General Motors streetcar conspiracy


General Motors streetcar conspiracy
Pacific Electric Railway streetcars stacked at a junkyard on Terminal Island, March 1956

The General Motors streetcar conspiracy (also known as the National City Lines conspiracy) refers to allegations and convictions in relation to a program by General Motors (GM) and a number of other companies to purchase and dismantle streetcars (trams/trolleys) and electric trains in many cities across the United States and replace them with bus services; a program which has been blamed by some for the virtual elimination of effective public transport in nearly all American cities by the 1970s. The lack of hard information about what occurred has led to intrigue, uncertainty, inaccuracy and conspiracy theories. The story has been explored many times in print, film and other media, notably in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Taken for a Ride and The End of Suburbia.

During the period from 1936 to 1950, National City Lines and Pacific City Lines were involved in the conversion of over 100 electric surface-traction systems into bus systems in 45 cities including Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles (mainly the "Yellow Cars"), New York City, Oakland and San Diego. In 1946, Edwin J. Quinby, a retired naval lieutenant commander alerted transportation officials across the country to what he called "a careful, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of your most important and valuable public utilities—your Electric Railway System". GM and other companies were subsequently convicted in 1949 of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products via a complex network of linked holding companies including National City Lines and Pacific City Lines. They were also indicted, but acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the ownership of these companies.

By the time of the 1973 oil crisis, controversial new testimony was presented to a United States Senate inquiry into the causes of the decline of transit car systems in the US. This alleged that there was a wider conspiracy—by GM in particular—to destroy effective public transport systems in order to increase sales of automobiles and that this was implemented with great effect to the detriment of many cities.

Only a few US cities have surviving effective rail-based urban transport systems based on tram, metro, or elevated train; notable survivors include New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. There is now general agreement that GM and other companies were indeed actively involved in a largely unpublicized program to purchase many streetcar systems and convert them to buses, which they often supplied. There is also acknowledgment that the Great Depression, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, labor unrest, market forces, rapidly increasing traffic congestion, taxation policies that favored private vehicle ownership, urban sprawl, and general enthusiasm for the automobile played a major or possibly more significant role. One author recently summed the situation up as follows: "Clearly, GM waged a war on electric traction. It was indeed an all out assault, but by no means the single reason for the failure of rapid transit. Also, it is just as clear that actions and inactions by government contributed significantly to the elimination of electric traction."[n 1]

The Toronto streetcar system in Canada received many of the streetcars that were sold or abandoned during the scandal.[citation needed]

Contents

History

Background

In the 19th century, city transit systems were rail-based, first with Horsecars and later cable railway or trams powered by electricity. Electrically powered Trolleybuses were also common.

At one time, nearly every city in the U.S. with population over 10,000 had at least one streetcar company and nearly all of which were privately owned and were later dismantled.[1] Bradford Snell estimates that in 1920 90% of all trips were by rail using 1,200 separate electric street and interurban railways with 44,000 miles of track, 300,000 employees, 15 billion annual passengers, and $1 billion in income.[n 2]

Early years

In 1922, the head of General Motors (GM), Alfred P. Sloan established a special unit within the corporation which was charged with the task of replacing America's electric railways with cars, trucks and buses.[n 3]

The Omnibus Corporation was formed in 1926 by John D. Hertz with "plans embracing the extension of motor coach operation to urban and rural communities in every part of the United States" and that "Mr. Hertz said that it was not the purpose of the corporation to enter into competition with street car companies or railroads, but to work with them for the rehabilitation of street car companies or parts of railroads in sections where the service was now inadequate."[2] This company owned the Chicago Motor Coach Company which Hertz had founded to operate buses in Chicago and the Fifth Avenue Coach Company in New York. The same year, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company acquired a majority of the stock in the struggling New York Railways Corporation. Hertz was made a board member of GM the next year when GM acquired a controlling share of the Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company, a very successful bus and coach manufacturer which Hertz had founded in 1923.

In 1932, GM formed a new subsidiary—United Cities Motor Transport (UCMT)—and looked around to gobble up transit companies to replace its equipment with GM buses. There were only a few smaller systems for sale so GM did indeed acquire them and substitute buses. With so little on the market, UCMT approached the city of Portland, Oregon, in 1933 to replace its streetcar system with buses. However, the voters in Portland said no and UCMT was censured by the American Transit Association for its obviously self-serving role. UCMT operations soon folded up.

Conversion

The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 caused great difficulties for the streetcar operators given that it made it illegal for a single business to both provide public transport and supply electricity to other parties. E. Quinby later asked "Who is behind this campaign to separate the obviously economical combination of electric railway and its power plant?". There is no evidence that the motor industry was influential in this regard.[n 4]

When the New York Railways Corporation converted streetcars to buses in 1935 and 1936, the new bus services were operated by the New York City Omnibus Corporation which shared management with The Omnibus Corporation.

