Ride, Cranbrook, ride

The great public transit experiment of January, 1948

With the celebration of the 15th year of service in Cranbrook, it came to our attention at the Townsman that Cranbrook had a short-lived, ill-fated endeavour into public  transportation many years ago.

In fact, the bus system, which consisted of two routes, lasted only four weeks from mid-January to mid-February, 1948.

“Scheduled to commence early next week, possibly Monday, a newly-established public transit service will be launched by City Bus Service, when a 32-passenger bus will commence to traverse the city on a ten-cent fare basis,” the Cranbrook Courier wrote a few days before the launch.

“It is expected that the new enterprise will fill a long-felt need here, and that the reasonable cost of the service will make its wide use likely by those not owning or using other means of transport,” the same article said.

The bus route began the second week of January, 1948.

There were two organized routes and the buses were designed to fill the gap between “shank’s mare” (one’s own legs) and the regular taxis.

Route 1 traversed the south portion of the city and started at 7:30 a.m. (except on Sundays). It took 20 minutes to do the loop. The same bus then covered Route 2. The Routes continued on until 7:30 p.m.

The terminal was located across from the old Post Office on Baker Street.

Tickets were 12 for $1, or single fares for 10 cents.

“The routes have been carefully laid out to serve the population having the greatest  distance from home to the city’s centre, and will be fast and frequent enough to fill the requirements of shoppers and others to and from the down-town area,” the Courier wrote.

The bus could seat 25 people on cushioned seats and had additional standing room.

The bus service was proving popular with residents, as a Jan. 15, 1948 headline read. Then on Jan. 29, the paper reported that new runs were being added to the successful two main routes.

“Considerable overhauling of schedules has recently been done by City Bus Service, with a view to providing a better service through closer coverage of city streets,” the article read.

The additional routes included the Van Horne-French, Hanson-Norbury, Burwell-Fenwick and Lumsden-Garden runs.

Then suddenly, on Feb. 12, the City Bus Service asked to quit as of Feb. 18.

“As announced elsewhere in these columns, the Bus Service recently put on for a tryout here by Messrs. Don Revie and John R. Kaye, will be discontinued as of February 18th, providing permission is granted by the Public Utilities Commission of B.C.”

Once the announcement that the city bus would be discontinued went in the newspaper, there were no more discussion on the matter. The papers following make no mention of the ill-fated bus service, or the reasons for it’s suddem

Thanks to David Humphrey for digging through the newspaper archives for this public bus-related information.

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