Street Car Woes

The International Railway Company (IRC) ran the trolleys and later the busses that serviced Buffalo, Tonawanda and Kenmore. The Parkside or #9 trolley ran up Main Street from downtown, across Florence Avenue to Parkside, past the Zoo to Hertel, then west on Hertel to Virgil Avenue where it ran north to Kenmore Avenue. Until 1926, the line continued to the village along Kenmore to Delaware, and eventually to Tonawanda. On Virgil Avenue, the trolley ran underneath both the Erie and Lackawanna Railroad tracks. It's hard to picture the area now because Virgil is cut in half by the abandoned tracks and several apartment complexes. This story is from 1920.

Have you been put off cars when the conductor says 'Far as we go'? Street cars make good winter conversation. Especially in Kenmore. Likewise, in any other locality where motormen and conductors do about as they please. A few nights ago a Number 9 car stopped at Hertel and Virgil avenues and the pleasant conductor shouted: "This is as far as go - all out."

It was dark and windy and bitter. Those who had ridden from downtown were stiff with the cold. Their tempers were the only hot part of their system. "But this ain't as far as WE go - we go to Kenmore," said a couple of wrathful ones.
"This is where our schedule calls for us to turn," said the conductor.
"But this is a Kenmore car - it says so on the front," was the reply.
"Oh no it don't - its says 'car barn' - go out and look!"
"But it said 'Kenmore' when I got on, and that's where I'm going," persisted the passenger.
"We're GOING to the barn!" declared the conductor.
"You're GOING to KENMORE!" the passenger insisted. Just then about 20 Kenmorites entered the car, transferred from the Hertel line. And then - the car went to Kenmore. There were triumphant grins among the passengers.

Has this ever happened to you? Sure, it has. Few residents of this community have not experienced it. They usually have taken their medicine, got off the car and waited for the next one. Sometimes they had rebelled, and they usually were victorious. We know of one woman who did it single handed. When faced by determined passengers who are sufficiently angry, the crew usually will give in. Now, here's the situation with regard to the law:

There is no provision in the company's franchise which requires that passengers be carried to their destinations on the same car which they began their trip. The car may be stopped and a transfer given, if the necessities of the service demand it, according to a ruling of the Public Service Commission. But - and here's where we, the suffering public, come in. There is a way of obtaining relief if the practice becomes so frequent that it a nuisance. Village President Atkinson will undertake to seek this relief if sufferers from the whim of car crews will furnish the evidence. Whenever these cases occur, especially when the weather is bad, write the circumstances and if possible have several persons sign it, and send the statement to Mr. Atkinson. City Attorney Pierce of Buffalo, has agreed to take the matter up with the Public Service Commission if the practice is overdone.

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