Hong Kong Tram Tickets | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hong Kong Tram Tickets



I would really appreciate your help. I'm writing a historical detective novel set in Hong Kong in the '50s. I've done quite a bit of research but there's lots left to do.


I'd like to ask a question about the Hong Kong tram: does anyone know what the numbers on the old tickets used to mean? Say for instance a detective found a used tram ticket (in the 1950s) how much information about the journey would the ticket give away?  


Personally I can't make much sense of them. 






Hong Kong Tram Ticket (1).jpg
Hong Kong Tram Ticket (1).jpg, by Fei Tsai

For the record, I learn that the punched hole says where the traveller boarded and that printed numbers refer simply to the ticket batch. Looking at a used ticket however, the tramway company should be able to trace the conductor on duty and infer the time of day that the journey occurred. 

Thanks to John Prentice for messaging me with this info. He, together with Joseph Tse Yiu-hon, updated the 1970 Hongkong Tramways book. http://www.orientalmodelbuses.co.uk/Books/HKT-3.htm

My grandfather used to work for HK tramways. My father thinks there was a conductor on board that sold the tickets and stamped at the stop of where they boarded. The tickets were made in England and shipped out to Hong Kong. He cant remember what the numbers mean.

If I remember correctly, bus and tram conductors were required to keep detailed records of the serial numbers of the tickets sold at all times. The holes were used to indicate the final destination of the bus or tram, not where individual passengers boarded (which were very dificult to keep track with so many passengers). Inspectors hired by the bus or tram companies (who wore white uniforms and hats with a very British style) would conduct random checks to see if the conductors were doing their jobs properly, and to catch people who avoided paying the fare by using "recycled" tickets from previous journeys, or with no ticket at all. The serial number could indicate roughly where a passenger boarded. 

I live on the HK island side, and I remember that before the 1967 riot, punches with simple round holes were used by China Motor Bus (CMB) conductors. During the riot, there were strikes and other troubles, and CMB fired all the trouble-makers. Security measures to prevent trouble-makers from interfering with CMB operations included punches with hole patterns unique to each conductor, and badges with complicated patterns that were difficult to fake.

Many thanks for this information. Most useful.

Fei Tsai