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Page 4 - Surface Streetcar Line Transfers & Tickets
The Catalog of Transit Fiscal Ephemera & Exonumia from the City of the New York
featuring the collections of George S. Cuhaj & Philip M. Goldstein

Page 4

Streetcar / Trolley “Line” Transfers

   Before progressing into this chapter of surface transfers, it should be noted that:

   e.g: streetcar line / car line; or a bus route.

   Transfers were used to make a connection at the location of two or more intersecting streetcar lines or bus routes. Upon payment of the initial fare, you requested a transfer. Early transfers usually required an additional supplemental payment, i.e. 1 cents, on top of the initial fare of say 5 cents. In some cases, a new transfer could be purchased on a successive connection. 

   In some cases after the first unification, the first transfer was free on intersecting lines operated by the same company. Transfer to another companies car line usually required another small payment. 

   Some varieties, like the Smith Patent transfer above for Third Avenue & Amsterdam Avenue Line, were divided into three parts, the center section containing the route it was initially issued upon, and the date issued. This center section also contained 12 boxes marked 1 through 12 (to denoted the hour) and a box marked for AM or PM which would covered a 24 hour period on the bottom. 

   The two end pieces (left side and right side) were used for second and even a third connection. These transfers were only issued upon payment of a supplementary fare on top of the initial fare. 

   Some varieties of ticket omitted the side stubs, had boxes for 4 to 12, a box for PM and a single box to denote 1 - 4 AM. This was because a lot of streetcar lines ceased operating in the wee hours of the morning. 

   You paid the conductor / operator on the streetcar you initially boarded for your initial fare and the supplemental fare, and he punched the ticket with a ticket punch (as the conductors would for cash fare tickets on regular trains) and the conductor would give to you the transfer. Upon alighting at your next segment and boarding that car, you presented the transfer ticket to the conductor. He removed one of the end stubs. If you needed to ride on the third segment, you repeated this process at which time you were only left with the center section of the original transfer. 

   Before the first unification, there were two transfer formats: horizontal or vertical, and many different designs: Stedman Patent, Pope Patent, Smith and Moran among several others. It can even be observed that these designs evolved. The Pope Patent for example, is known in two types.

   One of the more historically important of my surface transfers, is the Stedman Transfer dating from 1900-1910. It was patented by John Harry Stedman of Rochester, NY. It featured a clock in grid form in 15 minute intervals, and 31 days and 12 months. With this type of transfer, a conductor did not have to carry a new date of transfer each day and the company could save on costs as one transfer would be good all year. The only discerning mark to differentiate it from other transfers was the Run Number. 

   Actually, this was the second design of Stedman Transfer. Predating this version, was one with several different faces of people patented in 1892. The conductor punched the face that most closely resembled that of the paying passenger to prevent reuse by someone other than the paying passenger. 

   This design did not go over too well for several reasons. First, there were too many varieties of people. Second, mostly everyone dressed the same, sported similar styles of beards, etc. Third, there was a lot of discontent amongst the passengers whom complained, "I beg your pardon, but sir, I do not look that way!"  

   For the record, we have yet to witness this design having been issued for any transportation company in the City of New York or other boroughs.

   John Harry Stedman also came to be famous for the pipe cleaner. Yes, that pipe cleaner. The fuzzy wire things most of us used in elementary school to make art. Originally they were all white, and when invented,  they were made to clean tobacco pipes, not entertain children.

   The following map, was published the Electric Railroads Association in April 1950. The ERA is a non-profit educational organization consisting of people interested in the history and progress of electric railways, and many of the New York City Transit Ephemera collectors have memberships in this group.

   The map reflects the surface transit network of Streetcars in Brooklyn, NY as of April 1950. While the map itself is not a "collectible" in regards to transit fare ephemera, it does reflect the vast amount of connections and likewise, the surface transfers that were issued to continue a ride from one line to another; in a single borough of New York City.

   You may click on the map for a large format file for in depth reference (use your back arrow to return you here).


Brooklyn Queens County & Suburban RailroadBrooklyn Heights Railroad


Tompkins Avenue Line - April 8, 1901
Hamilton Bank Note
2" x 5 1/16"
Gates Avenue & Broadway to Ridgewood & Manhattan
June 28 or 29 PM
Stedman Time Limit, third type
issues above $12.50 - $15.00, with 10% premium for special dates, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

   Popes Patent transfers are unusual as they do not appear to have been widely used throughout the system. The older style transfers above, and the standardized transfers below are much more plentiful and easily obtained.   It is also not know why Pope's Patent Tickets are seen with dates carried by the older style as well as the standardized design. It is possible the Pope's Patent slowly replaced the older style as needed.

   It is also not known why the Popes Patent appear to be more scarce. Possible reasons may be short tenured company, non-renewal of contract, or unfavorable design. There was also a patent infringement case in 1912 involving Pope and the Cincinnati Railway, in which the design elements of the Cincinnati Railway ticket was infringing upon the design Pope time limit ticket, even though Cincinnati was the plaintiff and Pope was the defendant.

   So this may have precipitated a complete change of design as well.

