General Motors streetcar conspiracy

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Pacific Electric Railway 'red car' streetcars stacked in an LA junkyard in 1956. Although folklore firmly connects the "Red Cars" with these allegations, the PE was never owned by the NCL firms.

The General Motors streetcar conspiracy (also known as the Great American streetcar scandal) refers to convictions of General Motors (GM) and other companies for monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to National City Lines (NCL) and its subsidiaries, and to allegations that this was part of a deliberate plot to purchase and dismantle streetcar systems in many cities in the United States as an attempt to monopolize surface transportation, and to urban legends and other folklore inspired by these events.

In the early 1900s, General Motors' long-time president, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., began implementing a plan to expand auto sales and maximize profits by eliminating streetcars. In 1922, Sloan established a special unit within GM that was charged with, among other things, the task of replacing the United States' electric railways with cars, trucks, and buses. Consumers who no longer had the option of taking the streetcar turned first to the bus lines and, eventually, to owning and driving their own automobiles.[1][2][3][4]

Because people in cities had great public transit and interurban rail systems, GM and other auto makers decided that they needed to eliminate these systems or convert them to buses, thus including urbanites to buy cars. GM began building buses 1925 and formed an owned a controlling interest in Greyhound. For years it tried to buy urban rail transit systems on its own and convert them to buses. GM got together with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire, Mack Trucks and Phillips Petroleum in 1936 to form and finance a front company -National City Lines- which by the time was reorganized as holding corporation[5], whose job was to buy up urban rail networks and convert them to buses. They also lobbied for two important pieces of the legislation. The first was the "Hayden Cartwright act" of 1935. This required states to dedicate their state gas taxes to highway building, rather then putting them into the state's general fund. This ensured a steady supply of money for new highways. The second piece of legislation was the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, which required electric utilities (who owned the most of the rail transit systems in the US) to sell off all their streetcar lines. With hundreds of streetcar companies dumped on the market, simultaneously, in the midst of a depression, they could be purchased very cheaply. GM´s front company NCL was thus able to buy up and dismantle rail transit systems in over 200 US cities.[6]

James Howard Kunstler says, in 1925, with the acquisition of the Yellow Coach company, the General Motors Corporation undertook a systematic campaign to put streetcar lines out of business all over America. According to Kunstler, GM erected a byzantine network of subsidiaries and holding companies to carry out its mission, using its financial muscle to buy up streetcar lines, scrap the tracks, and convert the routes for buses.[7] Yellow Coach had been founded 1923 to build motor coaches for the American market and now became the basis of the GM Truck and Coach Division (renamed in 1943).[8]

Antero Pietila says, as it would be everywhere elsewhere, NCL began systematically replacing the Baltimore Transit Company's streetcars with GM buses, equipped with Firestone Tires. Those buses consumed fuel, which the two oil company partners were to provide. Meanwhile the remaining streetcar lines experienced operational difficulties.[9]

Notably Edwin J. Quinby, who drew attention to the NCL's ownership structure in 1946, and later Bradford C. Snell, an assistant attorney for the United States Senate's anti-trust subcommittee, whose 1974 testimony to a Senate inquiry brought the conspiracy issue briefly to national awareness. Both Quinby and Snell argued that the destruction of streetcars systems was an integral part of a larger strategy to push the United States into automobile dependency. Others say that the changes were due to the the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, Great Depression, market forces, labor unrest, urban sprawl, increasing traffic congestion, taxation policies that favored private vehicle ownership, and general enthusiasm for the automobile.[10]

Guy Span says, "One of the most recent villains is Bradford C. Snell, a researcher whose delusions of paranoia seem nearly limitless (at least in print)." further, "Snell’s 1974 report goes on to craft a plausible case for a vast conspiracy to destroy clean, economic, and user-friendly streetcars". He suggested:

Clearly, GM waged a war on electric traction. It was indeed an all out assault, but by no means the single reason for the failure of rapid transit. Also, it is just as clear that actions and inactions by government contributed significantly to the elimination of electric traction."[11]

In 2010 CBS's Mark Henricks reported:[12]

There is no question that a GM-controlled entity called National City Lines did buy a number of municipal trolley car systems. And it's beyond doubt that, before too many years went by, those street car operations were closed down. It's also true that GM was convicted in a post-war trial of conspiring to monopolize the market for transportation equipment and supplies sold to local bus companies. What's not true is that the explanation for these events is a nefarious plot to trade private corporate profits for viable public transportation.

According to John Robbins, "having destroyed the mass transit network that would otherwise have been their competition, the auto and oil companies quickly acquired dominion over the transportation policies of the country."[13]

On the contrary William Garrison says, it would be important to rail transit advocates to tell the story that America's streetcar system was destroyed by a conspiracy, because if it was a conspiracy, rather than market forces or democratic preferences, it was wrong to be righted by new investment in rail transit.[14]

It has been explored several times in print, film and other media, notably in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Taken for a Ride and The End of Suburbia. Only a handful of U.S. cities have surviving effective rail-based urban transport systems based on streetcars or trams, including Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Boston; others are re-introducing them.[citation needed]



In the later half of the 19th century, transit systems were generally rail-based, first using horsecars and later cable cars or trams powered by electricity. (Horse omnibuses and even steam omnibuses operated as well in some areas into the next century.) Rail was not only more comfortable than street traffic on granite block or macadam, the rolling resistance was far less. Horsecars were generally seen, in most places, as a step up from omnibus coaches; electric traction which gave 8 or 10 horsepower to a car hauled by one or two horses, was an obvious advance, faster and more sanitary, and cheaper to run. Trolleys, especially interurbans, were an emerging technology and systems were often capitalized accordingly.

Streetcars, because they operated in a public right of way, were generally required to pay franchise fees, and also perform some services—maintenance of the shared right of way, street sweeping (critical in the horsecar era), snow clearance, minimal service levels, etc. Many franchise fees were based on the gross, not the net; such arrangements, along with fixed fares, especially came back to haunt operators.[15]

Streets at the beginning of the electric era were generally block, which gave excellent traction to horses and was essentially modularized, allowing straightforward repair of many track issues. The same bumpy profile that allowed hooves traction made driving unpleasant. Early electric cars generally had a two man crew, a driver for the horse(power), and a conductor for the passengers, carried directly over from horse operation. This, too came back to haunt many trolley operations.

