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Pasadena History: Public Transportation Woes of 1912

In the early 1900s, bus passengers had to get out and push the bus over “bad spots” on the road.

Here is your weekly dose of some Pasadena history thanks to The Pasadena Peninsula by Isabel Shipley Cunningham:

The next time you are sitting in traffic on Mountain Road, be grateful you aren’t sitting on a wooden plank, or using heated bricks to warm your feet. In 1912, those who traveled by bus faced long and uncomfortable rides.

According to The Pasadena Peninsula, Lake Shore Transportation Company formed in 1912.

“In 1914 Charles Cook bought the line and, with local ownership, Cook’s Transportation Company prospered for decades,” wrote Cunningham. “Cook’s first bus was a converted truck with a long wooden seat along each side. He made one round trip to Baltimore daily on two on the weekend. ...

“The trip from Lake Shore to the streetcar line at Brooklyn took almost two hours, at an average speed of eight-and-one-half miles per hour. Removable side-curtains protected riders from dust and rain, but solid rubber tires and wooden seats did not provide a comfortable ride.

“The driver carried buckets of sand and sawdust and pieces of carpet to fill mud holes and potholes. Fairly often the bus broke down, and the driver improvised repairs. Sometimes the passengers had to get off the bus and push it past a bad spot. In the winter they carried heated bricks to keep their feet warm.”

Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more Pasadena history.

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