|The accommodation bounces "down along" Commercial Street, toward the East End.|
The early motorized bus in the photo was one of many over the years which served Provincetown residents by making trips to each end of Commercial Street, traveling both "up along" and "down along" many times daily. A trip "up along" would take riders into the Portuguese neighborhoods of the West End, and folks bound for the East End would make their way "down along," to the traditionally Yankee neck of the woods. Bradford Street was also served by this assortment of various vehicles throughout the years, collectively known as the "accommodation."
With newer models replacing older ones as time went on, and with several companies serving the town over a period of years, these conveyances all seemed to have a few things in common. They were open on the sides, with running boards that passengers would climb to rows of seats, about a half-dozen upholstered benches running the width of the vehicle. There was a canopy overhead, and a sort of curtain all around, which was most often rolled up, but could be lowered in bad weather.
The "accommodation" was a motorized buggy, if you will, sans horse, and for the 5¢ one-way fare you could ride the entire length of Commercial Street, or Bradford, with the driver happily stopping here and there along the way for passengers to run their errands. The other patrons waited patiently through these brief delays, because they would often make their own requests for stops along the way.
According to author John Hardy Wright, in his book Provincetown: volume II, the vehicle pictured above was dubbed The Pilgrim, among the earlier vehicles of this sort, running on wheels made of hard rubber. Wright suggests that Bill Nickerson may have been the first driver of one of these vehicles, but he also mentions that Josiah L. Young claimed to have been the original "town cabbie." The book also tells of a driver called Mr. Kendrick, who entertained his riders with numerous Cape Cod stories, which no doubt helped to pass the time pleasantly while waiting for a fellow passenger to return to the bus with a pound of bacon from the butcher shop, or a paper from the newsstand.