The Ohio Museum of Transportation

Ohio's Transit History

Akron Trolley Coaches

One of the nations later starts for trolley coaches, Akron Transportation Co (ATC) operated them from 1941-1959. The late start was due in part to franchise disagreements with City Officials and jitney competition which cut into revenues.

The first two routes converted to trolley coach operations were the East Market route streetcar route and the Grant Street route which was an abandoned streetcar route since 1925 and was being run with buses. The conversion took place on November 12, 1941 using twelve 44 passenger Brill 44SMT's.

The next route converted over was in September of 1942 and was the West Market Street line. Twenty 42 passenger Twin Coach 44GTT's were obtained for this as well as to lessen the crush loads on the East Market route which passed by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. As WWII was heating up, wartime measures were going into effect and rubber was needed. Ridership from 1941 to 1942 was already up by 119% primarily due to the war.

No new conversions took place until December 17. 1945 when the Cuyahoga Falls-Bailey bus line was converted using eighteen new 44 passenger Brill TC44's. Following this on April 1, 1947 the Kenmore streetcar line was converted and extended to Barberton and through-routed with the East Market line. The Arlington bus line was also converted at this time. Ten 44 passenger Brill TC44's were brought in for these conversions.

Also in June of 1947, express service on the Cuyahoga line was initiated by using bypass wires overhead so that trolley coaches could pass each other. The last expansion occurred in 1951 when the Arlington route was extended to the Hillwood Homes development. 1951 was also the peak year of trolley coach operations in Akron.

The postwar years, especially in the mid-50's proved difficult for the ATC, as well as just about every other transit system in the country, with declining ridership and rising costs. In addition, the ATC was having franchise disputes with the City and there were several strikes. Severe service cuts started in 1954 and by 1956, the City of Akron announced a desire to institute major traffic changes including a system of one-way streets.

As a way to keep the franchise, the ATC agreed in 1956 to phase out the trolley coach operations in return for a 15 year franchise agreement. The lines started coming down in 1958 and the last trolley coach ran in Akron on June 6, 1959.

It should be noted that both the ATC and the Youngstown Municipal Railway (later Youngstown Transit Co.) were under common ownership. There were some transfers of both trolley coaches and buses between the two companies over the years. Also, the ATC appeared to have a more volatile relationship with the City of Akron than the YMR had with the City of Youngstown although both had their moments of battle.

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This page updated on April 09, 2007