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PRE-SEMTA SUBURBAN BUSES - Pg. 1
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CLICK-ON "SUBURBAN BUSES-Pg. 2" TO VIEW GREAT LAKES TRANSIT & MARTIN LINES COACH PHOTOS
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LAKE SHORE COACH LINES, INC. (1932–1971)
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The transit vehicles displayed in this Suburban Photo Gallery were purchased by the
privately-owned bus companies that serviced Detroit's suburbs prior to being purchased
by the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority
(SEMTA) between 1971-1975.
Please click-on link to return to the "SUBURBAN TRANSIT" Main Page.
METROPOLITAN (METRO) TRANSIT, INC. (1962–1974)
THE METROPOLITAN TRANSIT YEARS: (1962–1974)
Metropolitan Transit was a privately-owned suburban Detroit bus company that serviced Detroit's western
and downriver suburbs, including Allen Park, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Lincoln Park, Melvindale,
Riverview, Taylor, Wayne and Westland.  The early history of this company
(like LSCL above) also goes back to
the
Detroit Motorbus Co., which was put out of business when its license to operate in Detroit was revoked.
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Lake Shore Coach Lines was a privately-owned suburban Detroit bus company that serviced Harper Woods,
St. Clair Shores, and the five Grosse Pointe communities with routes into downtown Detroit.  The formation of
this bus company goes back to the
Detroit Motorbus Company (DMB), which operated bus routes in both
the city of Detroit and its surrounding suburbs between 1920 and 1931.

After
Detroit Motorbus' license to operate in Detroit was revoked effective Jan. 1, 1932, the company's two
eastern suburban routes and 20 buses were acquired by ex-DMB management people who formed
Lake Shore
Coach Lines
, with PUC (Public Utilities Commission) approval effective March 24, 1932.  However, by 1934
the company's original management had been forced out and by 1939 the company was reported to be under the
ownership of reputed Mafia Dons
(a mob boss or crime lord in charge of an organized crime enterprise).  

During
Lake Shore Coach Lines' nearly 40 years of operation, the company operated out of the former DMB
"Terminal Garage"
located at 11840 Edlie Street at Terminal (south of E. Jefferson) on Detroit's east side.  
LSCL's three routes—Jefferson Beach, Kercheval, and Charlevoix (launched in 1933)—basically remained
unchanged over the years.  An
Eastland Shuttle route via Vernier Road was launched in 1957 that connected
with the
Charlevoix and Kercheval lines at Mack Ave. and Vernier to the new Eastland Shopping Center.
Coach #424 (Model TDH-4517) was one of the first six GM 'New-Look' coaches (#419-424)
delivered to Lake Shore Coach Lines in January of 1960.  Coach #424 is seen here in this 1969
photo while eastbound on E. Jefferson just east of Woodward in downtown Detroit.  This coach
was still on the roster when Lake Shore Coach Lines was taken-over by SEMTA on Sept. 1, 1971.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
This Jan. 28, 1960 photo shows the rear interior view of one of LSCL's first GM 'New-Look'
coaches.  The TDH-4517 model seated 45 passengers and was 35 feet long and 96 inches wide.
Unlike the Detroit DSR 'New-Looks' delivered around that same time, the Lake Shore fleet
arrived with the "push-type" rear door feature — made standard on the GM 'New-Look' buses.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
After the Detroit riots of 1967, the surrounding suburban bus companies began experiencing a dramatic decline
in ridership into downtown Detroit.  Now operating at a loss,
Lake Shore Coach Lines announced in May
1971 that it was discontinuing operations at the end of July.  To keep the service operating, the recently formed
SEMTA was able to persuade the six primary communities that were serviced by LSCL to provide the required
local share money needed in order for
SEMTA to qualify for a federal grant to purchase the company.