In 1936, National City Lines, an existing bus operation which had been founded in 1920 by an E. Roy Fitzgerald and his brother[3] was re-organized into a holding company. In 1938, Pacific City Lines was formed to purchase streetcar systems in the western United States.[n 5]

National City Lines raised funds to purchase transportation systems in cities "where street cars were no longer practicable" and to replace them with bus transit systems. Investors consisted of Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California (now Chevron Corporation), Phillips Petroleum (now part of ConocoPhillips), General Motors, Mack Trucks (now a subsidiary of Volvo), and the Federal Engineering Corporation.[n 5]

In 1941, Pacific City Lines attempted a hostile takeover of the Key System which operated electric trains and streetcars in Oakland, California. Information about this only became public in 1955.[4] American City Lines was organized to acquire local transportation systems in the larger metropolitan areas in various parts of the country in 1943 and merged with National City Lines in 1946.[n 5]

As the 1940s progressed, the companies gained more power. National City Lines acquired the Los Angeles Railway (a.k.a. the "Yellow Cars") in 1945 and converted many lines to buses. By 1946, the company acquired 64% of the stock in the Key System which operated electric trains and streetcars in Oakland, California. Many of these conversions to busses resulted in public outcry.

That same year, Edwin J. Quinby, a recently retired naval lieutenant commander, published a 24-page expose on the owners of National City Lines. It was addressed to "The Mayors; The City Manager; The City Transit Engineer; The members of The Committee on Mass-Transportation and The Tax-Payers and The Riding Citizens of Your Community" and began, "This is an urgent warning to each and every one of you that there is a careful, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of your most important and valuable public utilities–your Electric Railway System".[n 6] Quinby had previously worked for the North Jersey Rapid Transit which operated in New York and had established up the Electric Rail Users Association in 1934 which lobbied on behalf of rail users and services.[5] He was later to write a history of North Jersey Rapid Transit.[6]

By 1947, the National City Lines owned or controlled 46 systems in 45 cities in 16 states.[n 7]

On April 9, 1947, nine corporations and seven individuals (constituting officers and directors of certain of the corporate defendants) were indicted in the Federal District Court of Southern California on counts of 'conspiring to acquire control of a number of transit companies, forming a transportation monopoly" and "Conspiring to monopolize sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines"[n 8] which had been made illegal by the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act.

The initial court case was in the Federal District Court of Southern California. In 1948, the venue was changed to the Federal District Court in Northern Illinois following an appeal to the United States Supreme Court (in United States v. National City Lines Inc.)[7] who felt that there was evidence of conspiracy to monopolize the supply of buses and supplies.[n 9]

The San Diego Electric Railway was sold to Western Transit Company, which was owned by a J. L. Haugh, Oakland, for an $5.5 million in 1948.[8] Jessie Haugh was also president of Key Systems which later purchased Pacific Electric Railway. The financial arrangements were not public at the time.[9] In the same year the Baltimore Streetcar system was purchased by National City Lines and started converting the system to buses.[10]

In 1949, Firestone Tire, Standard oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, General Motors and Mack Trucks were convicted of conspiring to monopolize the sale of buses and related products to local transit companies controlled by National City Lines and other companies; they were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the ownership of these companies. The verdicts were upheld on appeal in 1951.[n 9] General Motors was fined $5,000 and H.C. Grossman, who was treasurer of General Motors and played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had also served as a director of Pacific City Lines was fined $1 along with various other individuals.[n 10]

According to Bradford Snell, GM's own testimony had shown that by the mid-1950s, GM and its agents had canvassed more than 1,000 electric railways and had motorized 90 percent, more than 900 systems.[n 11] The struggling Pacific Electric Railway was purchased by Metropolitan Coach Lines in 1953. Jesse Haugh, who ran Metropolitan Coach Lines and was a former executive of Pacific City Lines had previously purchased San Diego Electric Railway though a separate company in 1948. The remaining streetcars converted to buses in the next two years.

The remains of the Pacific Electric Railway and of the Los Angeles Railway were taken into public ownership in 1958 after which streetcars continued to be replaced with buses.[11] Haugh sold the bus-based San Diego system to the city in 1966.[12]

1970s to present

In 1970, Robert Eldridge Hicks, a Harvard Law student working on the Ralph Nader Study Group Report on Land Use in California, reported that there was a wider conspiracy to dismantle the streetcars. These allegations were first reported publicly in Politics of Land: Ralph Nader's Study Group Report on Land Use in California at pp. 410–12, compiled by Robert C. Fellmeth, Center for Study of Responsive Law, and published in 1973 by Grossman Publishers.

