Posting early today, as I have a long meeting this afternoon followed by a dinner.
I found these photos during a random perusal of a file drawer in the Woodson. In the early days Rice’s distance from the heart of Houston posed significant transportation problems for students. There was the trolley, of course, but that came with its own issues, long waits in particular as well as an irregular schedule. Few students had cars and in the beginning the roads weren’t good. The gaps were apparently filled by enterprising citizens using their vehicles as jitneys. No one seems to have a good handle on the etymology of “jitney” but here’s the OED definition: North American informal, a bus or other vehicle carrying passengers for a low fare.
This first shot is dated 1916. Zoom in and have a look at what’s going on on the back. If that is the jitney operator standing there, he looks completely unconcerned about any passenger hijinks.
This second one was taken in 1936 and you can see that the owner of this auto has decorated it to appeal to his client base. I can’t quite make out the name of the lounge that’s painted on the side but I suspect it must have been a popular destination.