   Pope Patent Tickets are also wider than their counterparts, being 2 3/8" wide as apposed to 2"

Pope's Patent Time Limit, early type
2 5/8" x 6 1/8"
Pope's Patent Time Limit, later type
2 3/8" x 5 1/8" without selvage
2 3/8" x 5 1/2"without selvage2 3/8" x 5 1/2" without selvage

for an odd and as yet undetermined reason, Pope Patent tickets are not as frequently encountered as the earlier Stedman or Smith Patent issues.
none are seen with selvage.
scarce $17.50 - $20.00, with 10% premium for special dates
, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

   The following transfers are the standardized design. They predate the first unification, and started to appear in the mid-1930s, printed by Globe Ticket.

   After June 1, 1940, tickets had the "union bug" (union label) added to denote the contract was performed by a union shop, with said printing falling under the Printing Specialties & Paper Products Union Local 495

This would be one of two last streetcar lines to operate in Brooklyn, until October 31, 1956. 

E-54F-51-3note the transfer specifies the Cortelyou Road electric bus- one of only seven trackless trolley routes in Brooklyn.G-6
S-W 4-49
misspelled - correct is McDonald
and this line would be one of two to be that to operate in brooklyn October 31, 1956


The Nortons' Point Line is one of the most fondly remembered in Brooklyn Streetcar history. Some remnants still survive of it: cut off girders on the upper level of Stillwell Avenue Station,
an alley that runs for several block between rows of buildings that was its private right of way and a property marker obelisk in Sea Gate.




Station 1 is Forth Avenue Subway at 86th Street.Station 2 was the Broadway Ferry spur south of the Williamsburgh Bridge




Mostly common; issues above $1.00 to 1.50 for circulated to $3.00 with intact selvage. 25% premium for special dates, and those issued for Norton's Point, Station 1 and Station 2
50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route. Intact books are also quite common and not worth the sum of individual tickets, $15.00 - $17.50.

Consideration for complete control sets dates matching is necessary.


Sittner, Garner & Geery - Simplex; very unusual
4 15/16" x 2"

uncommon; issue above $7.00 - $10.00 each

Smith Patent (and copies thereof)

mostly common; issues above $2.00 - $3.00 each, with 25% premium for special dates
, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

North and South Lines

Crosstown Lines
Smith Patent; Globe Ticket, and unmarked printer

mostly common; issues above $2.00 - $3.00 each, with 25% premium for special dates
, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

New York & Queens County Railway
Globe Ticket
4 1/4" x 2

Stedman Transfers
4 9/16" x 1 7/8"

New York and Queens Transit Corporation

Moran Patent
Queensboro Bridge Railway
uncommon issues above; $7.50 - $10.00 each, with 25% premium for special dates, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

   Many of the older transfers were printed on both sides, with warnings on the back, whether it be unlawful use of a transfer, or beware of counterfeit money.

   However, many carried advertising for local businesses as well as the more prominent stores such as Abraham & Straus.

mostly common; however issues with advertising from well known businesses and department stores, 10% premium.

   However, there were many types of transfers and are seen with the following legends, and their some usage definitions are not know to this author yet: 

Cash Fare Receipt, Identification Ticket, Feeder, Free, Continuing Ride, Special, Special (A), Special (AA), Special (AB), Special (B), Special (C), Special (D)

   This makes for very extensive, category, date and route combinations.
   Note, that even after the first unification, streetcar transfers still carried an identifying subdivision: Brooklyn & Queens Transit, BMT Division Surface Lines, NYRT Corp, NYCTS, S. B. R’y, etc.
   Around the 1930, the streetcar line transfers were unified under a generic design, vertical orientation, easy to read.
Children's Half Fare Ticket
issued at Brooklyn end of Williamsburg Bridge for any
streetcar line originating at that location
K-3 - Adult Fare Ticket
issued at Brooklyn end of Williamsburg Bridge for any
streetcar line originating at that location
Uncommon; issues above $5.00 - $7.50 each, with 25% premium for special dates, 50% premium for transfers issued on last day of service on that route.

   The next generation of transfers came about sometime in the late 1930's (1938?). These were vertical format, similar to the streetcar transfers of same age; but instead of an hourly listing, these have simple AM and PM at the bottom. the PM is on a perforated tear off tab at the bottom. If the transfer was issued in the morning, the PM stub was torn off, making the transfer valid for us only in the morning hours.
   This style of transfer was also gradually adopted for bus routes as well;  and remained in use by the New York City Transit Authority until September 12, 1982.


Page 1: Fare Tickets & Employee PassesPage 7: Half Fare Tickets - Sundays / Weekends
Page 2: TokensPage 8: Half Fare Tickets - Senior Citizens & Handicapped
Page 3: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Rapid TransitPage 9: School / Student / Pupil Reduced Fare & Free Passes
you are on Page 4: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Streetcar LinesPage 10: Special Issue Tickets
Page 5: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Bus RoutesPage 11: Staten Island Rapid Transit
Page 6: Continuing Ride Tickets; Surface; Add-A-RidePage 12: Hudson and Manhattan & Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)


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 Philip M. Goldstein / George S. Cuhaj
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