In 1974, U.S. government attorney Bradford Snell gave testimony before a United States Senate inquiry into the causes of the decline of the transit car systems in the U.S. highlighting the National City Lines acquisitions as the primary cause.[n 12] Joseph Alioto, mayor of San Francisco, and also an antitrust attorney testified that "General Motors and the automobile industry generally exhibit a kind of monopoly evil", also that GM "has carried on a deliberate concerted action with the oil companies and tire companies...for the purpose of destroying a vital form of competition; namely, electric rapid transit." Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles testified, saying that GM, through its subsidiaries, had "scrapped" the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles streetcar systems leaving the electric train system "totally destroyed".[n 13]

General Motors published a rebuttal the same year titled 'The Truth About American Ground Transport'[13] The role of General Motors and the motor bus in the decline of mass transit was further explored in the doctoral thesis of David Lipson in 1987.[14]

In the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the scandal is masked and set in Los Angeles.[n 14] Script-writers Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman explained: "the Red Car plot, suburb expansion, urban and political corruption really did happen," Price stated. "In Los Angeles, during the 1940s, car and tire companies teamed up against the Pacific Electric Railway system and bought them out of business. Where the freeway runs in Los Angeles is where the Red Car used to be."[15]

In recent decades, many cities have started constructing new streetcar systems, light rail, and other public transport systems. However, most US cities still have high levels of automobile dependency with limited or non-existent levels of public transport, which are normally bus-based and are of limited frequency and quality and typically only used by those with no other options. Commuter rail has been effectively eliminated in many parts of the USA. Regional rail is limited and the only national passenger rail service has been operated by the government-subsidized Amtrak since 1971.

Other contributing factors

A number of analyses have suggested that the eventual replacement of electric-powered street cars with buses was inevitable and indeed occurred within the same time-frame in many other places where National City Lines did not have an involvement.[n 15] It has been estimated that nationwide, the ultimate reach of the alleged conspirators extended to only about 10 percent of all transit systems—sixty-odd out of some six hundred—and yet nearly every other US city also got rid of street cars (as happened with many of the tramcar systems in the British Isles and France)."[16]

Other significant factors included:

  • Difficult labor relations, and tight regulation of fares, routes, and schedules took their toll on city streetcar systems in the first third of the 20th century. By 1916, street railroads nationwide were wearing out their equipment faster than they were replacing it. While operating expenses were generally recovered, money for long-term investment was generally diverted elsewhere.[17]
  • The Dual Contracts signed by operators in New York greatly restricted their ability to increase fares at a time of high inflation, however these contracts also allowed the city to "recapture" the lines and operate them.
  • The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, an antitrust law, prohibited regulated electric utilities from operating unregulated businesses, which included most streetcar lines. The act also placed restrictions on services operating across state lines. Many holding companies operated both streetcars and electric utilities across several states; those that owned both types of businesses were forced to sell one.[18][19] Declining streetcar business was often far less valuable than the growing consumer electric business, and many streetcar systems were put up for sale.[20] The newly independent lines, no longer associated with an electric utility holding company, had to purchase electricity at full price from their former parents, further shaving their already thin margins.[21]
  • The Great Depression left many streetcar systems short of funds for maintenance and capital improvements.
  • The US Government responded to the Great Depression with huge public investment in (or subsidy of, depending on your viewpoint) the Interstate Highway System (See: Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921, Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and Highway Trust Fund). The American Highway Users Alliance, formed in 1932 by General Motors has supported and encouraged this policy ever since.
  • Streetcar lines were built using funds from private investors and were required to pay numerous taxes as well as dividends. By contrast, the new motorists were able to use roads which were constructed and maintained by the government from tax income. In addition parking facilities were generally available without charge at most retail, leisure and employment destinations with the costs being paid by all users including non-motorists.
  • Federal Fuel taxes, which were introduced in 1956, were paid into a new Highway Trust Fund which could only fund highway construction until 1983 when some 10% was diverted into a new 'Mass Transit Account'.
  • Streetcar operators were sometimes required to fund reinstatement of lines following the construction of the freeways system (see Transportation in metropolitan Detroit).[22]
  • Urban sprawl, white flight and suburbanization created land-use patterns which could not be easily served by streetcars, or indeed by any public transport.
  • Every first time purchaser of an automobile deprived the streetcars operator of income whilst simultaneously created additional traffic congestion which often reduced service speeds and thereby increased their operational costs and making the services less attractive to the remaining users.
  • The streetcar systems were either privately held companies or public companies and were often available for purchase particularly at a time of economic difficulty when the thriving automobile sector had money to invest with obvious benefits to their shareholders.
  • Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank funded by the oil industry, has suggested that streetcars were naturally replaced by the private automobile and the bus following the development of reliable internal combustion engines.[1]

Myths and mysteries

The facts around what actually happened have only come out slowly. Businesses were registered in different states; some, such as National City Lines were incorporated in Delaware, which does not require disclosure of any public information about directors or shareholders. It is clear that the parties involved did not want to be traced. It is inevitable that myths have built up and that there are still mysteries.

