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DETROIT, MICH., TO RUN OWN
STREET CAR SYSTEM
By Dean Halliday
Detroit, Mich., Oct. 7. It is all over
but a final voting on Tuesday. Nov. 2
then Detroit will proceed to get
busy and buy and-..J;hen ope-e
its present corporauon-ownea sire,
Already Detroit has voted for mu
nicipal ownership they have been
fighting for it 20 years but Nov. 2
the citizens must vote on the plan by
which the city can buy the Detroit
United Railways system.
By Jan. 1, 1916, the city expects to
have possession of the car lines, for
there is little doubt but what the peo
ple will vote "yes" on the plan to pur
chase the system.
Under this plan judges of the cir
cuit court will fix the price the city
must pay. This is not expected to ex
ceed $20,000,000. ,
Detroit's streei railway commission
composed of three men, James
Couzens, vice president of the Ford
Motor Car Co.; John P. Dodge of the
Dodge Motor Car Co., and James Wil
kie of the Parke-Davis Chemical Co.
is confident that under this plan
the entire property can be paid for
from earnings, and the only city
bonds that will ever need to be issued
will be a portion of the million dol
lars that falls due in 1916.
Detroit wants real street car serv
ice that is the vital issue. Since
1900 the street railway people, grow
ing fat from their profits, have re
fused to spend money for trackage
that was adequate to the needs of the
fast growing city.
From 1904 to 1913 revenue passen
gers carried on Detroit's railway sys
tem increased 180 per cent, from 78,
349,220 to 219,606,056.
In the same period the company
increased its trackage from 180 to
206 miles, approximately only 14 per
The result of this failure to keep
pace with the growth in population
and traffic is that Detroit today has
a traffic density of 1,062,000 revenue
passengers per mile of track.
One gains a better idea of just what,
conditions are in Detroit when one
learns that the traffic density of this
city today is only exceeded by Great
er New York, which had a traffic den
sity in 1914 of approximately 1,190,-
i, per miie ui tia.iin.. ,
Those are the conditions- that De-
troit faces, and yet as a result of a (y j
traffic survey the city has shown that
$400,000 spent in re-routing down
town lines would increase the capac
ity of these lines 40 per cent.
In 1913 the city forced the com
pany to a general 7-for-25-cent fare,
with universal transfer. Eight-for-a-quarter
tickets are sold during the
day on about 60 miles of lines and on
all lines for an hour in the morning
So it is not a fight for cheap trans
portation as much as it is for service.
The terms of the proposition to
be voted on Nov. 2 by which the
city of Detroit proposes to buy .the
street car system from the Detroit
United Railways company, are, brief
ly, as follows:
1. The city to buy the lines at a
price to be fixed by judges of the
Wayne county circuit court
2. Within 60 days after approval of
contract by the people the city to
start suit for specific performance of
the contract. ,
3. Within 30 days after this suit is
started the company to deliver pos
session of the entire railway proper
ty within the one-fare zone.
4. Hearings to fix the price not to
begin until city is in possession of the
railway, the city to take all profits f
from the lines, pending fixing of price.
5. The city not to be personally ob
ligated for a sum in excess of 2 per
cent of the assessed valuation, or
$11,000,000. The remainder to be se-j.
cured by the lines and their earnings?
6. The city is required to pay
$1,000,000 on the purchase price in1