation for lines is independent (this will be further considered later; but we give as an example the Third Avenue Railway System in New York, which we may divide into four sub-systems: Manhattan, Bronx, Long Island City, and Westchester County). Also it may be convenient sometimes to consider the different subsidiary companies as separate sub-systems (as the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system, or the Long Island Electric system, or the Atlantic City and Shore system). Of course, all this is a matter of convenience, but it simplifies matters in any of the above instances, or where the forms and issues of transfers differ materially in different parts of the system.

        Notation to indicate the sub-system referred to is comparatively simple. For instance, a main sub-system can be referred to without special notation, while the others are given special letters. Or a number in parentheses following the notation of the system may be assigned to each sub-system. In Appendix B, we give an example of how sub-system classification may be made. It is all purely a matter of convenience.

        27. Inter-Company TransfersAs we have indicated before, a transfer is usually between cars of the same company, but there are exceptions to this, where transfers are given from one company's lines to those of mother company. There are cases where different companies are sufficiently united to be indistinguishable, and it may not even be convenient to regard these as inter-sub-system transfers. Or, again, we may have the case of inter-sub-system transfers, which need only be noted in cases where they are exceptional (otherwise they are simply an integral part of the transfer arrangements of the system concerned), and we may have the inter-system transfers. These it is not always necessary to distinguish among. If we take the case of the New York Railways system, we may note that ordinary transfers on the New York Railways Company, which is the main company involved, are two-cent transfers; but, in special cases, this company gives free transfers to the Second Avenue Railway Company, the New York and Harlem traction lines, and the Ninth Avenue Railroad. These are essentially inter-company transfers, and it makes no real difference whether we regard these companies as part of the same system or not.

        Inter-company transfer privileges (except where the companies are to all intents and purposes completely united) are occasionally given, though not usually unless there is some sort of relation between the companies. In many cases, though, the fact that one company uses the tracks of the other or has taken over service formerly operated by the other, may account for this.

        One thing however, that we must be careful not to mistake for inter-company transfers, is where a through car is operated by more than one company in the course of its run. For example, cars of the Middlesex and Boston Street Railway run between Arlington and Lowell, Mass.; but from Billerica to Lowell they are operated by the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway and give transfers to Eastern Massachusetts car lines at Lowell. This is not an inter-company transfer in any sense. But in the case of the New York and Stamford Railway, which gives transfer to lines of the Connecticut Company at Stamford, and to lines of the Third Avenue system at New Rochelle, we have true inter-company transfer, even though the New York and Stamford uses the tracks of the other two companies mentioned at these respective terminal cities. This is true inter-company transfer because there is no change of operation. There are a few cases of inter-company transfers of this sort.

        Frequently the inter-company transfer is granted on different terms from the ordinary transfer, and, if so, some special form is used. Usually, unless this is the case, the ordinary transfer forms used on the system issuing the transfer will also do for the purpose of inter-company forms. Sometimes an extra transfer fee is required, as in the case of transfers between the various companies operating in the District of Columbia. The case of inter-company transfers given by the New York Railways Company is remarkable for being the reverse of this; namely, the inter-company transfer is cheaper than the ordinary transfer between cars of the same company.

        There is one case of an inter-company transfer used like an overlap fare receipt, not from car to car, but on a single car. There is a car line from Lowell to Haverhill, Mass., via New Hampshire, and the Massachusetts part at the Lowell end belongs to the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway, while the rest of the line belongs to the Massachusetts Northeastern system. Passengers from Lowell get inter-company transfers to be used when the car has crossed into New Hampshire.

        Reversibility of fares usually applies to inter-company transfers. However, reduced fare rates sometimes upset this, where there are not equal reductions on the lines of both companies. For instance take the Stamford inter-company transfer mentioned above. On the New York and Stamford Railway car, passengers boarding within the city get a transfer for ten cents-six cents fare plus four cents transfer fee; on the Connecticut Company cars, the transfer is free, the fare being ten cents―or three tokens for a quarter, a rate not obtainable when traveling the other way.


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