All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Sarnia, Ontario

Principal System

Sarnia Street Ry horsecar Sarnia Street Railway Company (1875 - 26 February 1931)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 1874 (Ont.) Converted from horsecars to electric cars in 1901, the last commercial operation of horsecars in Canada. Service in Sarnia and Point Edward. Horsecars return to service briefly in 1912 due to a power house fire. (Kevin Nicol 2016, photos: author's collection, Joseph Lamarche collection, flickr/snap-happy1).

Sarnia Street Ry electric car (Joseph Lamarche collection) Sarnia horsecar in 1912 (flickr/snap-happy1)

Sarnia Bus Co Ford Transit (flickr/snap-happy1) Sarnia Bus Company Limited (01 January 1932 - 01 March 1955)
Took over from the SStRyCo. Service in Sarnia and Point Edward. Enterprise organized as (or perhaps as a subsidiary of) Cities Bus Service Company Limited circa 1936 (Sarnia Observer 18 February 1936/Kevin Nicol 2016). CBSCo also held the transit franchise in Stratford. Franchise renewed for five years from 22 June 1951 (Windsor Star Nov. 6, 1950, p. 10). Company purchased by employees 1955. (Kevin Nicol 2016, photo: flickr/snap-happy1).

Cities Bus Services Ltd. (01 March 1955 - 16 July 1958)
Company threatened to withdraw service in 1957 (Windsor Star Mar. 29, 1957, p. 8). Operating in 1958 (Canadian Coach 1966). Signed a four-month agreement for financial support with the City March 1958 (Windsor Star Mar. 4, 1958, p. 35). Ceased operation in July. (Kevin Nicol 2016).

Cities Bus Services Ltd. (24 July 1958 - 26 July 1958)
Three days of transit service sponsored by the Downtown Association of Merchants. (Kevin Nicol 2016).

Sarnia Transit Company Ltd. (02 September 1958 - 01 April 1974)
Initial management and equipment from the Hamilton Street Railway Company. Ten-year operating agreement ratified March 1960 (Windsor Star Mar. 4, 1960, p. 7). (Canadian Coach 1967, Dawes et al. 1972). Acquired 01 February 1968 by Davies Bus Lines, an operation of Cymrv Holdings owned by Mervyn Davies and Jack Davies. STC sold 1971 to Skinner School Bus Lines, a division of Charterways Transportation Limited. (Kevin Nicol 2016, Canadian Coach 1974, Transit Canada 1975).

Sarnia Transit 756 GM T6H-4523N new look (Bernard Drouillard 1979 Sep 17, Peter Cox coll.) Sarnia Transit (01 April 1974 - present)
Municipal operation. Service in the City of Sarnia and the Village of Point Edward. (Kevin Nicol 2016, Canadian Coach 1974, CUTA 1976-77, CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992, photo: Bernard Drouillard [Peter Cox coll.]).

Sarnia Transit logo
system logo
Service area population75,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet25 buses (1998)
Employees49 (1991)
Ridership1,063,124 (2009)
Data sources:CUTA 1991/2
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)
website 2010 (logo)

Secondary Systems

Miles Neilson (before 1931 - 31 December 1931?)
Bus operation, initially in competition with the SSRyCo, then as one of several independents before franchise with SBCo (CR&MW 1931).

McMillan Bus Company (September 1931 - 31 December 1931?)
Manager A.R. McMillan. (Kevin Nicol 2016).

Dial-a-Bus (24 June 1974 - 19 November 1974)
Transit service in Sarnia Township, connecting Bright's Grove and Camlachie to Sarnia. Owner Don Lasenby threatened to discontinue service without financial support from the township (Windsor Star Nov. 15, 1974, p. 5).


Ferries between Sarnia and Port Huron (postcard) ferry Ferry services operated between Sarnia, Ontario, and Port Huron, Michigan from as early as 1836. The Sarnia and Port Huron Ferry Company Limited was incorporated 04 February 1882. Also mentioned in references is the Port Huron Ferry Company which may be the same or another entity. Ferry service ceased in 1939, within a year of the opening of the Blue Water bridge in 1938. Ferry service was revived 1946, lasting until 1953. (Elford, photo: postcard).


Animal railway1875 - 1901 *
Electric railwayJanuary 1901 - 25 February 1931
Motor bus1931? - present
* Horse cars returned to service July 1912 after a power house fire.


Copyright ©1989-2016 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:
This page last modified: Monday, 28-Mar-2016 14:51:39 CDT