While horsecar lines were initially often free-standing operations, many electric lines, especially in the West, were tied into other real estate or transportation enterprises. The Pacific Electric and the Los Angeles Railway were especially so, in essence loss leaders for property development and long haul shipping[16] Interurbans and streetcars transformed cheap agricultural land into building lots by giving access to cities, and could also could act as the "first/last mile" delivery system for steam rail freight. Even in older cities like New York, terminal buildings, with their very high traffic volume, became prized real estate.

Early years

Some people emphasize GM's connections to the New York transit market. John D. Hertz, a pioneer of both taxi operators and bus services, formed the The Omnibus Corporation in 1926 by with "plans embracing the extension of motor coach operation to urban and rural communities in every part of the United States" and that said that "it was not the purpose of the corporation to enter into competition with street car companies or railroads, but to work with them for the rehabilitation of street car companies or parts of railroads in sections where the service was now inadequate."[17][better source needed]Omnibus owned the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which Hertz had founded to operate buses in Chicago,[18] and the Fifth Avenue Coach Company in New York.[19] That same year, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company acquired a majority of the stock in the struggling New York Railways Corporation.[20] In 1926 the Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company, formed by Hertz and others in 1915, including the Drive-Yourself Division, was sold to General Motors and Mr. Hertz joined the main board of GM at the age of 46.[21] While some people focus on the involvement of Hertz, the lines affected were confined to Manhattan, and were operated for more than a decade after purchase, despite intense political and economic pressure from the city government. Electric street traction lasted on a much reduced scale in New York City until the early 1960s in Brooklyn; on steel wheels well into the 1950s, with the last PCC runs on October 31, 1956, and trackless trolleys until July 27, 1960,[22] again, despite considerable political opposition.

The New York Railways Corporation began converting streetcars to buses in 1935, with the new bus services being operated by the New York City Omnibus Corporation, which shared management with The Omnibus Corporation, running generally at a profit.[23] This contrasted severely with its predecessor, which had been bankrupted and reorganized at least twice. (It should be noted that other Manhattan lines continued in operation until past WW II, and it was the city pressure against these lines that first roused Quinby to activism.)

GM's work on the other side of the Hudson included Public Service in New Jersey to develop the "all-service vehicle" a bus also capable of working as a trackless trolley, allowing cleaner operation, and better acceleration, in dense traffic where these were most important, but allowing off-wire passenger collection in areas too lightly populated to pay for wire infrastructure.

In 1932 GM formed a subsidiary United Cities Motor Transport (UCMT) to finance the conversion of streetcar systems to buses.[4]UCMT purchased several smaller systems within Michigan and Ohio before being censured by the American Transit Association after approaching the city of Portland, Oregon with a similar proposal. UCMT was dissolved in 1935.[24]

The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 made it illegal for transportation utilities to sell electricity—crippling urban rail operators nationwide.[25]

In 1930 the electric streetcar ruled Chicago. Though most people didn’t realize it, Chicago Surface Lines' old reliable red cars were already on their way out. A streetcar line is basically an urban street railway, tied to tracks. That was good enough in the early years on the 20th Century. But now the automobile was becoming popular. If people were going to keep riding public transit, they needed more flexible service. CSL started its own bus lines but the company remained committed to the streetcar. In 1958 ended 68 years of Chicago streetcars, and 99 years of Chicago street railways.[26]

During the peak of the streetcar era, fares were 7 cents each or 25 cents for 4. In 1924 gasoline powered buses were placed into service on the streets of Decatur, Illinois. After more than 60 years of service, the streetcar began to honorably yield to the more popular bus. By 1936 the last of the streetcars had given way to the maneuverable and self-contained bus.[27]

National City Lines, Pacific City Lines, American City Lines

It started with a small bus operations with one line in 1920 by E. Roy Fitzgerald, who had never graduated from college.[28] Beginning in 1936, National City Lines operated as a holding company that bought transit systems “where streetcars were no longer practicable” and converted them into bus lines.[29]

1938, NCL proceeded to buy and dismantle streetcar systems in San Jose, Stockton, and Fresno. In 1943, NCL affiliate American City Lines, converted trolleys to buses in nineteen more cities.[7] On April 1, 1939, National City Lines, Inc., had grown from an humble beginning in 1920, consisting of the ownership and operation of two second-hand buses in Minnesota, to ownership or control of 29 local operating transportation companies located in 27 different cities in 10 states.[30] Systems included St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Oakland. NCL often converted streetcars to bus operations in that period, although electric traction was preserved or expanded in some locations.

NCL acquired the Los Angeles Railway (aka the "Yellow Cars") in 1945 and converted many lines to bus routes. All of these routes, however, had been planned for conversion in 1940, and many of the lines were replaced with trolleybuses,[31] some were originally intended for Oakland, but others purchased specifically in 1948.[31] The LATL also made the last major new purchase of streetcars, and kept an additional line electrified, which was only converted 20 years later by the public authority that later purchased the system.[31]

Pacific City Lines (PCL) also formed in 1938, was to purchase streetcar systems in the western United States.[32] From 1939 through 1940, NCL or PCL attempted a hostile takeover of the Key System, which operated electric trains and streetcars in Oakland, California, the attempt was temporarily blocked by a syndicate of NCL insiders, with controlling interest secured on Jan 8, 1941[33] By 1946, PCL had acquired 64% of the stock in the Key System which operated electric trains and streetcars in Oakland, California. PCL merged with NCL in 1948.[34]

American City Lines (ACL) which had been organized to acquire local transportation systems in the larger metropolitan areas in various parts of the country in 1943, was merged with NCL in 1946.[32] By 1947, NCL owned or controlled 46 systems in 45 cities in 16 states.[35]

The involvement of General Motors and others in these holding companies was not made public at the time. In addition, both National City Lines and Pacific City Lines were incorporated in Delaware, a state which does not require companies to disclose information about directors or shareholders, and which also offers low corporation tax and other incentives to businesses that incorporate there.[36]

