I want to show you something cool today. Something you don’t see that often.
Albany’s transit system – a series of buses and trolleys – offered different fares for different trips around the city. Not every bus took you directly from your starting point to your destination, so you could request a transfer from your bus driver if you need to continue your journey without paying a separate fare.
I’ve used those transfer slips when riding CDTA buses back in the 1970’s, and I know they were still in effect twenty years later.
This is a bus token from the United Traction Company, United Traction operated the transit trolleys in Albany for decades, it later became part of CDTA in the mid-1970’s. The wonderful website All Over Albany has more information on United Traction Company at this link.
But that’s not the cool thing I’m going to show you.
This is an actual transit transfer from 1946. Christmas Day, 1946, to be precise.
And as you can see, it shows all the various routes that United Traction traveled during the 1940’s. Some of these might seem familiar – the “A” Belt is CDTA’s Quail Street Belt, and the “Kenwood” bus was one of the routes that became part of CDTA’s current Delaware Avenue route.
Look at some of the other routes on this transfer – Albany-Troy-Watervliet (that’s essentially the #22 route), and the Arbor Hill Route (most likely the current #6 route of today). And some other transit lines are listed here – S.D.E. Lines, K.L.W.M. Inc., and something called “Bus to Bus or Car,” which I’m assuming might have been an early attempt at a “park and ride” service.
Still, this is a very cool treasure. The transfer was stamped with the day and time of issue; you then had a certain time period from that time stamp to get on a new ride without paying an additional surcharge or token.
This utilitarian piece of history has some information printed on the back. Here, let me show you the transfer’s reverse.
I guess they weren’t fooling around when they put language in the transfer about its possible misuse. “Attention is called to the Penal Code providing penalty of fine and imprisonment for misuse of transfers.”
In other words, don’t mess with United Traction in situations like this. 😀
And I’m also looking at the date of the transfer – Christmas Day,1946.
Who in their right mind is riding on the trolley on Christmas Day? Shouldn’t you be home unwrapping presents and contemplating whether Mayor Erastus Corning might run for more than a second term?
Anyways, I thought you’d enjoy this little window into Albany’s public history. Any other information or details you have on this little fragile transfer are welcome in the comments section below.