All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Vancouver, British Columbia

The Greater Vancouver Regional District is comprised of 21 municipalities and several unincorporated areas. The municipalities are: Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Langley Township, Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, North Vancouver District, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and White Rock. (GVRD website, 2007).

Principal System

Vancouver Electric Railway tram 12 Vancouver Electric Railway and Light Company (28 June 1890 - April 1894)
Incorporated 1886 and again in 1889 (both BC) as the Vancouver Street Railways Company. Reconstituted as the VERy&LCo 21 May 1890 (BC). Entered receivership May 1893. Acquired at bankruptcy by the CRy&LCo.

Consolidated Railway and Light Company (April 1894 - 17 April 1896)
Incorporated April 1894. Acquired Westminster & Vancouver interurban 1895. Name changed to CRyCo 1896.

Consolidated Railway Company (17 April 1896 - 15 April 1897)
Acquired transit services in Victoria in 1896. Sold at bankruptcy to the BCER.

BCE (Vancouver) CCF-Brill trolley bus British Columbia Electric Railway Company (15 April 1897 - 30 March 1962)
Incorporated 03 April 1897 (Imp). Also operated transit service in Victoria and interurban service on the Saanich Peninsula and the Lower Mainland. Sold to the province 1962.

Vancouver BCER ticket (front) Westminster hospital bus ticket (front) North Vancouver BCER ticket (front)

BC Hydro [Vancouver] 3189 (Twin model 34S) (Peter Cox 1964 Aug 22) British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (30 March 1962 - 31 August 1973)
The Buzzer Vol 58, No. 3 (02 February 1973) and Canadian Coach 1966 cites Metropolitan Transit System. Provincial government entity. Operator of transit services in Vancouver and Victoria. (CUTA 1976-77, photos: Peter Cox).

BC Hydro [Vancouver] 3402 (CanCar model CD52TC) (Peter Cox 1966 Jun 29) BC Hydro [Vancouver] 3298 (Twin model 44S) (Peter Cox 1967 Sep 04)

Greater Vancouver Transit System 3418 (CanCar model CD52TC) (Peter Cox 1979 Aug 16) Greater Vancouver Transit System (31 August 1973 - 31 March 1983)
Operated under contract by the BCH&PA 1973 - 31 March 1980. Operated by the Metro Transit Operating Company under contract to the Urban Transit Authority from 01 April 1980. WVMT operations absorbed 1980 although WVMT remained the contracted operator of the “Blue Buses.” (photo: Peter Cox)

New Flyer E902 Trolleybus Vancouver Regional Transit System (01 April 1983 - 31 March 1999)
Operated 1983 - 01 June 1985 by MTOC.
“The Vancouver Regional Transit System services are operated by BC Transit, West Vancouver Municipal Transportation Department (Blue Buses), and B.C. Rapid Transit Company Ltd. (SkyTrain).” (Vancouver Transit Guide, 1986).
“Services are operated for the Vancouver Regional Transit System by BC Transit, the West Vancouver Municipal Transportation Department, Independant Bus and Transportation Inc., and British Columbia Rapid Transit Operating Company Ltd. (SkyTrain)” (BC Transit 1989/90). Maple Ridge network absorbed 16 December 1991, with Independent Bus and Transportation, Ltd. continuing as the contract operator for local routes until 19 October 1992 when BC Transit took over (Brian Mills, 2001). (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992) (Images: Blinkpunkt Straßenbahn (ETB), BC Archives I-09409 [123k] (SkyTrain))
SkyTrain ICTS automated rapid transit

VRTS logo
 
System logo
Service area population1,400,000
Vehicle fleet7?? buses,
244 trolleybuses,
150 SkyTrain cars,
2 SeaBus ferries (1998)
Data source:CUTA 1991/2
BC Transit web site 1998
CTHF/SSG 1998