The San Diego Electric Railway was sold to Western Transit Company, which was owned by J. L. Haugh, Oakland, for $5.5 million in 1948.[37] Jesse Haugh was also president of the Key System, and later was involved in Metropolitan Coach Line's purchase of the passenger operations of the Pacific Electric Railway. In the same year the Baltimore Streetcar system was purchased by NCL and started converting the system to buses.[38] Jesse Haugh operated Metropolitan Coach Lines and was a former executive of PCL. The remaining streetcars were converted to buses by 1950. The Pacific Electric Railway's struggling passenger operations were purchased by Metropolitan Coach Lines in 1953 and was taken into public ownership in 1958 after which the last routes were converted to bus operation. Though federal anti-trust action was taken against NCL, the damage was already done and Los Angeles was 'in love with the automobiles'.[39] Haugh sold the bus-based San Diego system to the city in 1966.[40]

The situation was different in Detroit, however. NCL couldn't even get involved with the city's public system. Which means the decline of Detroit's streetcars requires other explanations. There's no shortage of them, from the competition of increased road-building subsidies to the new streetcars that needed costly track improvements. Broad-brush zoning and freeway construction moved people farther away from the city's streetcar lines. It seemed there was no place for the humble streetcar anymore. Between the end of the war and 1949, the city discontinued half of its 20 streetcar lines. Five more were discontinued in 1951 — three of them switched abruptly to bus lines during a DSR strike. More closings followed until August 1955, when Mayor Albert Cobo, who promoted freeway construction as the way of the future, urged City Council to sell the city's recently purchased fleet of modern streetcars to Mexico City. On April 8, 1956, the last streetcar in Detroit rolled down Woodward Avenue.[41]

Edwin J. Quinby

In 1946, Edwin Jenyss Quinby, an activated reserve commander,[42][better source needed] founder of the Electric Railroaders' Association in 1934 (which lobbied on behalf of rail users and services),[43] former employee of North Jersey Rapid Transit (which operated in New York) published a 24-page 'expose' on the ownership of National City Lines addressed to "The Mayors; The City Manager; The City Transit Engineer; The members of The Committee on Mass-Transportation and The Tax-Payers and The Riding Citizens of Your Community". It began, "This is an urgent warning to each and every one of you that there is a careful, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of your most important and valuable public utilities–your Electric Railway System".[44] His agitating may have led Federal authorities to prosecute GM and the other companies.[45] The federal government had begun investigating some aspects of NCL's financial arrangements as early as 1941.[46]

He also questioned who was behind the creation of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, which had caused such difficulty for street car operations,[47] He was later to write a history of North Jersey Rapid Transit.[48]

Court cases, conviction and $1 fine

On April 9, 1947, nine corporations and seven individuals (constituting officers and directors of certain of the corporate defendants) were indicted in the Federal District Court of Southern California on counts of "conspiring to acquire control of a number of transit companies, forming a transportation monopoly" and "conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines"[49] which had been made illegal by the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act.

In 1948, the venue was changed from the Federal District Court of Southern California to the Federal District Court in Northern Illinois following an appeal to the United States Supreme Court (in United States v. National City Lines Inc.)[50] which felt that there was evidence of conspiracy to monopolize the supply of buses and supplies.[51]

In 1949, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, GM and Mack Trucks were convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products to local transit companies controlled by NCL and other companies; they were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the ownership of these companies. The verdicts were upheld on appeal in 1951.[51] Bradford Snell, a Senate antitrust attorney later complained that:

"The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H.C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of GM. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of Pacific City Lines when that company undertook the dismantlement of the $100 million Pacific Electric system. The court fined Grossman the magnanimous sum of $1."[52]

Snell failed to mention that the court explicitly explained the low fine: describing the violation as one which could only be tested by a court; as neither a matter of "outright lawlessness or brazen price-fixing;" and, most tellingly, a case which could easily have gone either way, in the trial judge's opinion,: "I am very frank to admit to counsel that after a very exhaustive review of the entire transcript in this case, and of the exhibits that were offered and received in evidence, that I might not have come to the same conclusion as the jury came to were I trying this case without a jury."[53]

According to Snell, GM's own testimony had shown that by the mid-1950s, "its agents had canvassed more than 1,000 electric railways and that, of these, they had motorized 90%—more than 900 systems."[54]

Urban Mass Transportation Act and 1974 Antitrust hearings

The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 created the Federal Transit Administration with a remit to "conserve and enhance values in existing urban areas" noting that "our national welfare therefore requires the provision of good urban transportation, with the properly balanced use of private vehicles and modern mass transport to help shape as well as serve urban growth." Funding for transit was increased with the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1970 and further extended by the 1974 National Mass Transportation Assistance Act which allowed funds to support transit operating costs as well as construction costs.

In 1970, Harvard Law student Robert Eldridge Hicks began working on the Ralph Nader Study Group Report on Land Use in California to report the wider conspiracy to dismantle U.S. streetcar systems. These allegations were first published in Politics of Land: Ralph Nader's Study Group Report on Land Use in California.[55]

In 1972 Senator Philip Hart introduced into congress the 'Industrial Reorganization Act', with an intention to restructure the US economy to restore competition and address antitrust concern.[56] As part of the preparations for the fourth session of this Act, which were to focus on ground transport industries, Bradford Snell, a former scholar with the Brookings Institution and attorney with Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro[57] and assistant Council of the Subcommittee of Antitrust and Monopoly of the Senate,[58] prepared a paper, titled "American ground transport: a proposal for restructuring the automobile, truck, bus, and rail industries"[59] together with an accompanying statement.[60] The paper, authored earlier with support from the Stern Fund, was described as the centrepiece of the hearings,[61] The paper, that was published and distributed in February 1974. It was published in a Senate binding, implying that this contents were the considered views of the Senate, a mistake for which the chair of the committee apologized.[62] In it Snell claimed that:

  • General Motors was 'a sovereign economic state' and claimed that the company played a major role in the displacement of rail and bus transportation by buses and trucks.[63]
  • the GM President and CEO Alfred P. Sloan established a special unit within the corporation charged with the task of replacing the US electric railways with cars, trucks and buses in 1922. [64]