Myths
  • According to Snell's testimony the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad line in New York was profitable until it was acquired and converted to diesel trains.[n 16] In reality the line had been in financial difficulty for years and had filed for bankruptcy in 1935.[23] The company had also been indicted for "conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce by acquiring the control of practically all the transportation facilities of New England" in 1914.[24]
  • "GM killed the New York street cars".[n 16] In reality the New York Railways Company had entered receivership in 1919,[25] 6 years before it was bought by the New York Railways Corporation with funding from GM and others.
  • "GM Killed the Red cars in Los Angeles".[n 16] In reality Pacific Electric Railway (who operated the 'red cars') had been hemorrhaging routes as traffic congestion got much worse with growing prosperity and car ownership levels after the end of WW2 long before GM got involved in 1953[n 17] (There is however a more compelling case in relation to the Los Angeles Railway 'Yellow Cars'.)
  • The Salt Lake city system is mentioned in the 1949 court papers. However, according to one source the city's system was only purchased by National City Lines' in 1944 at a time where all by one route had already been withdrawn and the withdrawal of this last that line had been approved three years earlier.[26] (See Utah Transit Authority)

Relevant actors

The businesses and people in this section have all been referenced by one other external sources in relation to the 'streetcar scandal'.

Holding companies for transport operators
  • National City Lines (1920-?) Main holding company for public transport operators
  • The Omnibus Corporation (1925–1954) Started by John D. Hertz, who was a director of GM[27] Also known as the 'Omnibus Corporation of America'
  • New York City Omnibus Corporation (1926–1962) Shared management with The Omnibus Corporation[n 18] Later known as 'Fifth Avenue Coach Lines'
  • United Cities Motor Transport (1932?-1934?) Was 'censored by the American Transit Association for its obviously self-serving role'.[n 19]
  • Pacific City Lines (1937–1948) Merged into National City Lines in 1948[28]
  • American City Lines (1943–1946) Merged with National City Lines 1946.[28]
Personnel
Manufacturing companies

In addition to the six business indicted in 1947:

  • Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company Manufacturer of Taxicabs and parent company of 'Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company'.
  • Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company Major manufacturer of Buses Coaches, acquired by General Motors
Finance organisations
  • General Motors Acceptance Corporation There were allegations that the organization encouraged conversion to buses by offering the operator's banks deposits in return for conversion to buses.[n 22]
Training
  • General Motors Institute Training city planners with alleged bias towards buses.[n 23]
Advocacy groups
Affected transit lines

See also

  • Brooklyn–Manhattan Transit Corporation (A corporation that was "recaptured" by the city using the Dual Contracts provisions)
  • Chicago Motor Coach Company A bus transit company established by John Hertz in Chicago in 1917
  • Dual Contracts Contracts between New York City and subway operators which restricted fares, enforced share profits and allowed the city to 'recapture' and operate lines
  • Transportation in metropolitan Detroit (Details of a system that was already in public ownership)
  • Toronto streetcar system, which received much of the rolling stock from affected systems
  • List of streetcar systems in the United States
  • List of trolleybus systems in the United States

