I was fascinated and disgusted to learn about the Great Transportation Conspiracy from Sheila Kennedy’s blog this morning.
In 1949 National City Lines were convicted in Federal court for destroying the electrified rail and electric bus transit systems in 44 American cities. Beginning in 1937, National City Lines engaged in a nation wide campaign to induce cities to get rid of their electrically powered streetcars and trolley-buses. They did this with aggressive financing to instead buy buses built by General Motors, burning Standard Oil gasoline, and using Firestone rubber tires, the three companies leading the conspiracy.
“When National City Lines would acquire a transit system, the trolley rails would be ripped up, the overhead wires would be cut down, and the system would be converted to buses within 90 days.” Brooklyn Historic Railway Association
“Mass transit didn’t just die, it was murdered” Jonathan Kwitny, Harpers Magazine, 1981