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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library and Archives
    Title: Metropolitan Coach Lines Records
    Creator: Metropolitan Coach Lines
    Identifier/Call Number: 01-DPGTL
    Physical Description: 3.44 linear feet, 9 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1938-1958
    Date (bulk): 1950-1955
    Abstract: The Metropolitan Coach Lines (MCL) records reflect the acquisition of Pacific Electric Railway and Ashbury Rapid Transit System (ARTS) by Metropolitan Coach Lines, and MCL’s role in replacing rail transit with bus transit in 1950s Los Angeles. The collection contains records created by both MCL and ARTS. The contracts, correspondence, publications, photographs and other material contained in this collection reflect post-war Los Angeles' move away from a city and suburbs connected through rail lines, to a metropolis dominated by motor vehicles. The collection contains documentation of the sale of Pacific Electric Railway Company property to the MCL and contractual commitment to phasing out rail lines.
    Physical Location: LACMTA Research Library and Archive

    Biographical / Historical

    Metropolitan Coach Lines operated bus service in Los Angeles from 1955 to 1958 under the leadership of former Pacific Electric executive Jesse Haugh, with the goal of improving bus service and abandoning operation of rail transit. Pacific Electric sold its passenger rail cars and buses to Haugh on October 1, 1953, and MCL service began June 19, 1955. On August 3, 1954, MCL acquired Asbury Rapid Transit System, further expanding service.
    Asbury Rapid Transit System (ARTS) was one of many small, privately owned transit ventures that had been operating in Los Angeles since the turn of the twentieth century. These companies competed with and complimented rail passenger service provided by the Pacific Electric Railway Company (PE) and the Los Angeles Railway Company (LARy) by providing bus linkages between rail suburban and interurban routes. ARTS was formed by J.T. and F.H. Asbury through a series of mergers and acquisitions in the 1930s, and the company spent the 1940s trying to expand its service in the suburban regions of Los Angeles by targeting growing communities such as Torrance, Highland Park, and most notably the San Fernando Valley. ARTS took advantage of the wartime growth of the defense industry in the San Fernando Valley, transporting workers to the Lockheed and Vega airplane plants.
    ARTS continued in operation as a subsidiary of MCL until 1958, when the newly formed public agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) acquired both MCL and ARTS for 33 million dollars. With this sale came the end of MCL and of private ownership and operation of transportation in Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    MCL records were acquired by LAMTA when it purchased MCL in 1958. Through subsequent agency transformations and re-organizations, LAMTA became the Southern California Rapid Transit District, and eventually the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the records came into LACMTA's archives.

    Processing Information

    Original processing completed by Southern California Rapid Transit District library staff. Re-processed by Patrick A. Stawski in 2006. Kelly Minta combined the Metropolitan Coach Lines Records with the Asbury Rapid Transit System Records in 2012. Finding aids for the Metropolitan Coach Lines records and Asbury Rapid Transit System records merged by Denise Villegas in 2013.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Digitized copies of selected photographs available online. Advance notice required for physical access to collection. Contact LACMTA Research Library and Archive to make an appointment.

    Conditions Governing Use

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the LACMTA Research Library and Archive. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the LACMTA Research Library and Archive as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the LACMTA Research Library and Archive collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Metropolitan Coach Lines records, 01-DPGTL. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Research Library and Archive.


    Arranged in 8 series:
    1. Asbury Rapid Transit System Finance, 1938 - 1958
    2. Labor Contracts, 1940 - 1957
    3. Equipment and Facilities Contracts, 1940 - 1958
    4. Replacement of Rail with Motor Coaches, 1953 - 1958
    5. Service Information, 1953 - 1958
    6. Employee Magazines, 1954 - 1958
    7. Miscellaneous, 1955 - 1958
    8. Photographs, 1920 - 1958

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of a variety of material created between 1938 and 1958 including advertisements, timetables, business records such as correspondence, contracts, accounting, labor union agreements, and personnel records, photos, and company magazines documenting the operations of Metropolitan Coach Lines in Los Angeles, California. This material documents the acquisition of Asbury Rapid Transit System by Metropolitan Coach Lines and actions taken by MCL to replace rail service acquired from the Pacific Electric Railway Company with motor coach (bus) service.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Labor unions -- California -- Los Angeles County
    Local transit -- California -- Los Angeles County
    Brotherhood of Railway Clerks
    Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen (U.S.)
    Metropolitan Coach Lines
    Pacific Electric Railway Company