From the Archives

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july aug 2016

Written by Ruthann LaBlance, Collections Assistant, Galt Museum & Archives

Do you know what this item is and what it was used for?

Is it a:

a. Tea diffuser?

b. Bubble gum dispenser?

c. Fare box?

If you guessed fare box, you’re correct!

Do you know what this item is and what it was used for?

It’s a Lethbridge Transit Fare Box (1970-2012).

This style of fare box was used by Lethbridge Transit in its buses from 1970 until 2012. The box was made by Diamond Manufacturing Co. of Kansas City, Missouri, which began production of this design of box in 1947. Diamond-brand fare boxes are used across Canada, in every American state, as well as in Mexico, Venezuela, Bermuda, and Guam.

When Bus Driver Diane Boulton started working for Lethbridge Transit in 1975, this fare box was already in use. She recalled that, at that time, fares were only $0.65 for Adults, $0.25-$0.35 for children under 17, and free for seniors, who had a pass.

The outside of the fare box is a stainless steel tube, while the inside is a removable brass cylinder, which holds the fares. The brass cylinder was locked in place with two keys and was removed when it was full or when a shift had ended. Boulton recalled that Lethbridge Transit had 50 – 60 of the Diamond fare boxes and 120 – 150 of the brass cylinders, which would be opened each morning for the fares to be counted. She also recalled that occasionally, if the bus driver was in a hurry and the locking mechanism was not engaged, “you’d be driving down the road and all of a sudden, boom! The cylinder would drop out of the bottom.”

By 2012, the Diamond fare box was replaced with an electronic fare box, which takes an exact fare from each rider and counts each passenger. Prior to this, drivers were responsible for manually counting their passengers “to try and get some sort of statistical analysis of how many people were riding and what fare categories were riding.”

Donated by Lethbridge Transit

P20140018000

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