At the hearings in April 1974:

  • San Francisco mayor and antitrust attorney Joseph Alioto testified that "General Motors and the automobile industry generally exhibit a kind of monopoly evil", adding that GM "has carried on a deliberate concerted action with the oil companies and tire companies...for the purpose of destroying a vital form of competition; namely, electric rapid transit". Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley also testified, saying that GM—through its subsidiaries (namely PCL) "scrapped the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles streetcar systems leaving the electric train system totally destroyed".[65]
  • However, George Hilton, a professor of economics at UCLA and noted transit scholar rejected Snell view stating that:[66][67] "I would argue that these [Snell's] interpretations are not correct, and, further, that they couldn't possibly be correct, because major conversions in society of this character — from rail to free wheel urban transportation, and from steam to diesel railroad propulsion — are the sort of conversions which could come about only as a result of public preferences, technological change, the relative abundance of natural resources, and other impersonal phenomena or influence, rather than the machinations of a monopolist."
  • GM published a rebuttal the same year titled "The Truth About American Ground Transport".[68][69]

Since 1980

To this day, the main streets of many smaller communities, such as Pennsylvania Route 18 in Beaver Falls, are noticeably wider than roads built for similar newer communities, due to their being constructed to accommodate streetcars as well as general traffic.

The 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, references the scandal, masked and set in Los Angeles.[70] Scriptwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman explained: "the Red Car plot, suburb expansion, urban and political corruption really did happen. In Los Angeles, during the 1940s, car and tire companies teamed up against the Pacific Electric Railway system and bought them out of business. Where the freeway runs in Los Angeles is where the Red Car used to be."[71] The story was told again in 1996 in the documentary, Taken for a Ride and then in 2004 in the film The End of Suburbia.

Snell responded to an article in The New Electric Railway Journal in 1995 in which it had be suggested that streetcars were replaced naturally with an emotive piece which started "The electric streetcar, contrary to Van Wilkin's incredible naïve whitewash, did not die a natural death: General Motors killed it. GM killed it by employing a host of anti-competitive devices which, like National City Lines, debased rail transit and promoted auto sales."[72] He also claimed that *in 1920, 90% of all trips were via rail using 1,200 separate electric street and interurban railways with 44,000 miles (71,000 km) of track, 300,000 employees, 15 billion annual passengers, and $1 billion in income and that only one in 10 Americans owned an automobile[73]

The accuracy of significant elements of Snell's 1974 testimony was challenged in an article published in Transportation Quarterly in 1997 by Cliff Slater.[74]

In recent decades, many American cities have started reconstructing new streetcar systems, light rail, and other public transport systems. By way of example, Los Angeles has recently opened a number of streetcar lines: Blue Line (1990),[75] Orange Line (2005)[76] and Expo Line (2012),[77][78] all of which have high usage and largely run along routes previously used by Pacific Electric Railway (Red Car) services.[76]

Other factors

Others factors have been cited as reasons for the decline of streetcars and public transport generally in the USA.

Robert Post notes that the ultimate reach of GM's alleged conspiracy extended to approximately 10% of US transit systems.[79] The alleged conspiracy did, however, impact to some extent on all five of the largest current metropolitan areas in the USA, although this is equally valid as an argument in favor of "bustitution".

Guy Span argues that actions and in-actions by government was one of many contributing factors in the elimination of electric traction.[80] Cliff Slater suggested that the regulatory framework in the USA actually protected the electric streetcars for longer than would have been the case if there was less regulation[81] The following regulations and regulatory changes have been linked to directly to the decline of the streetcars:

  • Difficult labor relations, and tight regulation of fares, routes, and schedules took their toll on city streetcar systems.[82]
  • The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 prohibited regulated electric utilities from operating unregulated businesses, which included most streetcar lines. The act also placed restrictions on services operating across state lines. Many holding companies operated both streetcars and electric utilities across several states; those that owned both types of businesses were forced to sell off one.[83] Declining streetcar business was often somewhat less valuable than the growing consumer electric business, resulting in many streetcar systems being put up for sale.[84] The independent lines, no longer associated with an electric utility holding company, had to purchase electricity at full price from their former parents, further shaving their already thin margins.[85] The Great Depression then left many streetcar operators short of funds for maintenance and capital improvements.[86]
  • The Dual Contracts signed by operators in New York City restricted their ability to increase fares at a time of high inflation, allowed the city to take over them, or to operate competing subsidized transit.[87]

Different funding models have also been highlighted:

  • Streetcar lines were built using funds from private investors and were required to pay numerous taxes and dividends. By contrast, new roads were constructed and maintained by the government from tax income.[88][89]
  • By 1916, street railroads nationwide were wearing out their equipment faster than they were replacing it. While operating expenses were generally recovered, money for long-term investment was generally diverted elsewhere.
  • The U.S. government responded to the Great Depression with massive subsidies for road construction.[88]
  • Later construction of the Interstate Highway System was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 which approved the expenditure of $25 billion of public money for the creation of a new 41,000 miles (66,000 km) interstate road network.[89] Streetcar operators were occasionally required to pay for the reinstatement of their lines following the construction of the freeways.[90]
  • Federal fuel taxes, introduced in 1956 was paid into a new Highway Trust Fund which could only fund highway construction (until 1983 when some 10% was diverted into a new Mass Transit Account).[82]

Other issues which made it harder to operate viable streetcar services include:

  • Suburbanization and urban sprawl, exacerbated in the USA by white flight, created low-density land use patterns which are not easily served by streetcars, or indeed by any public transport, to this day.[91][92]
  • increased traffic congestion often reduced service speeds and thereby increased their operational costs and made the services less attractive to the remaining users.[93][94]
  • More recently it has been suggested that the provision of free parking facilities at destinations and in the center of cities loads all users with the cost of facilities enjoyed only by motorists, creating additional traffic congestion and significantly affects the viability of other transport modes.[95]

Myths and mysteries

Some of the specific cases which have been clarified over the years include:

