Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Rate War Opened -- March 27, 2011

From the 26-November-1895 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image for a larger view.

The Hatch Brothers, originally from Monticello, New York, founded the Monticello Steamship Company to operate ferries from Vallejo to San Francisco. Learn more about it on my ferryboat site:


The Steamer Sunol Carried Passengers to Vallejo for Ten Cents.


Southern Pacific Officials Angry Because Their Steamer Is Not Patronized.

The rate war between San Francisco and Vallejo is in full blast. Passengers can now travel at any price ranging from 10 cents to $1. The lower rate is charged on the steamer Sunol, owned by Piper, Aden, Goodall & Co., 25 cents is the fare on the steamer Herald, owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, while 75 cents, the round trip, is charged by Hatch Bros on the steamer Monticello. The rate by the railroad is $1 each way.
The merry war began yesterday afternoon and strange to say the railroad steamer was not patronized. The steamer was there and the train agents were only too willing to sell tickets, but the people would not buy them. When it began to near sailing time there were only four passengers in the Herald, while the Monticello had about twenty and the Sunol sixty in their respective cabins. The owners of the latter boat depend principally on their freighting business and have only gone into the passenger trade to protect themselves. The $5 or $10 they will make out of the latter traffic will just about pay for the extra coal and that is all they expect or hope for, according to R. J. Q. Aden, one of the members of the firm.
The Monticello was the first to get away yesterday. She left promptly on time and was well up the bay before the Sunol got under way. The latter went away with a rush, and Captain Dye was confident that he would catch the opposition before Selbys was reached. The Herald remained at her moorings until the last minute, waiting to pick up any belated passenger who might come along. Once a start was made the captain seemed to be in no hurry, and the chances are that the railroad boat was a bad last on the run to Vallejo.
Agent White of the Southern Pacific is vary much worked up over the new state of affairs. He considers the cutting of rates a suicidal policy and holds up his hands in horror at the idea of carrying passengers on a three hours' run to Vallejo for 10 cents when they can get the same rate for a half-hour trip to Fruitvale or a fifteen-minute run to Oakland. According to him the railroad had no fight with the owners of the Sunol, and he cannot conceive why they wanted to come in and cut the rate to 10 cents.
"We don't want a rate war," said H. Hatch of Hatch Bros., "but now it is on we will stay with it. 1 don't know whether we will cut rates or not, but I suppose it will come to that in time. We are giving the people of Vallejo, Port Costa and Mare Island a good service, and I think they appreciate it. If they desert us and patronize the 10-cent boat why well and good, that may end the fight, but time will tell."
A. E. Pryor of Piper, Aden, Goodall & Co. says the 10-cent rate has come to stay. It costs only a few dollars more for coal with which to make time, and the steamer might just as well be carrying passengers at 10 cents a head as not. And so the merry war goes on.

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