A Bittersweet Golden (i.e., mixed red and yellow) Anniversary

The following will certainly be of interest to larymotrmn, zarchasmpgmr, jumbach, and the other transit and rail fans on my FL. March 3, 2008 will be a bittersweet golden anniversary. As noted in the February 17, 1958 edition of the LA Times (page 1, page 2), March 3, 1958 was the date that the original Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority took over control of rail and bus lines from Metropolitan Coach Lines, Los Angeles Transit Lines, and Asbury Coach Lines. From MCL, MTA received 711 busses, and 71 rail cars, operating over 1,242 one-way route miles. From LATL, MTA got 721 motorbusses, 109 trolley coaches, and 207 streetcars operating over 291.5 one-way route miles. From Asbury, MTA received 51 motorbusses operating over 173 route miles. MTA also received property such as the PE Terminal (not the PE Building) and the LATL building. MTA was promising better line operation. The article quoted the new MTA head as saying: “Within a month the public transportation riders will see an improvement throughout the system through changes in schedules and a changeover, as far as Metropolitan Coach Lines is concerned, from rail cars to more satisfactory busses.” The first rail line to be abandoned: the Bellflower Line. A long range product was elimination of all streetcars.

As for livery, the busses were going to initially remain in their MCL and other colors. They would be repainted. Two-toned blue was discussed, as well as red, orange, and green. According to the head of MTA, “I don’t care what, just so long as it is not yellow and green (the colors of LATL and Metropolitan Coach Lines).” Of course, the green at least lasted for a long time — I remember green busses when I rode RTD busses in the mid-1960s.

Of course, we all know that the original MTA, and its successor the (ahem) Rapid Transit District, didn’t fully improve the system. We’re seeing a return to streetcars (ahem) “light rail” and subways. Los Angeles is being on identifying transit problems, and proposing solutions, but not on actually fixing the problems.