"KEEP AWAY FROM STREETS AND ALLEYS"
...the typical franchise agreements, dating from the 1890s, guaranteed the five-cent fare. The Boston Elevated Company, for example, agreed in 1897 to maintain the five-cent fare with free transfers for at least twenty-five years. Prior to 1900, such an amount was usually sufficient to generate substantial profits. With the discovery of gold in Alaska in 1898, however, and with continuing inflation after the turn of the century, operating costs rose to such an extent that the nickel price was no longer adequate to maintain the existing system, much less provide a surplus for new equipment. During World War I, severe shortages almost doubled the cost of living again, but city officials, sensitive to the voters, refused the companies' requests for fare increases. Essentially, the street railways were being asked to provide rides for half price. The Boston Elevated Railroad, for example, never made a profit and declared bankruptcy in 1918. As company after company fell from profitability, the stock prices of the entire industry dropped, so that necessary money for modernization could not be raised. The result was a vicious cycle in which aging equipment and reduced services were accompanied by falling ridership.
Bus is an apheresis of the Latin word Omnibus. The latter name is derived from a hatter's shop which was situated in front of one of the first bus stations in Nantes, France in 1823. "Omnes Omnibus" was a pun on the Latin sounding name of that hatter Omnès: omnes meaning "all" and omnibus means "for all" in Latin. Nantes citizens soon gave the nickname of Omnibus to the vehicle. When motorized transport replaced horse-drawn transport starting 1905, a motorized omnibus was called an autobus, a term still used.
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