Los Angeles Public Transit in the 1930s: The All-Bus Proposal
David J. St. Clair

In 1945, National City Lines and its allies (General Motors, et. al.) purchased the Los Angeles Railway. The Los Angeles Railway was the mixed streetcar/bus system that was the core of the city’s public transit system in the 1930s. After the acquisition, National City Lines immediately undertook the wholesale elimination of electric streetcars in favor of buses supplied by General Motors. The reasons, motives, and the consequences of National City Line’s motorization are at the core of allegations that motorization was a conspiracy to disable public transit as a competitor to the automobile. This article focuses on a 1935 proposal to the City of Los Angeles to replace all streetcars with motor buses. The City of Los Angeles studied the all-bus proposal and rejected it. The reasons for the rejection in 1935 provide a unique and essential backdrop to the National City Lines motorization campaign a decade later.

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