Buffalo Transit Company
Buffalo Transit Company Inc. (BTC) is a former suburban public transportation provider for the eastern and southern suburbs of Erie County, New York. Most service originated at Lafayette Square in Downtown Buffalo.
Founded by William H. Pennsyres in the year 1924 as the Buffalo and Akron Transit Company, the first route ran from Downtown Buffalo through to Cheektowaga, Clarence, ending in the Town of Akron, New York. A short two years later, in 1926, a second route was added, originating from Downtown Buffalo and reaching to Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster, Alden, Darien, Alexander, and ending in Attica. The service was previously operated by the International Bus Company (IBC), a subsidiary of the International Traction Company, the parent company also of the International Railway Company (a rival to the BTC). In 1927, the name of the company changed to the Buffalo Transit Company, Inc.
In 1930, service was added into the Village of Williamsville replacing service previously offered by the International Railway Company's inter-urban rail line. By this time, Buffalo Transit Company, Inc. serviced many of the townships east of Buffalo.
The BTC expanded further, expanding their presence south of the city, instead of north; first acquiring the Erie County Motor Coach Lines in 1931, adding service into Orchard Park, West Seneca, Gardenville and Ebenezer, and then in 1946, acquiring the Hamburg Bus Company, adding three lines; the Lakeshore/Camp route, the South Park route, and the Abbott Road Route. In addition to the Hamburg Bus Company, the single-line Red Bus Lines was added to their network, reaching further into the southern portion of Cheektowaga. The BTC never realized service into East Aurora, with Central Greyhound Lines of New York serving East Aurora on its Buffalo-Olean-Port Allegany line run, and Genesee Bus Lines, serving East Aurora on its Buffalo-Hornell or Buffalo-Wellsville line runs.
By that time, most BTC vehicles originated in Downtown Buffalo, at today's present-day Lafayette Square. Efforts were made to allow transfers between vehicles with little wait. Like the International Railway Company, the system operated on a hub and spoke system, resulting in many passengers transferring between BTC routes at Lafayette Square.
In 1943, Pennsyres sold the BTC to Jerry Campbell, a salesman for Yellow Coach, the bus manufacturing division for General Motors.
In 1961, the Niagara Frontier Transit System (NFTS) purchased the BTC for $1.1 million, and after three years, virtually all traces of the past company ceased to exist, with many NFTS routes in the City of Buffalo continuing past the city limits, well into the suburbs. 
Timeline of important events
- 1924: Company organized as Buffalo and Akron Transit Company by William H. Pennsyres. The first route operates between Buffalo and Akron via Cheektowaga and Clarence. Services to Williamsville along Main Street were provided as a replacement for streetcar/trolley service of the Buffalo and Williamsville Electric Railway.
- 1926: A second route is added between Buffalo and Attica, via Cheektowaga, Depew, Lancaster, Alden, Darien, and Alexander.
- 1927: Company name is changed, and is now known as Buffalo Transit Company.
- 1930: A additional route is added to Williamsville ("K"), taking over abandoned inter-urban service of the International Railway Company.
- 1931: Buffalo Transit Company begins focusing on points south of Buffalo, acquiring Erie County Motor Coach Lines, adding service into Orchard Park, West Seneca, Gardenville and Ebenezer.
- 1943: William H. Pennsyres sells Buffalo Transit Company to Jerry Campbell, a salesman for Yellow Coach.
- 1946: Buffalo Transit Company acquires the three lines of the Hamburg Bus Company, a line serving the lake shore and Camp Road, a line serving Hamburg via South Park, and a line serving Hamburg via Abbott Road. Additionally, the services of the previous Red Bus Lines (Buffalo, NY) added a line operating between Buffalo and William/Losson Road.
- 1961: Buffalo Transit Company is sold to Niagara Frontier Transit System, for $1.1 million.
- 1965: Buffalo Transit Company legacy routes were folded into Niagara Frontier Transit System route structure, with many routes becoming extensions of Niagara Frontier Transit System routes. With the exception of some Buffalo Transit Company coaches operating in Niagara Frontier Transit System livery, there are no longer signs of Buffalo Transit Company's existence.
Unlike the NFTS, the BTC used letters to distinguish between individual routes, while the Niagara Frontier Transit System and International Railway Company utilized numbers to designate routes. After the NFTS takeover in 1961, remnants of lettered routes, except in the case of a letter branch following a number were eliminated. In many cases, however, the original letter followed the route number used by the NFTS route in the city. For instance, some service into Alden and Lancaster became route "4B". Other variations may have existed and were dealt with different letters.
