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Asbury Rapid Transit System

…and that’s the way things were.

“…and that’s the way things were.
by Jerry Squier

The Early Days in L. A. compared to the heyday of the Southern California Rapid Transit District in the late 1970’s, the transit system in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area was much more fragmented and from a bus fan’s perspective, much more interesting in the late 1950’s. I was brought-up in a ‘transportation family.’ My father had always worked in the business in one capacity or another, but in his last ten years (1943-1953) he was a conductor on the Pacific Electric’s “Red Cars.” I used to go riding with him on weekends, and that is how I got ‘hooked’ on the business. In this process I became familiar with the PE system as well as that of Los Angeles Transit Lines. In 1950 I got my first ‘system pass’ which was granted to employees and their dependents, and I could ride anywhere on the system free. This expanded my horizons to include PE’s bus lines and, in the process of exploring them, I became aware of all of those other operators in PE’s four-county service area. I started taking photographs as a result of having received a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera for Christmas in 1954. In those early days, I photographed mostly streetcars, but I also took a few bus shots. Then in December 1957 I purchased my first slide camera using funds from a Christmas job at the post office. This is when I really got started in bus photography as a main interest.

It could be said that 1957 was the time of the greatest diversity of bus operators in the Los Angeles area, as in 1958 the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority acquired and merged Metropolitan Coach Lines and Los Angeles Transit Lines and thus the consolidation of all of the private bus companies into a single system began, although it took over 15 years to complete. No sooner had this been accomplished, when parts of the system began to be taken over by other and new public agencies. … I will attempt to describe the L.A. transit system in 1957, as I recall it. General background information will be included as it is available…

Asbury Rapid Transit System (ARTS)
Formerly an independent operator, ARTS was acquired by MCL in 1954. Asbury’s primary service area was the eastern and northern San Fernando Valley, but it also had three lines originating in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles to Culver City, Burbank and Pasadena. The main line was the L.A.-Burbank-San Fernando Line (via San Fernando Rd, with a branch via Glenoaks Blvd.), but there were also local lines in Burbank, some of which extended to North Hollywood. There were also two lines from North Hollywood, one to Sunland and the other to San Fernando.

(Source: PBM Member newsletter, The Paddle January 1998)



Photos from the Jerry Graham collection

(Above) is Asbury Rapid Transit System #116, a Twin Coach 52-S2P built in 1951. It is seen here in downtown Los Angeles, CA circa 1952. These propane powered, 40 ft., 54 passenger Twins worked Asbury’s longer routes that ran from L.A. to Burbank and San Fernando. Like many transit companies, Asbury Rapid Transit saw its ridership steadily decline after WW II and was sold to Metropolitan Coach Lines in 1954. The big twins survived into the Metropolitan Coach Lines era and then were operated for several years by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) until they standardized on an all diesel fleet.

(Source: PBM Member newsletter, The Paddle July 1999)



Asbury Rapid Transit Twin 114 (Source: Scott Richards)

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