August 18: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1923:  The Los Angeles Motor Bus Company begins operating, launching the first regularly scheduled bus service in the city.

Service debuts on Western Avenue, followed by Wilshire Boulevard the following month, with eight more bus routes the following year. Many of these routes are still in operation today, representing the oldest continuously operated bus service in the Metro system.

The bus operation is a joint venture between Los Angeles Railway and Pacific Electric Railway to institute a comprehensive motor bus service for major arteries in the rapidly expanding metropolis.

An open-air Fageol double-decker Los Angeles Motor Coach bus on Sunset Boulevard, ca. 1932 (Click to enlarge

The even numbered buses belong to Los Angeles Railway and the odd numbered buses belong to Pacific Electric.

Los Angeles Motor Bus (later “Motor Coach,” ca. 1930) features open top double-decker buses and also serves Wilshire Boulevard where city law prohibited streetcar service.

While the history of railways in Los Angeles has been well documented, very little information exists on early bus operations and, particularly, rosters of equipment. According to the MBS Directory of Preserved Coaches dated October 1989, one 1924 Fageol Safety Coach exists and was or is in the hands of Peninsula Charter Lines of Palo Alto, California.

More information can be found in the September 10, 1923 issue of Pacific Electric Magazine, the August 27, 1923 issue of Two Bells, the Los Angeles Railway employee news magazine, as well as the 1925 A Comprehensive Rapid Transit Plan for Los Angeles full-text report.