July 14, 1908
Pay-as-you-enter cars began running in Kansas city yesterday, the new system being inaugurated on the Troost avenue division. At the end of the first day every report made to the general offices was approving. The public took to the new system at once. Those conductors who were questioned by the company inspectors all said they had not found anyone objecting to the new rule of requiring fares to be paid when passengers board the cars.
The rush hour test proved that the system delays the cars at the main points about 50 per cent longer than the old custom of collecting fares from the interior of the car, but ten blocks out, meaning as far as Troost avenue on the Troost avenue line, the time lost in taking on passengers was more than made up by the quick way in which conductors could dispatch their trains.
There was not a single accident reported during the day, even of the most trivial sort.
An hour's observation at Tenth and Main streets and at Tenth and Walnut, between 5:20 and 6:30 last evening, when travel is heaviest, showed, what the company had not promised, an even distribution of the load. As cars would fill so that it was necessary to allow passengers to ride on the rear platforms, the conductors would close their gates and go without allowing any more to crowd on their cars. To the man who was left standing on the street this looked discriminating, but a watch showed that in six instances where this occurred cars followed within half a minute, in two instances within a few seconds, as two Troosts were running together. Under the old rule the first of the delayed cars would have been packed to suffocation, to the great discomfort of the passengers, while the car immediately behind would have run either with empty seats or at least with its aisles empty.
A watch showed that it took eight seconds to take nine passengers on one of the old style, wide platform cars, but twelve seconds to take nine on the Troost avenue cars. It required eighteen seconds to unload five and take on six passengers from and on a Jackson avenue car. No Troost avenue car unloaded more than three passengers at Tenth and Main during the rush hour, but at no time did it take longer than two seconds to take on and seat a passenger.
There was no confusion in the matter of making change. Not having to watch his rear step from the front of his car, the conductor was able to handle his fares with alacrity. Taking twenty-seven passengers on one car at Tenth and Main in thirty-two seconds, the last to board had paid her fair and entered the car before it crossed Main street.
Two conductors were on all cars during the rush hours -- one to block the exit door from incoming passengers and to start the car, the other collecting fares. The extra men worked only in the downtown district.
"It will be a week, perhaps," said Assistant General Manager W. A. Satterlee, "before the public is familiar with the new system. Accordingly we are putting extra men on to show them. The main difficulty now is to keep passengers from getting in the wrong door. Nobody complains, as there is another within two inches, which is open to them . The front door is closed, so, of course, the public understands it cannot board at that end of the car. We have had several messages telephoned in complimenting us on the innovation."
Ordinarily there are twenty cars and eight trailers on the Troost avenue line during the morning rush hours, and twenty-seven cars with eight trailers at the evening rush time. Yesterday the evening service was augmented to thirty-three cars, making a difference of half a minute between cars. The extras were put on to guard against any delay which might arise through the delay required in making change, the rule being that the car shall not start till the last waiting passenger is taken on, and yet everybody past the conductor shall have paid fare.
One of the old conductors laughed as he pointed out two men whose fares he had got. "I have carried them for a year and do not think I got a nickel out of them in all that time," he said "They used to give me a stare that I dare not question, bluffing me out of their fare If I had asked them where they got on they would have said Eighth and Wyandotte, most likely. I suppose they n ever paid the other conductors. They paid me tonight, though. This is pretty tough on the deadbeat."
An inspector, whose attention was called to the small crowd at Tenth and Grand, had a curious explanation.
"The deadbeats are gone," he said. "We known them by name, almost. they go to points like this, where cars always arrive loaded, and then force themselves on the end which the conductor is not working. This class did two things -- they beat the company out of their fares and they crowded passengers The paying passengers suffered from them in the annoying way of having them clock up the aisles. They never wanted seats, preferring to stand, on the alert, ready to leave the car in a natural way the moment they would see the conductor getting close to them. I am certain we carried a front platform load of these deadbeats from Tenth and Grand every night. Their disappearance makes room for ten people to get out of the aisle into the front platform, which is something the other passengers will approve."