DC Transit System

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The DC Transit System is a former privately-held public transportation provider to the city of Washington, in the District of Columbia (DC).

Services were preceded by the Capital Transit Company (1933-1956), and followed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) from 1973 to present.

History

In January 1955 the Capital Transit Company, then consisting of 750 buses and 450 streetcars,[40] sought permission for a fare increase, but was denied. So that spring, when employees asked for a raise, there was no money available and the company refused to increase pay. Frustrated, employees went on strike on July 1, 1955. The strike, only the third in D.C. history and the first since a three-day strike in 1945, lasted for seven weeks. Commuters were forced to hitch rides and walk in the brutal summer heat.

On July 18, 1956, after Wolfson dared the Senate to revoke his franchise claiming no other entrepreneur would take the company on, the Congress did just that. Months later, the franchise was sold to O. Roy Chalk, a New York financier who owned controlling interest in Trans Caribbean Airways, for $13.5 million.[40] The company's name was then changed to DC Transit System.

As part of the deal selling Capital Transit to O. Roy Chalk, he was required to replace the system with buses by 1963. Chalk fought the retirement of the streetcars but was unsuccessful, and the final abandonment of the streetcar system began on September 7, 1958, with the end of the North Capitol Street (Route 80) and Maryland (Route 82) lines. On January 3, 1960, the Glen Echo (Route 20), Friendship Heights (Route 30) & Georgia Avenue (Routes 70, 72, 74) streetcar lines were abandoned and the Southern Division (Maine Avenue) Car Barn was closed. This technically ended "trolley" cars in D.C. as only conduit operations remained. On December 3, 1961, the streetcar lines to Mount Pleasant (Routes 40, 42) and 11th Street (Route 60) were abandoned.

The remaining system, including lines to the Navy Yard, the Colorado Avenue terminal, and the Bureau of Engraving (Routes 50, 54) and to the Calvert Street Loop, Barney Circle, and Union Station (Routes 90, 92) was shut down in January 1962. Early on the morning of Sunday, January 28, 1962, preceded by cars 1101 and 1053, car 766 entered the Navy Yard Car Barn for the last time, and Washington's streetcars became history.

While Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) original compact provided only for rail service, by 1970 the need for reliable bus services to connect passengers to rail stations led to calls for authority to overhaul the entire bus system as well. The compact was amended in 1971, allowing the authority to operate buses and take over bus companies. After months of negotiation with Chalk failed to produce an agreed price, on January 14, 1973, WMATA condemned DC Transit and its sister company, the Washington, Virginia and Maryland Coach Company and acquired their assets for $38.2 million.

Car and bus lines

This list may be incomplete.

The final abandonment of the Washington streetcar system began on September 7, 1958, with the end of the North Capitol Street (Route 80) and Maryland (Route 82) lines.[5] On January 3, 1960, the Glen Echo (Route 20), Friendship Heights (Route 30) & Georgia Avenue (Routes 70, 72, 74) streetcar lines were abandoned and the Southern Division (Maine Avenue) Car Barn was closed. This technically ended "trolley" cars in D.C. as only conduit operations remained. On December 3, 1961, the streetcar lines to Mount Pleasant (Routes 40, 42) and 11th Street (Route 60) were abandoned.

The remaining system, including lines to the Navy Yard, the Colorado Avenue terminal, and the Bureau of Engraving (Routes 50, 54) and to the Calvert Street Loop, Barney Circle, and Union Station (Routes 90, 92) was shut down in January 1962. Early on the morning of Sunday, January 28, 1962, preceded by cars 1101 and 1053, car 766 entered the Navy Yard Car Barn for the last time, and Washington's streetcars became history.