  • According to Snell's testimony, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in New York was profitable until it was acquired and converted to diesel trains.[citation needed] Much of the New Haven was never converted to diesel, and remains in operation under AMTRAK. (Electrified track is also visible from some parts of Snell's Yale campus.) The line was in financial difficulty for years and filed for bankruptcy in 1935.[96] Ironically, the rail company itself was indicted in 1914 on a charge of "conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce by acquiring the control of practically all the transportation facilities of New England".[97]
  • "GM killed the New York street cars".[citation needed] - The New York Railways Company entered receivership in 1919,[98] 6 years before it was bought by the New York Railways Corporation with funding from GM and others.[99]
  • "GM Killed the Red cars in Los Angeles".[citation needed] - Pacific Electric Railway (who operated the 'red cars') was hemorrhaging routes as traffic congestion got much worse with growing prosperity and car ownership levels after the end of World War II, long before GM became involved in 1953.[100]
  • The Salt Lake city system is mentioned in the 1949 court papers. However, according to one source, the city's system was only purchased by National City Lines in 1944 at a time when all but one route had already been withdrawn, and the withdrawal of this last line had been approved three years earlier.[citation needed]

Relevant actors

The businesses and people in this section have all been referenced by one other external sources in relation to the 'streetcar scandal'.

Holding companies for transport operators
  • National City Lines (1920-?) Main holding company for public transport operators
  • The Omnibus Corporation (1925–1954) Started by John D. Hertz, who was a director of GM[101] Also known as the 'Omnibus Corporation of America'
  • New York City Omnibus Corporation (1926–1962) Shared management with The Omnibus Corporation[102] Later known as 'Fifth Avenue Coach Lines'
  • United Cities Motor Transport (1932?-1934?) Was 'censored by the American Transit Association for its obviously self-serving role'.[103]
  • Pacific City Lines (1937–1948) Merged into National City Lines in 1948[104]
  • American City Lines (1943–1946) Merged with National City Lines 1946.[104]
Manufacturing companies

In addition to the six business indicted in 1947:

Finance organizations
Advocacy groups
Affected transit lines

Cultural impact

The removal of streetcars from cities has been associated with the decline of the character of urban cores, as economic, residential and cultural life dispersed from a central core. As Martin Melosi wrote, "through deconcentration of business functions; the weakening of the core as a magnet for social and cultural life; and the dispersal of population into the suburbs."[113]