Notes

See 'References' section below for source documents relating to these notes and for further references
  1. ^ Guy Span (2003b)
  2. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) 90 percent of all trips were by rail, chiefly electric rail; only one in 10 Americans owned an automobile. There were 1,200 separate electric street and interurban railways, a thriving and profitable industry with 44,000 miles of track, 300,000 employees, 15 billion annual passengers, and $1 billion in income. Virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system.
  3. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995).
  4. ^ Guy Span (2003b). No one sought an answer to Quinby’s most penetrating question (referring to the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act), "Who Is Behind This Campaign To Separate The Obviously Economical Combination Of Electric Railway And Its Power Plant?"
  5. ^ a b c United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 8 Pacific City Lines was organized for the purpose of acquiring local transit companies on the Pacific Coast and commenced doing business in January 1938.
  6. ^ Guy Span (2003b)
  7. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 6 "At the time the indictment was returned, the City Lines defendants had expanded their ownership or control to 46 transportation systems located in 45 cities across 16 states."
  8. ^ United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951), para 1, "On April 9, 1947, nine corporations and seven individuals, constituting officers and directors of certain of the corporate defendants, were indicted on two counts, the second of which charged them with conspiring to monopolize certain portions of interstate commerce, in violation of Section 2 of the Anti-trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 2."
  9. ^ a b United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1951) "We think the evidence is clear that when any one of these suppliers was approached, its attitude was that it would be interested in helping finance City Lines, provided it should receive a contract for the exclusive use of its products in all of the operating companies of the City Lines, so far as busses and tires were concerned, and, as to the oil companies, in the territory served by the respective petroleum companies. It may be of little importance, but it seems to be the fact, at least we think the jury was justified in inferring it to be the fact, that the proposal for financing came from City Lines but that proposal of exclusive contracts came from the suppliers. At any rate, it is clear that eventually each supplier entered into a written contract of long duration whereby City Lines, in consideration of suppliers' help in financing City Lines, agreed that all of their operating subsidiaries should use only the suppliers' products."
  10. ^ Snell, Bradford C. (1974) p. 103 The court imposed a sanction of $5,000 on GM. In addition, the jury convicted H.C. Grossman, who was then treasurer of GM. Grossman had played a key role in the motorization campaigns and had served as a director of Pacific City Lines when that company undertook the dismantlement of the $100 million Pacific Electric system. The court fined Grossman the magnanimous sum of $1
  11. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) GM admitted in court documents that by the mid-1950s, its agents had canvassed more than 1,000 electric railways and that, of these, they had motorized 90 percent, more than 900 systems.
  12. ^ Snell, Bradford C. (1974) it demonstrates General Motors to be a sovereign economic state, whose common control of auto, truck, bus and locomotive production was a major factor in the displacement of rail and bus transportation by cars and trucks
  13. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997), Mayor Alioto, himself a nationally prominent antitrust attorney, congratulated Snell on the "excellence" of his "very fine monograph." Alioto testified that, "General Motors and the automobile industry generally exhibit a kind of monopoly evil" and that GM "has carried on a deliberate concerted action with the oil companies and tire companies...for the purpose of destroying a vital form of cotric rapid transit. ... Mayor Bradley also testified, in absentia, saying that General Motors, through its American City Lines and Pacific City Lines affiliates, "scrapped" the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles streetcar systems to "motorize" Los Angeles. After GM was through, the "electric train system was totally destroyed."
  14. ^ Bianco, Martha (1988)
  15. ^ Slater, Cliff (1997), The issue is whether or not the buses that replaced the electric streetcars were economically superior. Without GM's interference would the United States today have a viable streetcar system? This article makes the case that, GM or not, under a less onerous regulatory environment, buses would have replaced streetcars even earlier than they actually did.
  16. ^ a b c Snell, Bradford (1995) Members of GM's special unit went to, among others, the Southern Pacific, owner of Los Angeles' Pacific Electric, the world's largest interurban, with 1,500 miles of track, reaching 75 miles from San Bernardino, north to San Fernando, and south to Santa Ana; the New York Central, owner of the New York State Railways, 600 miles of street railways and interurban lines in upstate New York; and the New Haven, owner of 1,500 miles of trolley lines in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In each case, by threatening to divert lucrative automobile freight to rival carriers, they persuaded the railroad (according to GM's own files) to convert its electric street cars to motor buses -- slow, cramped, foul-smelling vehicles whose inferior performance invariable led riders to purchase automobiles.
  17. ^ Guy Span (2003a) Snell’s report can also be misleading (apparently intentionally so). Snell says, "In 1940, GM, Standard Oil and Firestone assumed an active control in Pacific (City Lines)… That year, PCL began to acquire and scrap portions of the $100 million Pacific Electric System (of Roger Rabbit fame)." This statement implies that PCL was getting control of Pacific Electric, when in reality, all they did was acquire the local streetcar systems of Pacific Electric in Glendale and Pasadena and then convert them to buses. Many superficial readers jump on this statement as proof that GM moved in the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric. The ugly little fact is that PCL never acquired Pacific Electric (it was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad until 1953).
  18. ^ Guy Span (2003a)
  19. ^ Guy Span (2003b), GM (significantly) formed a new subsidiary, United Cities Motor Transport (UCMT) and looked around to gobble up transit companies to replace its equipment with GM buses.
  20. ^ Guy Span (2003a) The real villain of this piece was a Tammany Hall hack mayor, John F. Hylan, supported by the Hearst Papers. William Randolph Hearst had been supporting a populist campaign against the so-called "Traction Trusts" for years and his crony was probably just following orders.
  21. ^ Guy Span (2003b) So let’s not forget the words of Charlie Wilson when asked if there were a conflict with his former employer (GM) on his possible appointment to Secretary of Defense in 1953. He replied, "I cannot conceive of one because for years, I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.
  22. ^ Guy Span (2003b) According to Freedom of Information Act (F.O.I.A.) documents, the transit system’s bank would get a visit from GM promising deposits if the bank would lean on the transit company to not buy more streetcars. Converting to bus was easy, with the local banks assistance and, of course, easy financing from GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation).
  23. ^ Guy Span (2003b) City planning was a relatively new field in the 1930s and few accredited institutions taught the subject. However, one such accredited institution did and it was GMI (General Motors Institution which took over the Flint Institute of Technology in 1926). And you can imagine what the fledgling city planners learned: traffic engineering (buses are good; railways are bad).
  24. ^ Guy Span (2003b) Outstanding systems like the Chicago North Shore Line (which operated from the northern suburbs into Chicago on the elevated loop until 1962) were allowed to go bankrupt and be scrapped
  25. ^ Snell, Bradford (1995) Indeed, in San Francisco and Seattle, it arranged for one of its former regional bus managers, the ex-president of its United Cities subsidiary, to become manager and transit czar. In northern New Jersey, Atlanta, Kansas City, Denver, Dallas, and Houston, it relied on banking connections to facilitate abandonment; in Chicago and Milwaukee, it relied on Greyhound, Omnibus, City Coach, and National; in Portland, on United Cities, Pacific Cities and Manning Transportation; in Miami, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, and Pittsburgh, on freelance agents and former GM and National officials; in New Orleans and Indianapolis, on gifts to high-placed executives; in Minneapolis, on unprincipled gangsters.