Car lines

  • 10 Columbia Line
  • 20 Cabin John Line
  • 30 Pennsylvania Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue Line
  • 40 Mount Pleasant Line
  • 50 Fourteenth Street Line
  • 60 Eleventh Street, Upshur Street and New Hampshire Avenue Line
  • 70 Seventh Street and Georgia Avenue Line
  • 80 College Park and North Capitol Street Line
  • 90 U Street Line

Bus lines

Most bus lines utilized either a numeric or lettered line, followed by a lettered suffix for numeric lines (ex. 1A) or numbered suffix (ex. A1). Core parts of the route were defined by the primary letter or number, while different branches of the core line are followed by the secondary letter or number. This scheme began approximately 1936, and continues to today, though not as strict to the original scheme.

Buses in DC and MD

  • A West Anacostia, Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Maryland
  • B Bladensburg Road, Annapolis Road, Bowie
  • C Branch Avenue, Central Avenue, University Blvd, Maryland
  • D Northwest, Suitland
  • E Northwest, Northeast, Crosstown
  • F East-West Highway, New Carrollton
  • G Northwest, Brookland, Greenbelt
  • H Bladensburg Road, Branch Avenue, Brookland, Columbia Road
  • J Silver Spring, Forestville, District Heights
  • K Forestville, New Hampshire Avenue Maryland
  • L Connecticut Avenue
  • M Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
  • N Massachusetts Avenue, National Harbor
  • O Branch Avenue/Hillcrest Heights/Montgomery Suburban
  • P Anacostia, North Capitol Street, District Heights, Suitland, Oxon Hill
  • Q Veirs Mill Road, Maryland
  • R Riggs Road, Kenilworth Ave, Queens Chapel Road
  • S 16th Street NW
  • T Annapolis Road, Rhode Island Ave NE, River Road, Falls Road
  • U Minnesota Avenue
  • V Minnesota Avenue, Capitol Heights, Suitland, District Heights, Oxon Hill
  • W Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Oxon Hill, Indian Head
  • X H Street, Benning Road
  • Y Georgia Avenue, Maryland
  • Z US 29, Maryland

Buses in VA

  • 1 Arlington Blvd, Wilson Blvd
  • 2 Lee Hwy, Washington Blvd
  • 3 Annandale, Lee Hwy
  • 4 Arlington Blvd, Leesburg Pike
  • 5 Dulles Toll Rd, Reston
  • 6 Alexandria, Parkfairfax, South Fairlington
  • 7 Lincolnia, Shirlington
  • 8 Fairlington, Foxchase, Seminary Valley
  • 9 Alexandria, Crystal City, Huntington, Pentagon
  • 10 Alexandria, Ballston, Crystal City, Pentagon
  • 11 Alexandria, Mount Vernon
  • 12 Centreville, Little Rocky Run, Sully
  • 13 Arlington, Alexandria, Crystal City
  • 14 Arlington Ridge Road, Bucknell, Huntington
  • 15 Chain Bridge Road
  • 16 Columbia Pike
  • 17 King Park, Pentagon
  • 18 Burke, Orange Hunt, Springfield
  • 19 Lorton, Huntington
  • 20 Arlington Blvd/Lee Hwy, Chantilly, Fair Ridge, Fairfax
  • 21 Crystal City, Shirlington, Landmark, Pentagon
  • 22 Ballston, Fairlington, Pentagon, Shirlington
  • 23 Crystal City, Mclean, Shirlington
  • 24 Mclean, Ballston, Chain Bridge Road
  • 25 Ballston, Landmark,Pentagon, Shirlington
  • 26 Annandale, Culmore
  • 27 Hayfield Farms, Franconia, Saratoga
  • 28 Falls Church, Leesburg Pike, Skyline City, Pentagon
  • 29 Annandale, Little River Turnpike, Pentagon
  • 38 Ballston, Farragut Square, Georgetown