See also



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  2. ^ Robert K Musil (1 April 2014). Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America's Environment. Rutgers University Press. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-0-8135-7176-8. 
  3. ^ Michels, Steven (2013). The case against democracy. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-4408-0282-9. 
  4. ^ a b Cutler J. Cleveland; Christopher G. Morris (15 November 2013). Handbook of Energy: Chronologies, Top Ten Lists, and Word Clouds. Elsevier Science. pp. 606–. ISBN 978-0-12-417019-3. 
  5. ^ Greenwald, Richard (May 29, 2013). "A Very Brief History of Why It's So Hard to Get From Brooklyn to Queens". CityLab. Retrieved Mar 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ Joseph McKinney; Amy Isler Gibson (22 February 2010). The End of the Road: The Transition to Safe, Green Horsepower. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-4500-3237-7. 
  7. ^ a b Kunstler, James (1993). The geography of nowhere : the rise and decline of America's man-made landscape. New York London: Simon & Schuster. p. 91. ISBN 0-671-88825-0. 
  8. ^ "A History of the GM/MCI/Nova Buses". Transit Toronto. Sep 16, 2014. Retrieved Mar 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ Pietila, Antero (2010). Not in my neighborhood : how bigotry shaped a great American city. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-56663-843-2. 
  10. ^ See elsewhere in this article for cited sources for all of these claims.
  11. ^ Span, Guy. "Paving the Way for Buses: The Great GM Streetcar Conspiracy". Bay Crossings. Retrieved Feb 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ Henricks, Mark (2010-09-02). "The GM Trolley Conspiracy: What Really Happened". CBS News. 
  13. ^ What Ever Happened to Public Transportation? John Robbins,, May 25, 2011, Retrieved on Feb 27 2015
  14. ^ Garrison, William (2014). The transportation experience. New York: Oxford University Press, USA. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-19-986271-9. 
  15. ^ Goddard, Stephen (1996). Getting there : the epic struggle between road and rail in the American century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 69-70. ISBN 978-0-226-30043-6. 
  16. ^ Friedricks, William (1992). Henry E. Huntington and the creation of southern California. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-8142-0553-2. 
  17. ^ "American Motor Coach Part III, American Motor Bus, Gas-Electric Motorbus, Stanley L. Conklin, Roland R. Conklin". 
  18. ^ "CTA Marks 50 Years as Chicago's Major Public Transit Provider". Chicago Transit Authority. 2002-10-01. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  19. ^ "Guide to the Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection 1895-1962". New York History Society. 
  20. ^ "Coach line ready to rip up car tracks in a wide bus plan; Fifth Av. Company Promises Quick Start if the city Approves Project.". The New York Times. 24 May 1926. 
  21. ^ John Daniel Hertz Biography, The Hertz Foundation, Retrieved Feb 26, 2015
  22. ^ Cudahy, Brian (2002). How we got to Coney Island the development of mass transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County. New York: Fordham University Press. p. 272. ISBN 0-8232-2209-8. 
  23. ^ Securities and Exchange Commission. 1945. p. 238. 
  24. ^ Michael Borbely and Brian Hoffman (28 October 2013). Palm Haven. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-4671-3048-6. 
  25. ^ "The last years of Chicago streetcars". WBEZ 91.5 Chicago. Oct 5, 2012. Retrieved Mar 1, 2015. 
  26. ^ Public Transit System Past & Present City of Decatur, IL, Retrieved March 01, 2015
  27. ^ J. Mills Thornton (25 September 2002). Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. University of Alabama Press. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-0-8173-1170-4. 
  28. ^ "Streetcars to return soon to the District". Washington Post. Jan 27, 2012. Retrieved Mar 1, 2015. 
  29. ^ "186 F.2d 562 UNITED STATES,v.NATIONAL CITY LINES, Inc., et al.". 1951. Retrieved Feb 26, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b c "Los Angeles Transit Lines - The Trolley Bus in Los Angeles". Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  31. ^ a b United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 8 "Pacific City Lines was organized for the purpose of acquiring local transit companies on the Pacific Coast and commenced doing business in January 1938."
  32. ^ "Control of Rail System:Acquired". San Bernardino Sun. United Press. 1941-01-09. p. 17. 
  33. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "National City Lines and Pacific City Lines merged in 1948 and continued their practice of 'bustitution.'"
  34. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 6 "At the time the indictment was returned, the City Lines defendants had expanded their ownership or control to 46 transportation systems located in 45 cities across 16 states."
  35. ^ "United States v. National City Lines, 134 F. Supp. 350 (N.D. Ill. 1955)". Justia Law. Sep 19, 1955. Retrieved Feb 27, 2015. 
  36. ^ a b Holle, Gena (2002). "Transit in San Diego: ASCE Anniversary Project". The Journal of San Diego History 48 (1). 
  37. ^ "A Brief History of Baltimore Streetcars". [dead link]
  38. ^ "Book Review: Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars". By the end of World War II, the Huntington estate sold its majority interest to Chicago-based National City Lines. LARY became the Los Angeles Transit Lines, and bigger changes were in store. Many lines were converted to bus operation through the late forties and fifties. Never mind that NCL was partially owned by bus (GM), tire (Firestone), and gasoline (Standard Oil) suppliers. Though Federal anti-trust action was taken against NCL, the damage was already done. Los Angeles was officially in love with the automobile. 
  39. ^ "Transit in San Diego: ASCE Anniversary Project". 
  40. ^ Jackman, Michael (Mar 29, 2006). "Back track - Local News". Detroit Metro Times. Retrieved Feb 28, 2015. 
  41. ^ Quinby, Edwin, J. (1946). "Quinby's Warning". 
  42. ^ Suburbanizing the masses: public transport and urban development in historical perspective. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7546-0775-5. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  43. ^ Guy Span (2003b)
  44. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "Quinby’s charges would finally bestir the government to begin an investigation into National City Lines and its owners and subsidiaries and suddenly the opposition changed their tactics (in a clear admission of guilt)... Thanks to Quinby’s warning, the Feds eventually took GM to trial and convicted them not for ripping out streetcar lines, but rather for controlling these companies to monopolize sales of its products, a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act."
  45. ^ U.S. House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (1941). "Hearings: Seventy-seventh Congress, First Session". Hathitrust. p. 1124. Retrieved 2015-02-02. 
  46. ^ Guy Span (2003b). "No one sought an answer to Quinby’s most penetrating question (referring to the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act), "Who Is Behind This Campaign To Separate The Obviously Economical Combination Of Electric Railway And Its Power Plant?""
  47. ^ "Interurban Interlude, A History of the North Jersey Rapid Transit Company by Quinby, E.J., Cdr". Retrieved Feb 28, 2015. 
  48. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 1, "On April 9, 1947, nine corporations and seven individuals, constituting officers and directors of certain of the corporate defendants, were indicted on two counts, the second of which charged them with conspiring to monopolize certain portions of interstate commerce, in violation of Section 2 of the Anti-trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 2."
  49. ^ "United States v. National City Lines , 334 U.S. 573 (1948)". FindLaw. 1948. 
  50. ^ a b United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951) "We think the evidence is clear that when any one of these suppliers was approached, its attitude was that it would be interested in helping finance City Lines, provided it should receive a contract for the exclusive use of its products in all of the operating companies of the City Lines, so far as buses and tires were concerned, and, as to the oil companies, in the territory served by the respective petroleum companies. It may be of little importance, but it seems to be the fact, at least we think the jury was justified in inferring it to be the fact, that the proposal for financing came from City Lines but that proposal of exclusive contracts came from the suppliers. At any rate, it is clear that eventually each supplier entered into a written contract of long duration whereby City Lines, in consideration of suppliers' help in financing City Lines, agreed that all of their operating subsidiaries should use only the suppliers' products."
  51. ^ Snell, Bradford C. (1974) p. 103 "The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H.C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of GM. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of Pacific City Lines when that company undertook the dismantlement of the $100 million Pacific Electric system. The court fined Grossman the magnanimous sum of $1"
  52. ^ Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust. "The Industrial reorganization act [microform] : hearings, Ninety-third Congress, first session [-Ninety-fourth Congress, first session], on S. 1167.". US Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  53. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) "GM admitted in court documents that by the mid-1950s, its agents had canvassed more than 1,000 electric railways and that, of these, they had motorized 90 percent, more than 900 systems."
  54. ^ pp. 410–12, compiled by Robert C. Fellmeth, Center for Study of Responsive Law, Grossman Publishers
  55. ^ "The Industrial Reorganization Act: An Antitrust Proposal to Restructure the American Economy". 
  56. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997)
  57. ^ US Senate (1974) Page 2399
  58. ^ Snell, Bradford C. (1974)
  59. ^ Snell, Bradford (1974-02-26). "Statement of Bradford C. Snell Before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly". Hearings on the Ground Transportation Industries in Connection with S1167. S.C.R.T.D. Library. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  60. ^ Wood, John C. (2003). Alfred P. Sloan: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management. p. 385. ISBN 0415248329. The centrepiece of the hearings was a study written by Bradford C. Snell 
  61. ^ US Senate (1974) Pages 2325 to 2326
  62. ^ Snell, Bradford C. (1974) "it demonstrates General Motors to be a sovereign economic state, whose common control of auto, truck, bus and locomotive production was a major factor in the displacement of rail and bus transportation by cars and trucks"
  63. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) "Sloan established a special unit within the corporation which was charged, among other things, with the task of replacing the US electric railways with cars, trucks and buses".
  64. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997), "Mayor Alioto, himself a nationally prominent antitrust attorney, congratulated Snell on the "excellence" of his "very fine monograph." Alioto testified that, "General Motors and the automobile industry generally exhibit a kind of monopoly evil" and that GM "has carried on a deliberate concerted action with the oil companies and tire companies...for the purpose of destroying a vital form of cotric rapid transit. ... Mayor Bradley also testified, in absentia, saying that General Motors, through its American City Lines and Pacific City Lines affiliates, "scrapped" the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles streetcar systems to "motorize" Los Angeles. After GM was through, the 'electric train system was totally destroyed.'"
  65. ^ "Be Careful How You Refer to the So-Called 'Great American Streetcar Scandal'". The strongest rebuttal came from transit scholar George Hilton (on whose work Snell had ironically relied) in his own 1974 Senate testimony" 
  66. ^ US Senate (1974) Page 2204
  67. ^ The truth about "American Ground Transport"--a reply by General Motors. OCLC 13880706. 
