Atlanta Transit Company

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Obverse of Atlanta Transit Company token, with logo.
Reverse of Atlanta Transit Company, which says "Going your way every day. One Fare."

The Atlanta Transit Company (ATC) ran the public transit system in Atlanta, in the U.S. state of Georgia, from 1950 to 1972.

Since the 1920s, the Georgia Railway and Power Company (now Georgia Power, a part of Southern Company), had been losing money on transit. It commissioned a study from Beeler in 1926, but the suggestions were not enough to help. In the late-1940s most years saw double-digit percentage losses of ridership: from 125 million in 1946 down to 100 million in 1948 and finally 86 million in 1949.

In April 1949 Georgia Power ran its last of Atlanta's streetcars, and in May of the next year its drivers struck for five weeks, in the Atlanta transit strike of 1950. During the strike, Georgia Power shopped for a buyer for its increasingly troubled transit business. Atlanta businessmen Clement Evans, Granger Hansell and Inman Brandon with Leland Anderson of Columbus, Georgia formed the ATC and purchased the transportation properties on June 23, 1950, more than a month into the strike. More than 1,300 employees signed on to the new company and ended their strike.

The system consisted of the trolleybus (trackless trolley) system as well as buses, mechanics, drivers and their union, Amalgamated Street Car Union Local 732.

Anderson was the president and in September 1950 a Georgia Power vice president, Jackson Dick, joined to become the chairman of the board.

One of the company's promotional drives was called Orchids for Operators, in which customers could nominate a helpful or courteous employee for that honor.

In 1963, ATC phased out trackless trolleys, which allowed the city to remove most overhead wires.

In 1965, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) was formed, and it began planning a new rail system. By 1972, when planning was mostly finished and Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb Counties had signed on, MARTA purchased ATC for US$13 million, making it the sole mass transit entity in the area.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Forty Years on the Force (1972), Herbert Jenkins
  • History of the Georgia Power Company 1855-1956 (1957), Wade H. Wright, Foote and Davies
  • Mule to MARTA vol 2 (1976), Jean Martin, Atlanta Historical Society