could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Bus Service Inside Kearney

A. Street Car
B. Jitney
C. Bus service including to the air base


Jitney may refer to:
• Jitney (play), written by August Wilson
• Atlantic City Jitney Association, an association of operators of minibus service in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
• an archaic name for a nickel (United States coin)

Jitney can also be another name for:
• a share taxi
• a dollar van
• an illegal taxicab operation

jit•ney (j t ne )
n. pl. jit•neys
1. A small motor vehicle, such as a bus or van, that transports passengers on a route for a small fare.
2. Archaic A nickel.

1.slang: nickel
2. (from the original 5 cent fare) a bus, especially a small bus that carries passengers over a regular route on a flexible schedule.
3. an unlicensed taxicab

Kearney Hub

March 1, 1915
– Denison was looking at an electric auto bus for carrying passengers from the depot to the Midway Hotel. International Harvester had a representative bring one to Kearney to demonstrate.

March 13, 1915 – Jitney Busses a Possibility Here

Prospective Enterprise Being Discussed Locally

Other cities were establishing “Jitney bus” service and it was being suggested for Kearney. “
        “Kearney has no street car service, and no regular and defined method of transportation and no efforts have been made to establish a service of this nature here since the ‘boom days.’ At that time a street electric tramway was established here and, for a period of time, did a good business.”

        Some of the older citizens thought a “Jitney” service would be more practical because it could be operated by individuals only at certain parts of the day when the service was most needed. The practical points of service would be the Normal School, the court house and the heart of the city. It would be a good business for “some enterprising young auto man”.

        [Less expensive to operate than a streetcar]

March 20, 1915 – Jitneys were popular on the west coast. L A had 1,050; San Francisco had 300; and Seattle had 300.

March 27, 1915 – Wort and Minton are rigging out an auto bus to be used by the Midway Hotel.

April 3, 1915
– The first jitney bus made its appearance in Minneapolis.

April 8, 1915 – "The state railway commission has received its first application from a jitney company for permission to issue auto stock. Under a recent ruling of the attorney general “jitney” are common carriers. The application is made by the Grand Island Jitney company and is for $10,000 worth of stock."

May 6, 1915 –First annual convention of the National Jitney association was held in Kansas City. Those who addressed the convention said it was a growing business.

May 27, 1915 – Lincoln passed an ordinance for licensing jitneys. Three had been operating about three months, none at a profit. License could be for a 4-passenger bus or for 20 passengers or more

June 5, 1915 – "In St. Paul [MN] the jitney fever is epidemic. More people want to jit than the jits can accommodate."

June 22, 1915 – "Omaha was requiring a liability insurance bond of $10,000. A local bond company said that would cost jitney men $15/month."

[jirneys were providing competition to street cars in large cities like Philadelphia]

July 17, 1915 – First Jitney Bus appeared in London in 1830. It was steam powered; carried 28 passengers inside and 22 outside. Railroads stopped it from operating by getting a law passed that required a man to be 100 yards ahead of it with a red flag in daylight and a red lantern in dark.

Oct. 4, 1915 – Philadelphia had legislated jitneys out of business so they reorganized themselves as “club cars" and sold memberships at 5 cents each which entitled the member to a ride on any of the jitneys in the pool.

Oct. 8, 1915 – for those who rolled their own, Prince Albert advertised little red bags of tobacco for “the price of a jitney ride”, 5 cents.

April 12, 1916 – Dist. 24 had a program and box supper to raise funds for an organ. L.A. Koeppe, auctioneer, auctioned off the boxes, one going for as much as $4. A jitney counter was set up in the back where those who did not buy a box supper could buy sandwiches, cake and coffee or 5 cents each.

July 15, 1916
– "Talks about jitney service have not gotten anywhere. Now a Grand Island man is looking at the possibility of putting in a number of jitney busses. If it were established it should go to such points 'as the court house, the Midway hotel, normal school, K. M. A. and other institutions and public places.'”

Sept. 13, 1916 – Jitney car
Man in Minneapolis wanted a motorcar so he saved buffalo nickels for 3 years. When he had $461.45 worth, 9,229 nickels, he brought them to the dealer and drove away in his new car.

Nov. 29, 1916 – Operates Jitney Line
It was left to C H Ledbetter to start the first real jitney service in the city, having placed in operation two large autos for the regular jitney trade. These machines, both enclosed in times of need, will be run regularly between points in the city, Mr. Ledbetter driving one machine and having another competent man in charge of the other. He will make his headquarters at the Midway garage."

Dec. 27, 1916 – County Correspondence – Fairview—December 22
L. E. Highland, our genial mail carrier, is making the trip on record time in his new jitney."

Feb. 24, 1917 – Consider Ordinance
The city council is to consider, at an early date, an ordinance to regulate the driving of autos in the jitney service. The plan calls for fitness of the drivers, regulation for their service and special licenses. Such an ordinance should it be presented and passed, it is believed by several of the council members will play a part in avoiding accidents through the anxiety of this class of business people 'getting there first.'”

March 30, 1917 – Jitney Line Still Possible

Would Give Scheduled Service Many Parts of City

[People were still hoping that several cars could be organized into a jitney service with a regular schedule of stops over a given route. Some time ago a group of men from Grand Island looked into the idea of establishing such a service here but there were several jitney lines operated by local people so the plan for a regular schedule was dropped.]