References

Documents referenced from 'Notes' section
Other references
  1. ^ a b Randal O'Toole. "A Desire Named Streetcar: How Federal Subsidies Encourage Wasteful Local Transit Systems". the CATO Institute. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5345. 
  2. ^ "Gas-Electric Motorbus Co., Roland Gas-Electric Vehicle Co., New York Motor Bus Co., National Motor Bus Corp..". http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/a/american_motor_bus/american_motor_bus.htm. "The July, 1924 issue of The Motorman and Conductor contained an article from the July 16, New York Times: “Chicago - July 15 – Plans embracing the extension of motor coach operation to urban and rural communities in every part of the United States are being made by the Omnibus Corporation of America, according to a statement made today by John Hertz, chairman of the board of directors. The corporation is a consolidation of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company of New York and the Chicago Motor Coach company. “Mr. Hertz said that it was not the purpose of the corporation to enter into competition with street car companies or railroads, but to work with them for the rehabilitation of street car companies or parts of railroads in sections were the service was now inadequate.”" 
  3. ^ Louis Guilbault. "The Conspiracy Revisited Rebutted". http://www.erha.org/plot2.htm. 
  4. ^ "General Motors' Destruction of California Transit Systems". http://www.moderntransit.org/ctc/ctc06.html. ""Pacific City Lines was headquartered in Oakland and specialized in acquiring smaller transit systems and converting them from rail to bus. The Key System was among its largest targets at the time [January, 1941], and [Key System president] Lundberg moved quickly to avert a takeover." This 1941 takeover attempt was only made publicly known at a PUC hearing in 1955, because the request by the Key System (GM-controlled) attorney to delete it from the public record was denied." 
  5. ^ Suburbanizing the masses: public transport and urban development in historical perspective. Ashgate Publishing Ltd. p. 192. ISBN 9780754607755. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=P4TrXitjuU8C&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=Edwin+J.+Quinby+commander#v=onepage&q=Edwin%20J.%20Quinby%20commander&f=false. Retrieved 2011-04-08. 
  6. ^ "Interurban interlude: A history of the North Jersey Rapid Transit Company". http://www.getcited.net/pub/101282454. 
  7. ^ "United States v. National City Lines , 334 U.S. 573 (1948)". FindLaw. 1948. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/334/573.html. 
  8. ^ a b "Transit in San Diego: ASCE Anniversary Project". http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/2002-1/holle.htm. "Jesse Haugh's Western Transit Company bought SDERy for $5.5 million, July 26, 1948." 
  9. ^ "General Motors' Destruction of California Transit Systems". http://www.moderntransit.org/ctc/ctc06.html. ""the selling of the San Diego streetcar system in 1948 (when GM was under indictment), with 104 streetcars, was "to J. L. Haugh, Oakland, for an undisclosed amount" [Moody's Public Utilities Manuals]. Who is this person? The Key System president installed by GM! Previous to that, he was an executive at Pacific City Lines... That's not all for J. L. Haugh. In 1953, Jesse L. Haugh "acquired" the Pacific Electric." 
  10. ^ "A Brief History of Baltimore Streetcars". http://www.nscalelimited.com/2009/11/17/baltimore-streetcar-museum/. "In 1949, the National City Lines holding company gained control of BTCO. The NCL has long been accused of being a major player in the so-called “General Motors streetcar controversy”, in which front organizations for bus manufactures, tire companies and oil suppliers acquired and dismantled streetcar systems in order to replace them with buses. Soon after the NCL takeover, BTCO began to replace streetcar and trolleybus lines with conventional busses. The 1950′s saw decline of the once extensive system, as NCL cut back on service and car maintenance." 
  11. ^ "Book Review: Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars". http://www.railroad.net/articles/columns/reviews/larailway/index.php. "By the end of World War II, the Huntington estate sold its majority interest to Chicago-based National City Lines. LARY became the Los Angeles Transit Lines, and bigger changes were in store. Many lines were converted to bus operation through the late forties and fifties. Never mind that NCL was partially owned by bus (GM), tire (Firestone), and gasoline (Standard Oil) suppliers. Though Federal anti-trust action was taken against NCL, the damage was already done. Los Angeles was officially in love with the automobile." 