TransLink New Flyer D60 bus (Alex Regiec 2005) TransLink, the Regional Transportation Network (01 April 1999 - present)
Established July 1998 (BC) as Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority and renamed TransLink 01 April 1999. On 01 April 1999 Coast Mountain Bus Company (originally to be Coast Mountain BusLink) assumed responsibility for bus operations in the Vancouver area, excluding the West Vancouver “Blue Buses”. CMB is a subsidiary of TransLink. TransLink itself operates the Skytrain, Seabus, Albion Ferry, major roads and bridges, West Coast Express and the AirCare emission testing program for cars. Starting 31 May 1999 Bowen Island Community Transit began operating transit service on Bowen Island, under contract to TransLink (CTN 1999). From 29 November 2007 the agency's full name has been South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority. (website).

Vancouver TransLink ferry (Alex Regiec 2005) Vancouver TransLink SkyTrain at King George (Alex Regiec 2005) Vancouver TransLink buses at Oakridge (Alex Regiec 2005)

TransLink logo
 
System logo
Vehicle fleet:832 buses (CMBCo),
38 buses (WVMT),
244 trolleybuses,
150 SkyTrain cars,
2 SeaBus ferries (2000)
Ridership187,912,227 (2009)
Data source:TransLink web site 1999,
CTHF/SSG 2000
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)

Secondary Systems

Union Steamship Company (1893 - 1899)
Ferry service between Vancouver and North Vancouver. Franchise arrangement with the City of North Vancouver. Municipality assumed operations briefly in 1899 before they were transferred to a new entity (Wilson).

North Vancouver Ferry and Power  No. 2 (c1911 City of Vancouver Archives) North Vancouver Ferry and Power Company (1899 - 1958)
Ferry service between Vancouver and North Vancouver. Ferry service discontinued in 1958. (photo City of Vancouver Archives).

White Star Motor Line Ltd. [Vancouver] jitney 1920s? (CVA371-1737) Jitney Association of Vancouver (30 March 1915 - ?)
The “jitney craze” in Vancouver played out in similar fashion to other Canadian cities. The first jitneys appeared mid November 1914 and by April 1915 there were about 325 in service. By June 1915 there were 664 licenced jitneys in Vancouver when new bonding requirements reduced the field to about 250. There were 450 licenced jitneys as of 01 Novemeber 1915. By February 1916 there were 160 licenced jitneys, and 285 by June 1917. Various operators and associations came and went quickly. CR&MW made note of the following:

A jitney service in South Vancouver, from Hollyburn (14th Street ferry) to Dundarave was in place by December 1915. The City of Vancouver banned jitneys outright effective 01 July 1918, but defiantly over 400 were still operating 05 July 1918. Police action, fines, and unsuccessful court appeals eventually extinguished the trade. (CR&MW 1915-1918). The City of Vancouver Archives includes the above photograph of a jitney operated by White Star Motor Line Ltd. which it dates to sometime in the 1920s.

City of North Vancouver (circa August 1918 - 1918?)
The North Vancouver City council operated a jitney service on the Lynne Valley road between Center Road and city limits (CR&MW September 1918, p. 403).

Deep Cove Stage Lines (? - circa 1946)
Service to Deep Cove in North Vancouver. Absorbed circa 1946 by Pacific Stage Lines (John Day 2003).

Deep Cove Stage Lines (? - 01 August 1973)
Operation to Deep Cove. Acquired by the BC government in preparation for the establishment of the GVTS. (Canadian Coach 1968, Scrafton et al. 1970)

False Creek Ferries (1982 - present)
Division of Granville Island Ferries Ltd. Point-to-point shuttle boat service on False Creek (Vanier Park to Science World). (website 2000).

False Creek Ferries logo
 
System logo
Data source:False Creek Ferries web site 2000

Aquabus (1986? - present)
Point-to-point shuttle boat service on False Creek (DAW 1986).

