National City Lines
National City Lines, Inc. is a former public transportation holding company that operated in the United States between 1920 and 2007.
National City Lines was most famous for its involvement in the "General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy", in which a number of companies were held in court for monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to their company. National City Lines also had two subsidiary companies named American City Lines and Pacific City Lines. The three companies benefitted from investments from General Motors, Firestone Tire, and Standard Oil of California (through a subsidiary named Federal Engineering), Philips Petroleum and Mack Trucks. These investments gained control of transit agencies in approximately twenty-five cities. Very high profile systems included those in St. Louis Public Service Company of St. Louis, Baltimore Transit Company of Baltimore, Los Angeles Railway of Los Angeles and Key System Transit Lines of Oakland.
- 1920: Services began with a two-bus operation in Minnesota, transporting school children and miners.
- 1936: National City Lines organized into a holding company. This same year, purchases of thirteen agencies in Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma.
- 1937: National City Lines replaced streetcars in Butte, Montana and acquired agencies in Mississippi and Texas. Subsidiary Pacific City Lines created to purchase streetcar systems in the western United States.
- 1938: National City Lines began the task of purchasing transportation companies in cities where streetcar systems were no longer practical. Many of the agencies went through the process of switching to a bus-operated service. Some cities operated decrepit streetcar networks, however, some didn't. The Butte system had a reputable streetcar system, however, the power grid supplying power couldn't meet the streetcar system needs. This same year, exclusive arrangements were made with some of the other companies to allegedly monopolize the pathway to goods and equipment. An indictment for this scheme followed nine years later, in 1947.
- 1939: By this year, National City Lines continued acquiring agencies in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio. These purchases resulted in ownership or significant control in 29 local transportation companies in 27 different cities, in ten states.
- 1943: American City Lines organized to acquire local transportation systems in large metropolitan areas.
- 1946: American City Lines merges into National City Lines.
- 1947: Legal battles with National City Lines begin, with National City Lines indicted on two counts (conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines and conspiring to acquire control of a number of transit companies, forming a transit monopoly) in the Federal District Court of Southern California. The company owned or controlled 46 systems in 45 cities in 16 states.
- 1948: Subsidiary Pacific City Lines stops operating as a separate company.
- 1949: Legal battles arrived with the agencies contributing to National City Lines, with Standard Oil of California, Firestone and others. The legal course were upheld on appeal, in which these companies were fined $5000, and executives, $1 apiece.
- 1955: Subsidiary Montgomery City Lines boycott by African American passengers begins, after arresting of Rosa Parks, a woman that refused to move to the back of the bus as requested by a white passenger. The boycott for civil rights lasted just over a year and was followed by a Supreme Court ruling that allowed black passengers to choose whichever seat they choose.
- 1977: The last mass transit agency under control of National City Lines, El Paso City Lines, surrendered operation to Sun City Area Transit, the predecessor to today's Sun Metro system.
Agencies of National City Lines
|State||City||Agency||Year Acquired||Year Divested||Type of Involvement||Notes|
|AL||Mobile||Mobile City Lines||1939||1971|
|AL||Montgomery||Montgomery City Lines||1936||1974|
|CA||Burbank||Burbank City Lines?||1944||1946|
|CA||Eureka||Eureka City Lines||1939||1946|
|CA||Fresno||Fresno City Lines||1939||1946|
|CA||Glendale||Glendale City Lines||1940||1962||Ceded to Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1962, Southern California Rapid Transit District in 1963, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in 1993, and complimenting service on Glendale Beeline, from 1984.|
|CA||Los Angeles||Los Angeles Railway
" aka Yellow Cars"
|1945||1958||Partial control.||Note: Pacific Electric Railway (aka "Red Cars") not controlled by NCL.|
|CA||Oakland||Key System Transit Lines||1946||1960||Partial control.||
|CA||Sacramento||Sacramento City Lines||1943||1955|