  12. ^ "Transit in San Diego: ASCE Anniversary Project". http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/2002-1/holle.htm. "By 1963 Haugh said he'd be out of business within two years if things didn't improve, and suggested a public takeover of the transit system. The City Council of San Diego presented a ballot proposition that provided for city ownership of San Diego Transit. Upon voter approval in 1966, the city paid Haugh $2 million for the bus company" 
  13. ^ "GM and the Nazis--Part Four: How Will History Remember General Motors’ Collaboration with the Nazis?". http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=113&pageid=22&pagename=Investigation. "But following the release of the Snell report, the automaker then created its own 88-page rebuttal report titled, “The Truth About American Ground Transport,”" 
  14. ^ Lipson, David (1987). General Motors, National City Lines and the motor bus : the motor bus' role in the decline of mass transit in the United States. Harvard University: Doctoral Thesis. 
  15. ^ Robert Zemeckis, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, Ken Ralston, Frank Marshall, Steve Starkey, DVD audio commentary, 2003, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  16. ^ Post, Robert C. (2007). Urban Mass Transit: The Life Story of a Technology. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 156. ISBN 9780313339165. http://books.google.com/?id=lZ6Kke0MZWwC. 
  17. ^ Susan Hanson, Genevieve Giuliano (2004). The Geography of Urban Transportation. Guilford Press, 3rd ed. p. 315. ISBN 1593850557. 
  18. ^ National Capital Trolley Museum. "Regional History". http://www.dctrolley.org/exhibits.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  19. ^ Chicago Transit & Railfan Web Site. "Streetcar and Bus Ownership: Holding Companies". http://web.me.com/willvdv/chirailfan/holdbus.html. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  20. ^ Van Wilkins (Summer 1995). "The Conspiracy Revisited". The New Electric Railway Journal. ISSN 1048-3845. http://www.erha.org/plot.htm. Retrieved 2011-05-27. 
  21. ^ Jonathan Kwitny (1981). The Great Transportation Conspiracy: A juggernaut named desire. Harper's. p. 14. 
  22. ^ "Part 5: The Ending of an Era in Detroit and The México City Sale". The PCC Era in Detroit. Detroit Transit History. March 30, 2009. http://www.detroittransithistory.info/PCC/DetroitPCC-5.html. Retrieved August 16, 2010. 
  23. ^ "New Haven Railway files for bankruptcy". Montreal Gazette. 1935-10-24. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=hYg1AAAAIBAJ&sjid=-ZgFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3608,2898666&dq=new+york+new+haven+and+hartford+railroad+bankruptcy&hl=en. 
  24. ^ "Indict 21 in deals of the New Haven Line". New York Times. 1914-11-03. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B07E7DF1738E633A25750C0A9679D946596D6CF. 
  25. ^ "U.S. Court Makes Hedges Receiver for N.Y. Railways". New York Times. 1919-03-21. p. 1. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00C12FD385511738DDDA80A94DB405B898DF1D3. 
  26. ^ "Salt Lake City Streetcars". http://utahrails.net/streetcars/slc-streetcars.php. 
  27. ^ "Coachbuilt". http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/a/american_motor_bus/american_motor_bus.htm. "Omnibus Corporation of America, which had a web of interlocking directors and managers with GM" 
  28. ^ a b James J. Flink (1990). The automobile age. MIT Press. p. 365. ISBN 0262560550. http://books.google.com/?id=7WtKH-9ha4MC&pg=PA365&lpg=PA365&dq=%22American+City+Lines%22#v=onepage&q=%22American%20City%20Lines%22&f=false. 
  29. ^ "Book Review: Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars". http://www.railroad.net/articles/columns/reviews/larailway/index.php. "By the end of World War II, the Huntington estate sold its majority interest to Chicago-based National City Lines. LARY became the Los Angeles Transit Lines, and bigger changes were in store. Many lines were converted to bus operation through the late forties and fifties. Never mind that NCL was partially owned by bus, tire, and gasoline suppliers. Though Federal anti-trust action was taken against NCL, the damage was already done. Los Angeles was officially in love with the automobile." 
  30. ^ "Metropolitan Coach Lines". http://www.erha.org/mcl.htm. "Metropolitan Coach Lines was incorporated in California on May 18, 1953; Haugh capitalized it at $8.5 million, $7.2 million of which was to cover the purchase price of the Pacific Electric assets and the remainder was for organizational expenses and working capital. The sale was completed on October 1, 1953, with PE’s entire passenger operating rights and all facilities and property related to the bus lines being turned over to Metro. These included the Pasadena, Ocean Park and West Hollywood garages, Macy Street shops, servicing and storage locations at Van Nuys, Sunland, Long Beach (Morgan Avenue) and Echo Park Avenue, stations at Pomona, Riverside and Whittier, and 695 buses." 

