The Motor Bus in Local Transportation

June 26, 1931

Report Outline
Status of the Electric Railway Industry
Growth and Extent of Motor Bus Use
Causes of Motor Bus Growth
Regulation of Buses in Local Service
The Future of Local Transportation
Special Focus

Status of the Electric Railway Industry

Attitude of Street Railways Toward the Motor Bus

The motor bus during recent years has become an increasingly important factor in local, as well as intercity and interstate, transportation. In all the principal cities of the country it is now used to greater or less extent, chiefly as a supplementary transport agency. In more than 200 communities, most of them of less than 50,000 population, street railway operations have been entirely abandoned and the whole burden of local mass transportation taken over by buses.

Street car companies have gone into the new field on an extensive scale, the great proportion of buses in city service now being operated by those companies or in coördination with the rail vehicles. By undertaking bus operation and thus gaining for themselves the revenues that otherwise would flow to independent operators, the street railways have been able to offset in part the inroads of automobile competition. They have found the bus a money-saving unit on those routes where the volume of traffic does not warrant expensive track and wire installation or even where use of such equipment already in place is no longer profitable. Buses are also sometimes substituted for street cars on light traffic lines to avoid the heavy costs of track relaying, roadbed reconstruction, and paving.

The trolley bus or trackless trolley, which is a vehicle resembling the motor bus but which draws its power from overhead wires, has enjoyed a spurt of popularity in the last year or two and appears to be gaining recognition as a valuable unit in local transportation. It has advantages over both the street car and the bus for certain types of service. It is smaller and capable of more flexible movement than the street car. It is quieter and smoother in operation than the motor bus. Its use may often prove economical for street car companies which already have the power plant and in some cases the overhead wires along routes suitable for trolley-bus operation.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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May 15, 1942  Local Transportation
Jun. 26, 1931  The Motor Bus in Local Transportation
Dec. 20, 1928  Regulation of Motor Bus Transportation
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