Payment box

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Payment box in a historic tram car in Potsdam

A payment box, called a payment box in the GDR , was a mechanical device for paying the fare on board local public transport . The device was installed at the front of the driver and, long before the introduction of ticket machines, enabled more economical one-man operation without an additional conductor .


As early as the beginning of the 20th century, certain urban tram companies knew payment boxes, for example Berlin , Cottbus , Eberswalde , Hof , Lübeck , Spandau and Worms . Originally, these were devices without ticket issuance . Passengers put the money, a section of a group ticket purchased in advance, or a special tram coin into a slot. A viewing window in the box allowed the driver to check it.

From the 1960s onwards, many transport companies in the GDR switched to conductors-less operations for reasons of rationalization. Since trailer vehicles without conductors were increasingly being used and the rear doors of the vehicles also had to be supplied with payment devices, payment boxes with ticket issuance were developed. The fare (or collective ticket sections) was also thrown into a slot here. A viewing window enabled other passengers to check that the fare was properly inserted. A mechanical lever on the right of the device turned a ticket roll one ticket section further, and a ticket could then be torn off at an issue slot. Multiple lever actuation allowed several tickets to be torn off, whereby the money should only be thrown in before the last ticket was removed. The roller tickets were simply designed and, in addition to the company identification, only bore the imprint "Valid for one trip ... (consecutive number) ... according to tariff".

The control of the tickets was organized as a joint task of the passengers in addition to the use of inspectors from the transport companies. A time pass should be held up after boarding and shown to the passengers traveling with you. On the basis of the consecutive number of the tickets, old and new tickets could be differentiated during an inspection. Checking the payment was only possible immediately when purchasing the ticket. Often other items such as buttons or crown caps were also thrown into the payment boxes. Tickets (of any length) could also be torn off by dodgers or out of mischief without inserting money.

Payment boxes were only used on routes with low and uniform tariffs. In the city traffic of the GDR, a tariff of 15 to 30 pfennigs per trip, depending on the city, was valid until after the fall of the Wall , mostly without transfer authorization. In the capital Berlin , payment boxes were used in trams and city buses as well as on the underground , where a uniform tariff of 20 pfennigs (reduced 10 pfennigs) applied. At the subway, the payment boxes were at the platform entrances. In the case of the S-Bahn Berlin operated by the Deutsche Reichsbahn , however, there was a tiered tariff of up to 1.30  marks . No payment boxes were used here.

In most of the larger cities of the GDR, the payment boxes were abolished in the 1970s and 1980s. A cash payment in the vehicle was no longer possible. For at outlets selling tickets in advance mechanical were Lochentwerter (z. B. Leipzig, Dresden, Rostock) or electric powered Entwerter with stamp (z. B. Görlitz, Magdeburg, Halle) used. In Berlin, on the other hand, payment boxes were still in use until after 1989/1990.

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