Further reading

  • Adler, Sy "The Transformation of the Pacific Electric Railway: Bradford Snell, Roger Rabbit, and the Politics of Transportation in Los Angeles." Urban Affairs Quarterly, Volume 27, Number 1, 1991.
  • Bottles, Scott L. Los Angeles and the Automobile, University of California Press, 1987. ISBN 0-520-05795-3.
  • Black, Edwin "Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives," especially Chapter 10, St. Martins Press 2006
  • Fellmeth, Robert C., Project Director, "Politics of Land: Ralph Nader's Study Group Report on Land Use in California," pp. 410–14, Grossman Publishers, NY 1973
  • Fischel, W.A. (2004). "An Economic History of Zoning and a Cure for its Exclusionary Effects," Urban Studies 41(2), 317-40.
  • Goddard, Stephen B. Getting There: The Epic Struggle between Road and Rail in the American Century, Basic Books, 1994
  • Hanson, S. and Giuliano, G. editors (2004). The Geography of Urban Transportation, Third Edition. The Guilford Press. ISBN 1-59385-055-7. 
  • Hicks, Robert Eldridge (1973). Politics of land: Ralph Nader's study group report on land use in California. Grossman Publishers. pp. 410–412, 488. ISBN 0670563269. 
  • Kwitny, Jonathan, "The Great Transportation Conspiracy: a juggernaut named desire," Harper's, February 1981, pp. 14–15, 18, 20, 21
  • Kunstler, James Howard (1994). The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. Free Press. ISBN 0-671-88825-0. 
  • Norton, Peter D. Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, MIT Press, 2008. ISBN 0-262-14100-0
  • O'Toole, Randal (2006). "A Desire Named Streetcar How Federal Subsidies Encourage Wasteful Local Transit Systems" (pdf). Cato Institute. (559): 1–16. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa559.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-23 
  • Thompson, Gregory Lee (1993). The Passenger Train in the Motor Age: California's Rail and Bus Industries, 1910–1941. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH. ISBN 0-814-20609-3. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • General-Motors — Corporation Unternehmensform Corporation ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • General Motors — Company Rechtsform Corporation ISIN US37045V1008 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • General Motors Corporation — Unternehmensform Corporation ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • General Motors de México — General Motors Corporation Unternehmensform Corporation ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • General Motors do Brasil — General Motors Corporation Unternehmensform Corporation ISIN …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • History of General Motors — General Motors Corporation, also known as GM or GMC, is the world s largest car manufacturer based on annual sales. Founded in 1908, in Flint, Michigan, GM employs approximately 284,000 people around the world. With global headquarters at the… …   Wikipedia

  • Great American streetcar scandal — The Great American Streetcar Scandal [It has also been called the General Motors streetcar conspiracy and the National City Lines conspiracy by critics of those companies.] is a conspiracy theory according to which streetcar systems throughout… …   Wikipedia

  • Heritage streetcar — Heritage streetcars are development of Heritage railways that are becoming popular in the United States and other parts of the world. In many cities, streetcar systems (also termed tramcar, trolley or trams) using original vintage vehicles, or… …   Wikipedia

  • National City Lines — PCC streetcar 1504 operated by National City Lines’ El Paso City Lines subsidiary leaves the U.S. Mexico border in 1960, headed to Ciudad Juárez Industry public transportation Founded 1920 …   Wikipedia

  • Pacific Electric Railway — Infobox SG rail railroad name=Pacific Electric Railway logo filename=PE logo.png logo size=108 old gauge= marks=PE locale=Los Angeles, California, and its suburbs start year=1901 end year=1961 hq city=Los Angeles, CAThe Pacific Electric Railway… …   Wikipedia