October 18: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1971:  The Southern California Rapid Transit District inaugurates its experimental Minibus shuttle services in the downtown Central Business District as part of the Bunker Hill urban renewal project. Over 3,400 passengers boarded first-day operations between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., with daily totals reaching 4,500 riders by the end of the first week.

Mini-Bus in downtown Los Angeles, 1971 (Click to enlarge)

The canopied mini-buses, running every 4 minutes, cost 10-cents compared to 30-cents for regular SCRTD bus fare.  The natural gas and propane powered Minibus service is funded through the Community Redevelopment Agency, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.  It will later expand to additional routes in downtown, Westwood, the San Fernando Valley.

Mini-bus launch, 1971. At left is SCRTD Board Director George Takei (Click to enlarge)

SCRTD acquired new mini-buses in 1984 and the service is transferred to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation on October 25, 1985.  It is then renamed DASH and operates numerous routes throughout downtown and dozens more throughout Los Angeles.

More information can be found in the January 14, 1972 issue of RTD Flyer, the Southern California Rapid Transit District employee news magazine.  Many more photos of the SCRTD Mini-Buses can be found here.