  68. ^ "GM and the Nazis--Part Four: How Will History Remember General Motors’ Collaboration with the Nazis?". But following the release of the Snell report, the automaker then created its own 88-page rebuttal report titled, “The Truth About American Ground Transport,” 
  69. ^ Bianco, Martha (1988)
  70. ^ Robert Zemeckis, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, Ken Ralston, Frank Marshall, Steve Starkey, DVD audio commentary, 2003, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  71. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995)
  72. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) "90% of all trips were by rail, chiefly electric rail; only one in 10 Americans owned an automobile. There were 1,200 separate electric street and interurban railways, a thriving and profitable industry with 44,000 miles of track, 300,000 employees, 15 billion annual passengers, and $1 billion in income. Virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system."
  73. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997)
  74. ^ "History of the Pacific Electric Railway". Rails west. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  75. ^ a b Wetzel, Tom (2009). "What explains the demise of the Pacific Electric Railway?". Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  76. ^ "Expo Line Flyover". Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  77. ^ Lemarchand,Richard (2012-09-18). "Pacific Electric Railway Company ticket, etched into Expo Line platform". Flickr. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  78. ^ Post, Robert C. (2007). Urban Mass Transit: The Life Story of a Technology. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-313-33916-5. 
  79. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "Clearly, GM waged a war on electric traction. It was indeed an all out assault, but by no means the single reason for the failure of rapid transit. Also, it is just as clear that actions and inactions by government contributed significantly to the elimination of electric traction."
  80. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997), "The issue is whether or not the buses that replaced the electric streetcars were economically superior. Without GM's interference would the United States today have a viable streetcar system? This article makes the case that under a less onerous regulatory environment, buses would have replaced streetcars even earlier than they actually did."
  81. ^ a b Susan Hanson, Genevieve Giuliano (2004). The Geography of Urban Transportation (3rd ed.). Guilford Press. p. 315. ISBN 1-59385-055-7. 
  82. ^ National Capital Trolley Museum. "Regional History". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  83. ^ Van Wilkins (Summer 1995). "The Conspiracy Revisited". The New Electric Railway Journal. ISSN 1048-3845. Retrieved 2011-05-27. 
  84. ^ Jonathan Kwitny (1981). The Great Transportation Conspiracy: A juggernaut named desire. Harper's. p. 14. 
  85. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "And once separated from their subsidies, many died on their own at the end of the depression, without any further assistance from GM."
  86. ^ "Beyond the IRT". Public Broadcasting Service. The Dual Contracts doubled the size of the current system, pushing Manhattan's population northward and fostering residential growth in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. The new lines connected the beaches of Coney Island with the theaters of Times Square, and the citizens of Queens with the shopkeepers of Manhattan. But the terms of the contracts, particularly the fares and how they would be divided, would later cripple the system and threaten its continued growth. 
  87. ^ a b "Federal Highway Aid and the Depression". The annual federal highway allotment to the states, which stood for a number of years prior to 1931, at $75,000,000, was increased to $125,000,000 for the fiscal years 1931, 1932, and 1933. These sums were further augmented by emergency appropriations totaling $200,000,000, the large additional funds for road building being advanced as a means of giving work to unemployed men in every state. 
  88. ^ a b "The Cracks are Showing". The Economist. 2008-06-26. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2008-10-23. (subscription required)
  89. ^ "Part 5: The Ending of an Era in Detroit and The México City Sale". The PCC Era in Detroit. Detroit Transit History. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  90. ^ Cities and Suburbs. 2009. p. 49. ISBN 9781134004096. Massive federal highway spending opening up rural land and kept residential land prices relatively low… The federal highway construction program, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, not only connected cities, but it also allowed commuters to travel the interstate highways into the cities from the nearby suburbs… Race also played a significant role in suburban expansion. In selected inner-city neighborhoods Blacks moved into the housing market. The resultant White flight to the suburbs was reinforced by urban renewal and integration of the school system. 
  91. ^ "Urban density is more cost-effective than urban sprawl". UITP. In low-density areas the car dominates the choice of transport, and the cost of providing public transport in high. In these sprawling cities almost all journeys are made by car 
  92. ^ "1922 Los Angeles: Unprecedented Growth, Congestion And A Plan For Relief". Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library. He concludes that the downtown street area is insufficient for present traffic, street area is inefficiently used, outlets for traffic are insufficient, and that increasing efficiency is practically impossible due to the railway systems in operation at the time. He goes on to discuss the 2nd Street Tunnel project, the opening of 5th Street, the Pacific Electric tunnel, and plans for a Union Passenger Station. 
  93. ^ John M Terrass (1922). "Study and Plan of Relief of the Street Traffic Congestion in the City of Low Angeles". University of California, Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering. p. 1. Traffic congestion, in the City of Los Angeles, has increased rapidly in the passed five years. Many complaints have been made by both the people and the public utilities which are directly affect by traffic congestion. Chief Engineer H.Z.Osborne, of the Los Angeles board of Public Utilities, in a discussion of traffic conditions, estimated the present yearly losses due to congestion, as being $8,365,800 
  94. ^ "U.S. Parking Policies: An Overview of Management Strategies". Minimum parking requirements subsidize driving by shifting the costs of car use onto development and the non-driving public.. There is a growing realization that the dysfunction caused by poorly conceived parking policies is a major impediment to creating an effective and balanced urban transportation system 
  95. ^ "New Haven Railway files for bankruptcy". Montreal Gazette. 1935-10-24. 
  96. ^ "Indict 21 in deals of the New Haven Line". New York Times. 1914-11-03. 
  97. ^ "U.S. Court Makes Hedges Receiver for N.Y. Railways". New York Times. 1919-03-21. p. 1. 
  98. ^ New York Times, New York Railways Plan Now Effective, April 28, 1925, page 27
  99. ^ Guy Span (2003a) "Snell’s report can also be misleading (apparently intentionally so). Snell says: "In 1940, GM, Standard Oil and Firestone assumed an active control in Pacific (City Lines)… That year, PCL began to acquire and scrap portions of the $100 million Pacific Electric System (of Roger Rabbit fame)." This statement implied that PCL was getting control of Pacific Electric, when, in reality, all they did was acquire the local streetcar systems of Pacific Electric in Glendale and Pasadena and then convert them to buses. Many superficial readers jump on this statement as proof that GM moved in the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric. The ugly little fact is that PCL never acquired Pacific Electric (it was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad until 1953).
  100. ^ "Coachbuilt". Omnibus Corporation of America, which had a web of interlocking directors and managers with GM 
  101. ^ Guy Span (2003a)
  102. ^ Guy Span (2003b), "GM (significantly) formed a new subsidiary, United Cities Motor Transport (UCMT) and looked around to gobble up transit companies to replace its equipment with GM buses."
  103. ^ a b James J. Flink (1990). The automobile age. MIT Press. p. 365. ISBN 0-262-56055-0. 
  104. ^ Guy Span (2003a) "The real villain of this piece was a Tammany Hall hack mayor, John F. Hylan, supported by the Hearst Papers. William Randolph Hearst had been supporting a populist campaign against the so-called "Traction Trusts" for years and his crony was probably just following orders."
  105. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "So let’s not forget the words of Charlie Wilson when asked if there were a conflict with his former employer (GM) on his possible appointment to Secretary of Defense in 1953. He replied, "I cannot conceive of one because for years, I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.""
  106. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "According to Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) documents, the transit system’s bank would get a visit from GM promising deposits if the bank would lean on the transit company to not buy more streetcars. Converting to bus was easy, with the local banks assistance and, of course, easy financing from GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation)."
  107. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "City planning was a relatively new field in the 1930s and few accredited institutions taught the subject. However, one such accredited institution did and it was GMI (General Motors Institution which took over the Flint Institute of Technology in 1926). And you can imagine what the fledgling city planners learned: traffic engineering (buses are good; railways are bad)."
  108. ^ Guy Span (2003b) "Outstanding systems like the Chicago North Shore Line (which operated from the northern suburbs into Chicago on the elevated loop until 1962) were allowed to go bankrupt and be scrapped."
  109. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) "Indeed, in San Francisco and Seattle, it arranged for one of its former regional bus managers, the ex-president of its United Cities subsidiary, to become manager and transit czar. In northern New Jersey, Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver, Dallas, and Houston, it relied on banking connections to facilitate abandonment; in Chicago and Milwaukee, it relied on Greyhound, Omnibus, City Coach, and National; in Portland, on United Cities, Pacific Cities and Manning Transportation; in Miami, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, on freelance agents and former GM and National officials; in New Orleans and Indianapolis, on gifts to high-placed executives; in Minneapolis, on unprincipled gangsters."
  110. ^ "Book Review: Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars". By the end of World War II, the Huntington estate sold its majority interest to Chicago-based National City Lines. LARY became the Los Angeles Transit Lines, and bigger changes were in store. Many lines were converted to bus operation through the late forties and fifties. Never mind that NCL was partially owned by bus, tire, and gasoline suppliers. Though Federal anti-trust action was taken against NCL, the damage was already done. Los Angeles was officially in love with the automobile. 
  111. ^ "Metropolitan Coach Lines". Metropolitan Coach Lines was incorporated in California on May 18, 1953; Haugh capitalized it at $8.5 million, $7.2 million of which was to cover the purchase price of the Pacific Electric assets and the remainder was for organizational expenses and working capital. The sale was completed on October 1, 1953, with PE’s entire passenger operating rights and all facilities and property related to the bus lines being turned over to Metro. These included the Pasadena, Ocean Park and West Hollywood garages, Macy Street shops, servicing and storage locations at Van Nuys, Sunland, Long Beach (Morgan Avenue) and Echo Park Avenue, stations at Pomona, Riverside and Whittier, and 695 buses. 
  112. ^ Martin V. Melosi, "The Automobile Shapes The City" at site, "Automobile in American Life and Society." ca. 2004-2010


