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Key System Transit Company


SKU: 7415
Product Details


Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Key System Transit Company dating back to the 1920's. This document, which is signed by the company Vice President, was printed by the Republican Bank Note Company and measures approximately 12 1/2" (w) by 8 3/4" (h).


This certificate's vignette features a female allegorical figure (Columbia) with a shield.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    Key System was a privately owned mass transit company that serviced San Francisco and the East Bay from 1903 to 1960, when it was taken over by AC Transit after a prolonged series of scandals and missteps. Originally the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Railway (SFOSJR), the company underwent several transformations and reorganizations until 1923, when it was renamed the Key System Transit Company, and 1938, when it then was renamed simply Key System.

    In 1946, National City Lines became majority shareholders in the company, and began decommissioning streetcars in favor of buses; in 1947, nine corporations were convicted of conspiring to monopolize bus sales by the Federal District Court of Southern California, and in 1949, National City, General Motors, and others were convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses to their subsidiary companies.


    The Great Streetcar Scandal, as it came to be known, brought Key System to disgrace, and was a major factor in causing transbay ridership to plummet from 22 million in 1946 to 9.8 million in 1952. By 1958, Key System’s early success had been completely eroded by corruption, anemic ridership, and the greater shift nationally to automobile transportation. Its last commuter train run was on April 20, 1958; in 1960 AC Transit took over operation of the Key System facilities.