2009-02-04

OCTranspo: A streetcar named disaster



Back in the day, we knew how to rebound from a transit disruption [read more]


Newspaper item: New York Times, July 19, 1919; Photo: Wikimedia

5 comments:

bob said...

That is gold, nice find IO!!!

I wonder what the stickling issue was back then? Scheduling perhaps? Perhaps it was brought about with a a lack of subsidies/security given the upcoming automobile industry? I know if i was a street car worker back then hearing about model t's and such, i'd be very scared for my job.

Btw, is that a dog in the lower left corner of that pic?

The Independent Observer said...

Thanks Bob. I think that's one of Coyote's distant ancestors.

The 1919 strike was about money.

From a recent Ottawa Citizen story by Don Butler:

The strike began on Dominion Day 1919, a public holiday when 75,000 celebrants had been expecting to jam streetcars. According to the Citizen, the public greeted the disruption of their holiday plans with great dismay.

But even though 15,000 people relied on streetcars daily, almost everyone made it to work on time the next day -- "a tribute to the faithfulness" of Ottawa workers, the Citizen gushed.

Overnight, a fleet of 300 "jitneys" -- everything from well-appointed automobiles to open trucks -- appeared, charging 15 to 35 cents a ride, depending on distance. One entrepreneur made $900 during the strike. Hundreds of people bought bicycles. Thousands walked.

With the streetcars sidelined, the city was "a paradise for motorists," who had the roads to themselves, the Citizen reported, adding: "A lot of them were greedy about it, too."

... Service resumed July 19, on Peace Day, a public holiday. By 9 a.m., service was "as near normal as possible," according to the Citizen. The public mood was upbeat. "The average man stepped onto the street with a jaunty air again," the newspaper reported.

There was little ill-will toward the strikers, who received nods and smiles from their customers. "And nods and smiles were returned," the Citizen said.

Read the whole piece at: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/story_print.html?id=1167309&sponsor=

Woodsy said...

That is how I plan to greet the drivers when they return... with nods and smiles...

Milan said...

I wish Ottawa still had streetcars, as well as a few more streets closed to private vehicles.

XUP said...

I want to get me one of them well-appointed automobiles.