The notion of a General Motors streetcar conspiracy emerged after General Motors (GM) and other companies were convicted of monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to National City Lines (NCL) and its subsidiaries. In the same case, the defendants were accused of conspiring to own or control transit systems, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust act. The suit created lingering suspicions that the defendants had in fact plotted to dismantle streetcar systems in many cities in the United States as an attempt to monopolize surface transportation.
Between 1938 and 1950, National City Lines and its subsidiaries, American City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California (through a subsidiary), Federal Engineering, Phillips Petroleum, and Mack Trucks—gained control of additional transit systems in about 25 cities. Systems included St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Oakland. NCL often converted streetcars to bus operations in that period, although electric traction was preserved or expanded in some locations. Other systems, such as San Diego's, were converted by outgrowths of the City Lines. Most of the companies involved were convicted in 1949 of conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce in the sale of buses, fuel, and supplies to NCL subsidiaries, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the transit industry.
The story as an urban legend has been written about by Martha Bianco, Scott Bottles, Sy Adler, Jonathan Richmond, and Robert Post. It has been explored several times in print, film, and other media, notably in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Taken for a Ride, Internal Combustion, and The End of Suburbia.
Only a handful of U.S. cities, including San Francisco, New Orleans, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston, have surviving legacy rail urban transport systems based on streetcars, although their systems are significantly smaller than they once were. Other cities are re-introducing streetcars. In some cases, the streetcars do not actually ride on the street. Boston had all of its downtown lines elevated or buried by the mid-1920s, and most of the surviving lines at grade operate on their own right of way. However, San Francisco's and Philadelphia's lines do have large portions of the route that ride on the street as well as using tunnels.
The O-Bahn Busway is a guided busway that is part of the bus rapid transit system servicing the northeastern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. The O-Bahn system was conceived by Daimler-Benz to enable buses to avoid traffic congestion by sharing tram tunnels in the German city of Essen.
Adelaide's O-Bahn was introduced in 1986 to service the city's rapidly expanding north-eastern suburbs, replacing an earlier plan for a tramway extension. The O-Bahn provides specially built track, combining elements of both bus and rail systems. Adelaide's track is 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) long and includes three interchanges at Klemzig, Paradise and Tea Tree Plaza. Interchanges allow buses to enter and exit the busway and to continue on suburban routes, avoiding the need for passengers to transfer to another bus to continue their journey. Buses can travel at a maximum speed of 100 km/h (60 mph), but are now restricted to 85 km/h (53 mph). As of 2015, the busway carries approximately 31,000 people per weekday. An additional section including a 670-metre (2,200 ft) tunnel opened in 2017 at the city end to reduce the number of congested intersections buses must traverse to enter the Adelaide city centre.
The development of the O-Bahn busway led to the development of the Torrens Linear Park from a run-down urban drain into an attractive public open space. It has also triggered urban development around the north-eastern terminus at Modbury.
- "O-bahn Busway" | 2018-12-19 | 97 Upvotes 36 Comments