In addition, buses on BTC routes did not serve passengers whose trips operated wholly in the City of Buffalo. To accomplish this, drivers would only board passengers between Downtown Buffalo and city limits, and discharge only within the city limits while heading towards Downtown Buffalo.
|Route travelled or service area||Service began||Route replaced by
NFTS route in 1961
|A||Abbott Road||Downtown Buffalo, Ridge Road, Abbott Road to Hamburg||1946||Route 35||Lakeshore||Replaced service previously operated by Hamburg Bus Lines.|
|B||Lancaster-Alden||Downtown Buffalo, Broadway, Village of Lancaster, Broadway to Alden||1926||Route 4||Broadway|
|C||Camp Road||Downtown Buffalo, Hamburg Turnpike, Camp Road, to Hamburg||1946||Route 37||Lakeshore||Replaced service previously operated by Hamburg Bus Lines.|
|E||Electric Ave||Downtown Buffalo, Hamburg Turnpike, Ridge Road, South Park, Electric, Lake, South Park to Hamburg||1946||Route 36||Lakeshore||Replaced service previously operated by Hamburg Bus Lines.|
|F||Gardenville-Seneca||1931||Route 15||Broadway||Replaced service previously operated by Erie County Motor Coach Lines.|
|G||Genesee||Downtown Buffalo, Broadway, Bailey, Genesee to Airport and Wende Facilities||Routes 24||Broadway|
|J||Sloan||Downtown Buffalo, Broadway, Bailey, William, Harlem to Cayuga Creek||Route 4||Broadway|
|K||Kensington||Downtown Buffalo, Main Street, Kensington Avenue, Harlem, Cleveland, Beech, Maryvale, Cayuga to Wehrle||Route 13 (Suburban)||Williamsville|
|L||Cheektowaga-Depew||1946||Route 2||Broadway||Replaced previous service by Red Bus Lines.|
|M||Main-Williamsville||Downtown Buffalo, Main Street, to Transit Road||1924||Routes 8, 13||Williamsville|
|O||Orchard Park||1931||Route 15||Lakeshore||Replaced previous service by Erie County Motor Coach Lines.|
|R||Ridge Road||1946||Route 27||Lakeshore||Replaced service previously operated by Hamburg Bus Lines.|
|S||South Park-Scranton||1946||Route 37||Lakeshore||Replaced service previously operated by Hamburg Bus Lines.|
|W||William||Route 4||Broadway||Replaced service previously operated by Red Bus Lines.|
All time roster
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Transit and suburban bus
The Buffalo Transit Company, upon it's early beginnings, relied on a number of different bus manufacturers to provide its rolling stock. Many of the major manufacturers provided at least one vehicle to the BTC fleet.
Some of the earlier manufacturers names included Twin Coach, American Car and Foundry, Ford, Mack, Yellow Coach, and General Motors. By the mid 1940's, the Buffalo Transit Company began standardizing their fleet, and became an operation featuring almost exclusively General Motors buses. Of note, Buffalo Transit provided the Buffalo region with the first order of GMC New Look buses.
The buses were distributed between three depots; the Lakeshore Division, the Broadway Division, and the Williamsville Division.
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|DD 6-71||Spicer||Sold to Baltimore Transit Company in 1958, fleet numbers 1300-1309.|
|To Niagara Frontier Transit System, fleet numbers 600-629.|
|DD 6-71||Spicer||Sold to Baltimore Transit Company in 1958, fleet numbers 1310-1315.|
|DD 6-71||Allison VH||Sold to Memphis Transit Company, then to Memphis Area Transit Authority, fleet numbers 486-490.|
|DD 6-71||Allison VH||Possibly sold to Alexandria, Barcroft and Washington Transit Company. Note fleet numbers of 101-121 do not match number of buses purchased. Possibly other agency?|
|DD 6V71N||Allison VH||
|DD 6-71||Fleet numbers 356, 359, 351, 360, 363 to Waukegan-North Chicago Transit Company, new fleet numbers 71-75.|
|DD 6V71N||Allison VH||Ordered, but sent to Niagara Frontier Transit System 7400-7459.|
- International Railway Company: Competing bus line offering service in the City of Buffalo, and northern Erie and Niagara Counties.
- "A History of Public Transit in the Buffalo-Niagara Region. Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, 1999
- "Images of America-Buffalo's Historic Streetcars and Buses", D. David Bregger, 2008
- "Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo R.R. - 1908-1931", William R. Gordon, 1963
- "The Last Decade of Buffalo Trolleys", Harold J. Ahlstrom, 1973
- "90 Years of Buffalo Railways", William R. Gordon, 1970