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Transit Fare Token

Date: c. 1940


Description: This stainless steel token was once used to pay fares for Sioux City streetcars and buses. In Sioux City people would buy these tokens either at a station or from the transit company and use them instead of paying the operator with cash or coins. Most tokens like this one were good for one fare, or one trip using the streetcar system. The token is stamped with the logo of the Sioux City Transit Company, the major transit company in the city at the dawn of the 1940s. The first company to lay transit track in Sioux City was the Sioux City Street Railway Company, who founded the first horse-drawn streetcars in the city in 1884. The next company to open was the Sioux City & Highland Park Railway Company, which opened a steam-powered suburban rail line from Downtown to the Westside and Riverside in 1886. Next was the cable car line, the Sioux City Cable Railway Company, which operated the cable car from Downtown to the Northside in 1888. Then the Sioux City Rapid Transit Company put in the elevated rail in 1888 and the Sioux City & Leeds Electric Railway Company provided service to Leeds in 1892. Various other transit companies existed in the city and in the surrounding communities.


Sioux City was in the heyday of its transit lines when the Panic of 1893 swept the town, bankrupting many of the transit companies. The companies consolidated thereafter into one company that operated the whole transit system. The company existed under various names through the years, including the Sioux City Transit Company that produced this token. The singular company electrified the transit lines where they could and expanded them to reach outlying communities, even into South Sioux City across the Missouri. In the 1940s Sioux City Transit Company started to switch from using streetcars to buses. The last streetcar operation was in June of 1948, before the streetcars were discontinued and bus travel became the primary means of transit in the city. Today the buses are all that remain, operated municipally by the city of Sioux City.


Donor: Jim Jung


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