BCER interurban 1207 Downtown Historic Railway (29 July 1998 - October 2008, summer 2011 (summer seasons))
Heritage tramway service along the south shore of False Creek in Vancouver operated by the Transit Museum Society (TRAMS) in cooperation with the City of Vancouver. In conjunction with the 2010 Winter Olympics part of this line was operated (21 January 2010 - 21 March 2010) with modern light rail vehicles by the City of Vancouver as the “Olympic Line” LRT. (photo Dale Laird)

DHR logo
 
system logo
Vehicle fleet2 interurban streetcars
Data source:DHR Website 1998

Pacific Commuter (03 July 2012 - present)
Single weekdaily round trip between Vancouver and Cloverdale and Langley scheduled for commuters. Service describes itself as a “club”. (website 2012).

English Bay Launch (circa April 2013 - present)
Weekdaily commercial commuter passenger ferry operation between Snug Cove on Bowen Island and Granville Island (Vancouver) and Coal Harbour (downtown Vancouver). (website 2013, Bowen Island Undercurrent 04 April 2013).

Aldergrove Trolley Company (03 June 2013 - 23 August 2013)
Weekdaily mid-day bus service (5 round trips) serving central Aldergrove, Gloucester and Pioneer Park areas. Service suspended 26 August 2013. (website 2013).

Aldergrove Trolley Company logo 2013
system logo
Vehicle fleet 1 bus
data source: website 2013

New Westminster and Burnaby Systems

Westminster Street Railway [New Westminster] streetcar Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company (03 June 1891 - 13 April 1895)
Incorporated 26 April 1890 (BC). Included by amalgamation 20 April 1891 the Westminster Street Railway Company (inc. 26 Apr. 1890, BC). Very limited service on the incomplete interurban line began 03 June 1891 (Ewert 1986). New Westminister city service was reported on by a local newspaper 07 October 1891 but may have been operated for some time (Ewert 1986). Acquired by the CRyCo at sherriff's auction 13 April 1895.

Neville Transportation Co. [Burnaby] #12 circa 1947 (Peter Cox) Neville Transportation Company (? - 01 July 1947)
Transit service in Burnaby acquired 1947 by the BCER (Canadian Coach 1966, photo: Peter Cox).

West Vancouver Systems

West Vancouver Launch Service (1905 - 1908)
Owners John Lawson and William C. Thompson. Ferry service between Vancouver and West Vancouver. Incorporated in 1909 as the WVTCo (Wilson).

West Vancouver Transportation Company (08 November 1908 - 1912)
Ferry service between Vancouver and West Vancouver. Wilson calls this the West Vancouver Ferry Company. Purchased 1912 by West Van. Municipal (Kelly & Francis).

West Vancouver Municipal Bus Lines 78 (GM new look) (Peter Cox 1984) West Vancouver Municipal Transportation (1912 - 1980)
Servicing West Vancouver. (Dawes et al. 1972, other sources cite West Vancouver Municipal Lines). Operated ferry service between Vancouver and West Vancouver 1912-1947. Service merged with the GVTS 1980, although it retains it's on-street identity as a separate operating arm of Translink. (photos: Peter Cox, City of Vancouver Archives).

West Vancouver ferry c1920 (CVA SGN1123) West Vancouver Municipal bus (Hayes) 1934 (CVA99-4592)

Pacific Great Eastern Railway (01 January 1914 - 29 November 1928)
While the PGE (later BC Rail) was certainly never intended as urban transit, the railway's North Vancouver to West Vancouver line was essentially just a passenger interurban gascar railway from its construction to the closure of the line in 1928. (photos: British Columbia Archives: Visual Records Catalogue, call number G-02874, City of Vancouver Archives)

Pacific Great Eastery Ry [West Vancouver] 106 gascar (CVA TransP109)

Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody Systems

port_moody-CSL18gmol-cox1965jul22.jpg Columbia Stage Lines (1934 - 23 May 1969)
Suburban services to Port Moody and Coquitlam (Canadian Coach 1966, 1969). (Photos: Peter Cox, Gordon Henry Collection).

