All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

Principal System

St. John's Street Railway Company (01 May 1900 - 1901)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 10 November 1897 (Nfld). Name changed to Reid in 1901.

Reid Newfoundland Company (1901 - December 1920)
street railway/light rail Company transit and power operations reorganized as a subsidiary StJ'sL&PCo 1920.

St. John's Light & Power Company (December 1920 - 1924)
street railway/light rail Subsidiary of the Reid Newfoundland Company. Sold to International Power interests 1924.

St. Johns birney car 12 (1925) Newfoundland Light & Power Company Limited (1924 - 15 September 1948)
street railway/light rail Operations ended in favour of bus services 1948.

Golden Arrow Coaches Limited (just before January 1940 - May 1949)
From late 1939 to September 1948 operated generally in parts of the city not served by the street railway. Operations became city-wide when the NL&PCo ended transit operations. Company became strikebound May 1949 and did not resume service. Franchise to operate revoked by city council October 1949. (Transit Journal Jan 1940, Baker)

various private jitney operators (circa May 1949 - December 1949)
During the strike at Golden Arrow and for a period after, ad hoc transit service was provided by many independent jitney operators. (Baker).

Transit Limited (December 1949 - circa December 1950)
Company formed by group of jitney operators granted a franchise to operate city transit service. (Baker).

Capital Coach Lines Limited (December 1950 - April 1958?)
Subsidiary of United Service Corporation of Nova Scotia. Listed by the DBS in 1955-56, and 1956-57. Operations acquired by the City of St. John's 15 November 1957. (Baker).

St. John's SJTC224 GM old look (William A. Luke) St. John's Transportation Commission (April 1958 - present)
Marketed in recent years as St. John's Metrobus and Metrobus Transit. Service in St. John's and Mount Pearl. The Town of Paradise has funded a pilot transit project to join Metrobus 27 June 2016 (CBC 16 December 2015). (Dawes et al. 1972, CUTA 1976-77, CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, photos: William A. Luke, Peter Cox collection).

St. Johns SJTC226 GM old look (William A. Luke) St. John's Transit Comm. 218 (GM new look) (Peter Cox collection 1969) St. Johns SJTC235 GM new look (William A. Luke)

Metrobus logo (1997)
system logo (1997)
Metrobus Transit [St. John's] logo
system logo (2010)
Service area population125,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet59 buses (2000)
Employees150 (1991)
Ridership3,014,073 (2009)
Data sources:CUTA 1991/2
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)
website 2010 (logo)


Nfld Ry self-propelled car commuter rail The Newfoundland Railway operated in the 1920s what it called commuter trains, often using self-propelled railcars, between St. John's and Kelligrews [Conception Bay South] (19.3 mi./30.9 km). The railcars were purchased in 1923 and 1928, and retired in 1937 but it's not clear if that also defined the operating period of the commuter service (JP 2008). Further research is needed to determine details.

Public transportation service in the suburban/rural region around St. John's was provided for many years by a variety of bus and jitney operators. Allison Voith's 1973 article (see References below) enumerated at least 7 bus and 15 jitney operators connecting to St. John's (and more than a dozen similar operations elsewhere in Newfoundland). The division between suburban and rural is difficult to discern but at least two operations, Eastern Bus Lines (Pouch Cove - St. John's) and Lee's Bus Service (Petty Harbour - St. John's), seemed suburban in character.


Electric railway01 May 1900 - 15 September 1948
Motor buscirca 1939 - present


Copyright ©1989-2016 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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This page last modified: Wednesday, 15-Jun-2016 15:03:12 CDT