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A History of Kitchener Transit

From information supplied by LJH of Kitchener Transit, 1985

Last revised October 1st, 2001

1883A charter is granted for a street railway between Berlin and Waterloo, but construction is delayed.
1886With the Board of Trade's support, the Berlin Council grants a franchise to the Berlin Gas Company to operate with horses, mules or electricity at one hour intervals for 12 hours daily except Sunday.
1888The BERLIN GAS COMPANY begins operations with two horse-drawn streetcars (except during the winter when sleighs were used). A bell had to hang from the lower hame strap of the horse, and a different colour lamp had to be shown on the front and the rear. The car barn was on King Street in Waterloo at Cedar Street (now Bridgeport Road). The line was built with New York and local financing.
1894The end of horse-drawn streetcars. The BERLIN STREET RAILWAY starts operating electric streetcars.
1900The car line, previously running between Cedar Street in Waterloo and Scott Street in Berlin, is extended to Albert Street (now Madison) in Berlin, and a new car barn and power house are built there.
1902Service to Bridgeport, provided by the BERLIN & BRIDGEPORT RAILWAY COMPANY, begins on July 14th.
1906The BERLIN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION takes over the operation of the street railway system, which was then using eight electric streetcars and eight trailers.
1907After arbitration, the Public Utilities Commission officially purchases the system on May 1st for a price of $83,200.
1910Construction of double track begins, and electric power from Niagara Falls is now used to operate the line.
1911Two-door wooden cars are purchased from Preston Car & Coach Company. Cars from St. John, New Brunswick added later to replace some destroyed by fire at the car barns. With later expansion, more wooden cars are bought from the Cleveland Street Railway.
1912Berlin is proclaimed a city on June 10th.
1916The City of Berlin is no more as the name is changed to Kitchener.
1922The first centre-exit steel cars are purchased from Cleveland.
1923A new transportation building (streetcar barns) is completed on King Street East at Kitchener Junction.
1939Crosstown bus service is introduced with a fleet of ten Yellow Coach model 733 buses (1-10).
1940New Ford Transits (even numbers 12-20) replace streetcars on the Bridgeport route.
1946Overhead lines for trolley coaches are erected on King Street, and ten 35-foot model T-44 coaches (odd numbers 101-119) are purchased from Canadian Car & Foundry in Fort William, Ontario.
1947Fast, quiet, efficient electric trolleybus service is inaugurated on January 1st. The crosstown bus fleet now numbers 38. The WELLESLEY BUS LINE is purchased, including its license to operate a charter service.
1948Five more "Can-Car" trolley coaches (121-129 odd) are purchased, and another in 1949 (131). Two CCF-Brill model C-36 gas buses (2 & 4) and an Aerocoach P-371 intercity coach (number 10) are purchased for use on the charter service.
1951A new terminal building and operations base opens on King Street East, directly across from the maintenance garage.
1959Five 40-foot trolley coaches (133-141 odd) are purchased from the Ottawa Transportation Commission, bringing the total to 21 coaches.
1967The first diesel-powered buses are purchased (671-678). All are 30-foot General Motors' model TDH-3501. The WELLESLEY BUS LINE is sold, complete with four buses (the Aerocoach, two Brills and a Ford), for $16,000.
1968Ten more diesels (680-689) are purchased, this time model TDH-3502.
1969The first 40-foot "new look" GM diesel T6H-5305s are purchased (690-691).
1971Exact cash fare system implemented on February 1st. Two more 40-foot "new looks" arrive (700-701) followed by another two (720-721) the following year.
1973The City of Kitchener take over the transit system from the Public Utilities Commission on January 1st, and the name is changed to KITCHENER TRANSIT. A fleet of 15 GM T6H-5307N buses is delivered (730-739, 7310-7314) to replace the trolleybuses. Trolley coach service comes to an end on March 26th, and all 20 remaining coaches (one was destroyed by fire in 1970) are sold to Vancouver, British Columbia for $750 each. The parts inventory earned another $33,420 and the overhead wire was sold to Galt Iron & Metal for $43,640.
1974Seven Flyer Industries buses (740-746) manufactured in Winnipeg, Manitoba are purchased. Another 25 (195-209) follow in 1977-78. Two 17-passenger minibuses are purchased from Rek Vee Industries in Scarborough, Ontario, and Dial-a-Ride service begins in October in Kitchener's southern extremities.
1975Eleven more GM buses (750-7510) purchased for expansion and phasing-out of older, smaller buses.
1976Another 11 GMs (760-7610) arrive, and all operations and maintenance move to KITCHENER TRANSIT's new facility on Strasburg Road in November.
1980Dial-a-Ride service comes to a close in September as the three Dial-a-Ride zones become two fixed routes. (The two Rek Vees were sold in 1978 as they were not rugged enough).
1981Two 35-foot Orion 01.504 buses (801-802) purchased from Ontario Bus Industries of Mississauga, and another six 40-foot GMs (803-808) replace older 30-food units which are now too small for service requirements.
1982The computer age arrives with the introduction in February of Teleride. Customers can phone their bus stop number, and the computer tells them when the bus will be at the stop.
1983The last few remaining 30-foot buses are removed from service in January.
1984One redesigned GM Classic (809) is received in June, with a revised exterior paint scheme. In November and December a two-way radio system is installed in all buses and service vehicles, and a 150-foot free-standing radio tower is constructed at the north end of the Transit Centre.
1985The new radio system is inaugurated in February, and really proves itself during three major snow storms that winter. An automatic passenger counting system is installed in 20 buses in April and May. The counters are activated by treadle mats on the entrance and exit door steps. In June eight more GM "Classics" (8501-8508) arrive, with another two (8509-8510) delivered in October, bringing the fleet to two 35-foot and 92 40-foot buses, travelling 16,660 kilometres over 12 routes on a normal service day.
2000KITCHENER TRANSIT merged with Cambridge Transit on January 1st, becoming GRAND RIVER TRANSIT.
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