Roster

Bus

Fleet Number(s) Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Engine Transmission Notes
20-24 1962 GMC SDM-5301
25-34 1964 GMC SDM-5302
35-54 1965 GMC SDM-5302
1800-1809 1963 MB-701
1810-1813 1964 MB-701
1814-1815 1966 Minibus MB-701
3100-3156 1953 GMC TGH-3102 Ex-Capital Transit Company (DC) 3100-3156.
3160-3176 1958 GMC TGH-3102
4300-4317 1951 GMC TDH-4509 Ex-Steinway Transit Corporation 331-335, 337-338, 340-350; bought in 1961.
4318-4324 1951 GMC TDH-4509 Ex-Queens Transit Corporation 704-710; bought in 1961.
4700-4719 1942 Yellow Coach TD-4505 Ex-Capital Transit Company (DC) 4700-4719.
4700-4799 1960 GMC TDH-4517
4900-4915 1958 GMC TDH-4512
4920-4944 1959 GMC TDH-4517
5020-5032 1952 GMC TDH-5104 Ex-Queens Transit Corporation 801-813; bought in 1961.
5325-5374 1956 GMC TDH-5105 Ex-Houston Transit Company 1201-1250; bought in 1961.
5400-5549 1953 White Motor Company 1150-DW Cummins HBI-600 Spicer 918
5600-5666 1958 GMC TDH-5105
5700-5774 1959 GMC TDH-5301
5800-5874, 5900-5974 1962 GMC TDH-5302
6300-6381 1963 GMC TDH-5304
6400-6499 1964 GMC TDH-5304
6500-6579 1965 GMC TDH-5304
6600-6699 1966 GMC TDH-5304
6700-6724 1967 GMC TDH-5304
6800-6884 1968-69 Flxible 111CD-D5-1

Streetcar

This list is incomplete.

[1]

Streetcar service ended January 28, 1962.

Summary of types:


Fleet number(s) Thumbnail Year Manufacturer Model Ends Motors Trucks Notes
1101-1122 Aug 1937 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1123-1145 Sep 1937 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1146-1175 Sep 1938 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1176-1195 Sep 1938 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1196-1213 Aug 1939 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1214-1233 Aug 1939 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1234-1250 Sep 1940 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1251-1267 Sep 1940 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1268-1284 Mar 1941 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1285-1302 Apr 1941 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1303-1317 Oct 1941 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1198 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1318-1332 Oct 1941 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1333-1366 Sep 1942 St. Louis PCC SE GE-? Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1367-1399 Nov 1942 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1400-1431 Aug 1944 St. Louis PCC SE GE-? Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1432-1464 Oct 1944 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1465-1486 Jul 1945 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1487 Jun 1945 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1488-1501 Jul 1945 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1502-1539 Nov 1943 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1220 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1540-1564 Feb 1946 St. Louis PCC SE GE-1220 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.
1565-1589 Jan 1946 St. Louis PCC SE WH-1432 Clark B-2 Order number unknown.

Disposition summary

See fleet list for links to disposition of individual cars.

  • Fleet number 1001 donated to National Capital Historical Museum of Transportation, in February, 1962. Now resides at National Capital Trolley Museum since 1970.
  • Fleet numbers 1118, 1356 scrapped in late November/December 1957.
  • Fleet numbers 1124, 1266, 1270, 1299, 1352, 1402, 1419 scrapped in March, 1960.
  • Fleet number 1304 sold to General Electric Company (GE) for use in automation experiment in May, 1961.
  • Fleet numbers 1360, 1389, 1411, 1439 sold to Berg Brothers (Washington, DC) for scrap in February, 1959.
  • Fleet number 1392 donated to Blue Plains Hospital in August, 1960.
  • Fleet number 1513 donated to D.C. Highway Department for utilization at waiting station in South Capitol Parking Lot.
  • Fleet number 1538 cannibalized of many major parts in 1961 for Silver Sightseer.
  • Fleet number 1542 burned and scrapped in November, 1954.
  • Five cars sold to Leonard's Department Store, later Tandy Center Subway (Fort Worth, TX) in May, 1962 (#'s 1506, 1535, 1541, 1551, 1560).
  • Fifty cars sold to Gradsko Saobracatno Preduzege in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia between 1960-1962.
  • Twenty-two cars sold to Tranvias de Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain in 1962.
  • Eighty-two cars sold to Continental Metal Company (Washington, DC) for scrap in March, 1962.

References

  1. Harold E. Cox (1963), PCC Cars of North America, pgs 13, 15-16, 18