Friday, August 17, 2018

Transit Etiquette of Two Cities

A United Railways of St. Louis, “Moonlight Car” from 1908.  The term “Moonlight Car” in St. Louis has been handed down since the company operated on pleasure trips and amusement park traffic. It was a special type of railroad car, constructed with a canvas roof, which could be rolled back. As the canvas was seldom ever rolled back, when 20 similarly constructed were later built, they were constructed with a permanent roof.

Street Railway Etiquette in Two Cities

In the St. Louis Post Dispatch one finds an instructive advertisement, filling a whole page and setting forth, to the accompaniment of attractive illustrations, the code of streetcar etiquette that should govern travel in that much favored city, as laid down by the United Railways of St. Louis. It is the unexpected that happens in St. Louis, for, strange to say, the etiquette of transportation there does not govern merely the unhappy passengers and straphangers, but includes likewise important rules which the advertising corporation feels bound to respect. 
“The first consideration of  a street railway,” says this astonishing advertisement, “should be the safety, comfort and convenience of its passengers.” 

Just think of that, and think what might happen in San Francisco should the United Railroads feel bound by the same rule. Passengers on the Sutter Street line would find themselves switched on to Market Street without transfer and would be delivered from the musty, fusty old horse-cars that constitute the reproach of our main thoroughfare. Apparently the etiquette of street railroading that governs the local corporation, is expressed and limited by the injunction; “If you don't like it, you can get off and walk.” It may be that the policy of the St. Louis company is wiser. It will not pay a public service, corporation, as a general thing to cultivate the hostility of a whole community by wanton outrage! – San Francisco Call, 1908

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia 

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