April 20, 1917 – "The new jitney of the Midway hotel is on the job now. This truck is built on a Republic chassis, the top being made here."

Sept 11, 1917 – Fair Week Laws for Jitneys
All auto traffic east to the fairgrounds must use Lincoln Highway, westbound traffic to use 31st street. “This is to apply in particular to jitneys, many of which will be operated during the week.”

Sept 12, 1917 – Transportation is Problem of the Day

How to get Crowds to Grounds Puzzles Directors

It’s 2 miles from the heart of Kearney to the fairgrounds and no train service. Only jitneys are available. Effort made for the charge to be 10 cents each way. Car owners wanted o charge 25, some willing to go with 15. Also the city wanted to put a tax on the business. The early applicants were charged $3.50, same as a taxi permit for 6 months. Later it was suggested that one dollar be charged since the fair only lasts 3 days. But city officials were afraid changing the rate would result in a “roarback” so they should stick to the letter of the law.

Sept 13, 1917 – a few divers had been taking fares o the fairgrounds without getting the license but they were being arrested and their fines would be greater than what they had earned.

Sept. 15, 1917 –the war was what prevented the UP from being abler to release some rolling stock for use in transporting fairgoers from downtown to he fairgrounds..
    Friday morning there was a meeting of the mayor, city clerk, city attorney, and representatives of the fair association and of the taxi cab owners & drivers to arbitrate the problems that had arisen over getting people to the fairgrounds.
    City council members wanted to charge $1 for the three days based on the $3.50/6 mo. charged by the city administration. The ordinance had set the rate at $5/year by local drivers and $20/year by nonresidents. Past admin. was issuing permits for 6 months at a time instead of a year. They finally agreed on the $1 for three days. Those under this special permit mostly charged 15 cents because the fair association paid for their permits to assure there would be enough autos. The taxi drivers kept their old rate of 25 cents to any part of the city.

Jan 15, 1918 – Considering there would not be train service to the fairgrounds again next summer, the city was looking at the ordinance for licensing jitneys.

Jan 19, 1918 – Fair association is resigned to the fact that the war probably won’t be over by fair time so they won’t have train service. They will have to rely on the jitney for those who do not drive out and park on the fairgrounds. City council to be asked to develop a plan for allowing short period jitney service during fair week.

June 15, 1918 – Mid-Summer racing meet – July 3-4-5 at the fairgrounds. No train service, will have to rely on jitney service.

Sept 7, 1918 – Still no agreement on price. During the races some were charging 15, some 25 cents.

Sept 13, 1918 – All jitney drivers had to have their city licenses displayed properly, according to the police who rounded them up to tell them.. The average charge was 25cents for one person.

April 14, 1920 – About the assessors over the county – “A dozen chickens are worth ten dollars in the eyes of the assessor and one jitney regardless of vintage, is worth a like sum even though it might not be junked for that amount.”

May 7, 1921 – The city acquired a jitney when an ”alleged booze car” was abandoned. To be used for responding to calls around the city and providing taxi service to department members on certain occasions.


Bus Service

Kearney Hub

June 1, 1922 – Graham Starts a Bus Line

Regular City Passenger Service Begins Today

    "Homer Graham, who for several seasons successfully operated a taxicab station, on First avenue has now decided to start a street omnibus line from the county court house to the Kearney State Teachers college to run on a regular schedule.
    Large Ford Trucks, fitted with bus bodies, will be used, and Graham states that every care for the comfort and safety of passengers will be taken. The car will stop anywhere to take on passengers or permit them to alight. The fare, to commence with, will be ten cents, but Graham states that if the passenger traffic is sufficiently heavy to warrant it the fare may be reduced in the future. The first schedule will be half hourly from both terminal points. The proposition of starting a bus line in Kearney has been much talked of during the past year. Among the obstacles which bus lines have met with, have been the inconvenience often caused to passengers by unreliable and reckless drivers. Graham states that no drivers will be employed by him unless he is sure of their ability and character.
    Reports from passengers of any reckless driving or lack of consideration for passengers will result in dismissal.
    Two busses will be used on the route, with a third kept always in reserve, to replace any that may get out of order.
With dependable transportation provided, it is expected that many residents who live far from the business district will avail themselves of the new service.

July 14, 1925 – Bus Line Had A Good Start

Between Four and Five Hundred Rode the First Day

[Cornhusker Bus line started its service on Monday. Starts at 6:30 a.m. and runs to 11 p.m. Half hour service. Route runs from the court house on Central and out West Lincoln Way to the TB hospital. Pass any point on the route every 15 minutes. Single fare 10 cents. Weekly passes for $1 are encouraged. Can be used by anyone in the family or circle of friends. Useful to college students on these hot days. Long gray trucks.]

July 27, 1925 – Local Brevities
--"The Cornhusker bus line enjoyed liberal patronage yesterday, the first day of an announced change routing."

Sept 25, 1928 - Cornhusker bus line, aka Cornhusker Stage line, which had passenger coaches operating from Kearney to Lexington and North Platte and Grand Island was expanding to carry express at rates lower than parcel post.

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Revised: 02/14/2017