Further reading

  • Adler, Sy (1991). The Transformation of the Pacific Electric Railway: Bradford Snell, Roger Rabbit, and the Politics of Transportation in Los Angeles 27 (1). Urban Affairs Quarterly. 
  • Bottles, Scott L (1987). Los Angeles and the Automobile. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05795-3. 
  • Black, Edwin (2006). "10". Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives. St. Martins Press. 
  • Fischel, W.A (2004). An Economic History of Zoning and a Cure for its Exclusionary Effects. Urban Studies 41 (2). pp. 317–40. 
  • Goddard, Stephen B. (1994). Getting There: The Epic Struggle between Road and Rail in the American Century. Basic Books. 
  • Hanson, S. and Giuliano, G. editors (2004). The Geography of Urban Transportation, Third Edition. The Guilford Press. ISBN 1-59385-055-7. 
  • Fellmeth Robert (1973). Politics of land: Ralph Nader's study group report on land use in California. Grossman Publishers. pp. 410–414, 488. ISBN 0-670-56326-9. 
  • Hilton, George W; Due, John F (1960). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4014-3. 
  • Hilton, George W. What Did We Give Up With the Big Red Cars?. 
  • Jaffe, Eric. "Be Careful How You Refer to the So-Called 'Great American Streetcar Scandal'". 
  • Kwitny, Jonathan (1981). The Great Transportation Conspiracy: a juggernaut named desire. Harper's. pp. 14–15, 18, 20, 21. 
  • Kunstler, James Howard (1994). The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. Free Press. ISBN 0-671-88825-0. 
  • Lewis, John E. The Mammoth Book of Conspiracies. Constable & Robinson Ltd. pp. 152–62. 
  • Norton, Peter D. (2008). Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-14100-0. 
  • Thompson, Gregory Lee (1993). The Passenger Train in the Motor Age: California's Rail and Bus Industries, 1910–1941. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH. ISBN 0-8142-0609-3. 

External links