|CA||Inglewood||Inglewood City Lines||1942||1946|
|CA||Long Beach||Long Beach City Lines||1946||1963||Ceded to Long Beach Transit, in 1963.|
|CA||San Jose||San Jose City Lines||1938
|CA||Pasadena||Pasadena City Lines||1940||1963|
|CA||Stockton||Stockton City Lines||1939||1963|
|FL||Jacksonville||Motor Transit Company||1943||1945|
|FL||Tampa||Tampa Transit Lines||1942||1971|
|IL||Aurora/Elgin||Aurora City Lines
||1940||1966||Continued from 1966-1968, however, with different owners.|
|IL||Bloomington||Bloomington-Normal City Lines||1936||1966|
|IL||Champaign||Champaign-Urbana City Lines||1936||1966||
|IL||Danville||Danville City Lines||1936||1964|
|IL||Decatur||Decatur City Lines||1936||1974|
|IL||East St Louis||East St. Louis City Lines||1936||1963||1963, National City Lines ceded service to public operator Bi-State Transit System.|
|IL||Galesburg||Galesburg City Lines||1934||1959|
|IL||Joliet||Joliet City Lines||1936||1970||Originally began services in 1934, however, with different owners.|
|IL||Kewanee||Kewanee City Lines||1936||1937|
|IL||La Salle/Peru||La Salle-Peru City Lines||1936||1937||Continued in 1937 as La Salle-Peru City Lines, however, with different ownership.|
|IL||Peoria||Peoria City Lines||1955||1964||Continued as Peoria City Lines until 1970, however with different ownership.|
|IL||Quincy||Quincy City Lines||1936||1966||Continued as Quincy City Lines in 1966, however, with different owners.|
|IL||Rock Island||Rock Island-Moline City Lines||1950||1970||Ceded to Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District in 1970.|
|IN||South Bend||Northern Indiana Transit||1956||1968|
|IN||Terre Haute||Terre Haute City Lines||1939||1955|
|IA||Burlington||Burlington City Lines||1941||1958|
|IA||Cedar Rapids||Cedar Rapids City Lines||1937||1966|
|IA||Davenport||Davenport City Lines||1950||1974|
|IA||Ottumwa||Ottumwa City Lines||1941||1951|
|IA||Sioux City||Sioux City Lines||1953||1967|
|MD||Baltimore||Baltimore Transit Company||1944||1972||Partial control.||Ceded control to MTA Maryland, beginning in 1970.|
|MI||Jackson||Jackson City Lines (MI)||1936||1964|
|MI||Kalamazoo||Kalamazoo City Lines||1936||1964|
|MI||Lansing||Lansing City Lines||1936||1939|
|MI||Pontiac||Pontiac City Lines||1936||1960|
|MI||Saginaw||Saginaw City Lines||1936||1962|
|MS||Jackson||Jackson City Lines (MS)||1939||1966|
|MO||St Louis||St. Louis Public Service Company||1940||1963||Partial control.|
|MT||Butte||Butte City Lines||1937||1946|
|MT||Great Falls||Great Falls City Lines||1938||1946|
|NE||Lincoln||Lincoln City Lines||1942||1971|
|OH||Canton||Canton City Lines||1940||1971|
|OH||Portsmouth||Portsmouth City Lines||1939||1959|
|OK||Tulsa||Tulsa City Lines||1936||1957|
|PA||Philadelphia||Philadelphia Transportation Company||1955||1966||Partial control.|
|TX||Beaumont||Beaumont City Lines||1937||1972||To Beaumont Transit System in 1972.|
|TX||El Paso||El Paso City Lines||1943||1977||To Sun City Area Transit in 1977, then to Sun Metro in 1987.|
|TX||Houston||Rapid Transit Lines||1966||1974|
|TX||Port Arthur||Port Arthur City Lines||1937||1950||To Port Arthur Transit Corporation in 1950.|
|TX||Wichita Falls||Wichita City Lines||1950||1971||To Wichita Falls Transit System in 1971, then Falls Ride in 2008.|
|UT||Salt Lake City||Salt Lake City Lines||1944||1968|
|WA||Bellingham||Bellingham City Lines||1938||1946||Ceded to Bellingham City Lines, Inc., however, a different owner.|
|WA||Everett||Everett City Lines||1939||1946||Ceded in 1946 to Everett City Lines, Inc., however, a different owner.|
|WA||Spokane||Spokane City Lines||1945||1968||Ceded to City of Spokane (via lease in 1968)|
|WI||Oshkosh||Oshkosh City Lines||1933||1962||Ceded to City Transit Lines in 1962 until 1978, then Oshkosh Transit System in 1978.|
This list is incomplete.
This list compiles groups of bus purchases of National City Lines between 1939 and 1971. Although most buses were purchased from Yellow Coach and General Motors, a limited number of buses were also purchased from Mack Trucks, Fitzjohn, Ford Motor Company, ACF-Brill, Twin Coach and Aero. Its amalgamation among cities gives a glimpse of total bus purchases made, and reason behind possible gaps and abnormal differences between fleet numbers of individual agencies.
Additionally, buses were frequently moved between agencies and the agency listed was the first agency to receive the vehicle. When available, subsequent cities will be listed in the notes section.
This list is incomplete.
- Verdict for United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, United States v. National City Lines, 1951. located on Internet Archive
- Western Railway Museum's Key System cars running for high-capacity service: Highlights Key System rail car 187.