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Newspaper Page Text
HOW CHICAGO CAN TRY OUT CITY-OWNED
MOTOR-BUSSES AT A VERY SMALL COST
BY N. D. COCHRAN
The Tribune campaign for Chicago straphangers may do some good
temporarily. Agitation-.that makes people think always helps some. But
no permanent good can be done so long as the street railway system is
run for private profit instead of for public service.
There is reallyvno chance of getting a seat for every passenger. And
the reason is that the companies can make more money by packing the
cars to full capacity.
Doubtless the real reason for the order against people standing on the
rear platform is thatthe cars can be packed fuller if nobody is allowed to
stand on that platform until the inside of the car Is packed to capacity.
When nobody else can get inside the companies are glad to get as
many on the back platform as can stand or hang there.
Chicago has repeatedly voted for municipal ownership, but is no
nearer to it now than when the first vote was taken, with the single excep
tion that the city has a few millions in that traction fund; but the chances
are that those millions will be blown in as the owners of street railways
bonds and stocks want them blown in in some fool subway scheme that
won't help congestion, but may help the State street department stores.
Even with the surface lines the idea seems to be that everybody who
rides into the loop wants to get to State street; and very little use is made
of the tracks on Franklin street.
There is one way, however, for Chicago to start in on municipal own
ership. And it won't take even one million dollars, let alone all the millions
in that traction fund.
Let the city go into the motor-bus business itself and compete with
the lines that are so crowded that thousands of people stand every after
noon waiting for a-chance to get standing or hanging room on a car.
This experiment could be tried out with ?100,000.
Private companies are trying to get the motor-bus privilege now.
This means that men with money see a probable profit in carrying pas
sengers in motor-busses in competition with the street railways.
If the city were to own and operate motor-busses, the privately-owned
street railways would get busy mighty quick and put on cars to get those
extra nickels. -
As it is now, the same interests own both the surtace and L lines, and
have most of the people at their mercy. No man or woman can walk sev
eral miles to and from work daily. They simply have to ride; and" they
have to ride on street cars.
The street railway game under private ownership is to carry all of the
passengers possible on the fewest possible cars. That means the fewest'
possible motormen and conductors, and the least possible expense. Service
must be subordinated to profit, and much of the profit is on watered stock
that doesn't represent a dollar of actual investment.
The interest of a city that grants a franchise to a street railway com
pany can never harmonize with the interest of those who get the fran
chise; for the city's interest is service and the company's Interest is profit.
Why not try city-owned and city-operated motor-busses?
Prof. Leon V. Essen, "U." of Lou- I schools caring for professors whose
vain, working at "U." of C. American I schools have been destroyed.