Columbia Stage Lines Ford transit (Gordon Henry Collection) Columbia Stage Lines Reo (Gordon Henry Collection)

port_moody-SICT105twin-cox1971jul07.jpg Sabina Intercity Transit Company (22 October 1969 - 31 August 1973)
Service in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. Succeeded by the GVTS. (Photo: Peter Cox)

Richmond, Delta and Surrey Systems

Richmond Transportation (? - 01 October 1946)
Suburban transit service in Richmond acquired 1946 by the BCER (Canadian Coach 1966).

? (1945 - 1949)
Bus service in Surrey owned by R.L. (Reg) Taylor, R.D. Hawthorne and Jim Ferguson and run in conjunction with Taylor's Taxis. Became SSL with a change in ownership in 1949. (Brown).

Semiahmoo Stage Lines (1949 - before 1953)
Bus service in Surrey owned by Johnny Taylor, his wife Ruth Taylor, and J.D. MacMillan. Another change in ownership renamed the enterprise WRBL. (Brown).

White Rock Bus Lines (before 1953 - 1964)
Surrey bus service owned by husband and wife Jim Ferguson and Vi (Viola) Ferguson, who later sold the operation to Dick Baker and Jim Draggon who owned Vancouver Bus Lines and Metro Bus Lines. Operation sold again in 1964 to become SBS. (Brown)

Surrey Bus Service Ltd. (1964 - 1974)
Suburban service in southern Surrey (Canadian Coach 1971). Owners: Ralph Wyborn and Joyce Wyborn. Local bus service in Surrey assumed by GVTS 1974. Company continued as a school and charter bus operation into the early 1990s. (Brown).

Pacific Stage Lines [Vancouver] 264 (1950 Twin 38-S) (Peter Cox) Pacific Stage Lines (December 1924 - 01 April 1979)
Chiefly an intercity carrier, operated some local and suburban services in the greater Vancouver area. Suburban service in Surrey begun 08 November 1966 (Canadian Coach 1966, 1973). Incorporated as B.C. Motor Transportation Limited (Canadian Coach 1967, Kelly & Francis, photo: Peter Cox).

Maple Ridge System

Maple Ridge Bus Lines (early 1970s?)
(Scrafton et al. 1970). Canadian Coach 1971 cites a Maple Ridge Bus Service.

[Maple Ridge Transit System] (1976 - 16 December 1991)
Operation conducted for BC Transit by contractor Independent Bus and Transportation, Ltd. Routes added to the Vancouver Regional Transit System 1991 (Brian Mills, 2001). (Transit Canada 1976, BC Transit 1988). (not listed separately in BC Transit 1989/90).

Modes

Electric railway28 June 1890** - 21 April 1955> *** (Vancouver)
07 October 1891 - 04 December 1938> (New Westminster)
01 September 1906 - 23 April 1947> (North Vancouver)
29 July 1998 - present (Vancouver: DHR)
Motor bus19 March 1923 - present
Trolley coach §§16 August 1948 - present
SeaBus*17 June 1977 - present
Heavy rail transit (SkyTrain & Canada Line)03 January 1986 § - present
** Formal opening ceremonies held 26 June 1890 (RFC).
*** Free rides for the public operated 24 April 1955 (13:00 - 17:00).
* Regular public transport ferry service between Vancouver and North Vancouver operated 1900 - 1958. Service between Vancouver and West Vancouver operated 1908 - 1947 (Kelly & Francis). (Canadian Coach 1971 indicates that Vancouver Harbour Ferries ended a three year Vancouver/North Vancouver service 04 November 1971).
§ Free rides for the public operated 11 December 1985 - 18 December 1985.
§§ The public was carried free during a trolley coach demonstration 05 December 1945 - 14 December 1945.

References


Copyright ©1989-2014 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:

dawwpg@shaw.ca
This page last modified: Wednesday, 09-Jul-2014 11:38:30 CDT