Le surpeuplement des transports en commun

Publié le par Projet MSR 274

On entend fréquemment que la critique principale faite aux transports en commun, c'est le trop grand nombre de passagers. Souvent il est difficile d'être debout, sans parler de trouver une place assise. Et que dire de la politesse !

Pourtant, ce n'est pas un phénomène nouveau. Plusieurs villes nord-américaines ont légiféré afin d'interdire qu'un nombre supérieur de passager aux nombres de places assises ne puisse être admis, sous peine d'amende, parfois fort salée, tant pour la compagnie que pour le contrôleur de billets.  Montréal n'y échappa pas au cours de la période hippomobile (1861-1894). Il ne s'agissait pas d'empêcher des blessures en cas d'accident, mais de s'assurer que la charge maximale prévue pour les deux chevaux ne serait pas dépassée dans les pentes.  

Amusons nous à voir quelques-unes des caricatures du temps, mais, tout d'abord, voici un extrait du Electric Railway Journal de 1894, vol.4, page 780 et suivantes.

 

OVERCROWDING CARS

Every street railway manager and superintendent, probably, hears more complaints about overcrowded cars, than concerning any other branch of the service. In spite of the discomfort of standing it seems to be a trait of humanity to crowd into the first car that comes along, regardless of the fact that within a minute or two another car will arrive with empty seats. People rather enjoy standing and hanging on the straps, when they have become accustomed to it, for it does not take them long to get in that condition where they would just as leave stand as be seated. Still managers had rather see their patrons comfortable than discommoded. Until human nature is changed there will probably be crowded cars in the larsre cities. The Broadway and Third Avenue cable lines, New York, show this trait of human nature. During the rush hours cars follow each other so closely that in many cases there are two in each block. Often the first car will be crowded, while the second will be practically empty, yet the conductor of the first car cannot keep people from hanging on. Last month the Montreal Street Railway Company, Montreal, was fined $1 and costs in each of two cases, for violating an ordinance fixing a penalty for receiving more passengers than cars would comfortably hold. The ordinance is a relic of horse car days, when the number of passengers each car could hold was posted. This was made necessary on account of the grades. Now that electricity has been adopted, there is no reason for such a law, and it should have been repealed. At any rate it is not being enforced, for a day or so after the fine was imposed, the official whose duty it was to prevent overcrowding was directed by his superiors to desist. T. B. Warren, editor of the "Patriot," heard complaints of overcrowding, so he informed the officer whose duty it was to enforce the ordinance, that it was being disregarded. The latter did his duty. Mr. Warren would have a law passed under which a would be passenger who persists in pushing his way into a filled car, could be turned over to the first policeman and arrested for trespass. Mr. Warren would go farther and have the conductor arrested who permitted his car to become crowded. Granville C. Cunningham, manager of the company and city engineer, writes, "The company does not wish to have the cars overcrowed, but it seems to be impossible by ordinary means to prevent people from forcing their way in, whenever they can obtain a foothold, struggling and pushing often in a most discourteous fashion. What is the conductor to do? Is it to be expected that he should beat these men off with a club, or take them by the collar and jerk them off into the street? If he tells them to take the next car he is only "chaffed" in return. If on the company is to be thrown the onus of keeping the people off the cars, we will have to engage and train sluggers and bullies, who will fight on the smallest provocation and not hesitate to throw men into the street when they force their way on to a crowded car. Extra cars do not meet the requirements, as everyone wishes to get on the first car and will not wait for the next, which is only half filled. The Paris system, where every passenger has to wait at a street corner and get from the man in charge a number before he can enter a car, and the car has to wait until the passengers are counted like so many sheep before they get their places, will not suit the people of Montreal, who have to hurry sometimes, and the Paris plan does not contemplate such a state of affairs.

"The simplest means of all for preventing overcrowding is for the citizens themselves not to overcrowd the cars. There is not another city in Canada, nor in the United States where there is any regulation that punishes a street railway company because the citizens crowd its cars."


Car Overcrowding 1894

[source : Electric Railway Journal 1894]

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[source : Electric Railway Journal 1894]

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[source : Electric Railway Journal 1894]

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