Effective September 1, 1971,
SEMTA took-over operation of the Lake Shore routes, which formed SEMTA's
new
Lake Shore Division.  At the time of purchase, Lake Shore Coach Lines, Inc. operated 44 coaches
along four routes.  Today, these routes are serviced by the
SMART #600-series routes.
With the passage of Public Act 327 0f 1972, state funds were now available through a 2¢ per gallon gasoline
tax that allowed
SEMTA to begin purchasing Detroit's financially-strapped suburban bus companies.  Effective
January 1, 1974,
SEMTA took-over operation of the Metro Transit routes, which formed SEMTA's new
Metropolitan Division.  At the time of purchase, Metropolitan Transit, Inc. operated 60 GM 'New-Look'
coaches along 14 routes.  Today, these routes are serviced by the
SMART #100 and 200-series routes.
In March 1960, Intertown Suburban was purchased again, and became a subsidiary of American Transit
Corp.
(ATC), a national bus company.  Under ATC, 40-foot buses were purchased for the first time and several
new school tripper agreements were signed.  But
ATC's ownership would be short-lived, as more labor problems
lay just ahead.  On August 1, 1961, drivers and maintenance workers from
Local 1265 of the Amalgamated
Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America
(now, ATU)  struck
the company for the last time.  After 64 days, and no agreement reached, the company announced that it will be
ceasing operations.  On Dec. 31, 1961,
Intertown Suburban Lines would officially go out of business.
New owners took over the company in 1946, who, in Oct. 1950, renamed Dearborn Coach Co. (along with its
subsidiary
Lincoln Park Coach Co) as, "Intertown Suburban Lines, Corp."  By 1955, the company had
grown to 153 buses and operated nearly 30 routes.   However,
Intertown—much like its predecessor had since
1941—continued to be plagued by a number of union employee strikes.  These strikes were so numerous that the
City of Dearborn had threatened to launch its own city-owned bus company to replace the
Intertown service.
THE INTERTOWN SUBURBAN LINES YEARS: (1950–1961)
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In addition to the fifteen 35-foot (45-pass) TDH-4509s purchased in 1951–1952, more fleets of
35-footers were on the way.  Beginning in 1953 — the same year GM made "air-ride suspension"
standard on its old-looks — ten Model TDH-4512s
(#126-135) were purchased.  Additional fleets
followed in 1954
(10); 1955 (5); 1956 (30) and in 1957 (10).  Out of a fleet of 110 GM Old-Looks,
15 were TDH-4509s and 65 were TDH-4512s.   Coach #207 in photo was one of the last ten
TDH-4512s
(#201-210), and the last Old-Looks delivered to Intertown Suburban in February
1957.  It is seen here working route #1A DETROIT-WAYNE VIA MICHIGAN AVENUE.
[photo used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement intended]
In early 1962, Bert Jasper, the former president of Intertown Suburban, managed to gather together ten
investors; obtain the proper approvals; purchase back some of the buses; and formed
Metropolitan Transit,
Inc.
 After six long months of idle coaches, bus service would resume on Feb. 19, 1962, with 60 buses, all based
out of the
Dearborn Garage.  Although some routes were immediately eliminated, new service was later added.
During the mid-1960s,
Metro Transit contracted with the Ford Motor Co. to transport tourists from
Greenfield Villagee to plant tours through the
Ford Rouge complex.  The bus fleet had increased to 80 by 1968.
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Coach #15 was one of five GM Model TDH-5303s (#14-18) delivered to Metro Transit in May  
1965.  In this Nov. 1978 photo, it is still sporting its Metro Transit colors four years after Metro
had been purchased by SEMTA.   All 36 of the 40-foot GM TDH-5301s, TDH-5303s and
T6H-5305s purchased by Metro Transit between 1962 and 1968 were assigned numbers #1-36.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Coach #16 was also part of that May 1965 order, and is pictured here laying-over on St. Antoine
south of Jefferson Ave. in 1978.  In addition to the thirty-six 40-foot New-Looks purchased,
two additional 40-foot suburban edition Model SDM-5302
(manual transmission) New-Looks
(#101-102) were also purchased by Metro in March 1967.   Ten Model T8H-5307As (#37-46)
were later purchased by SEMTA in 1972 and leased to Metro Transit for #1.00 a year per bus.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Metro Transit also purchased ten 35-foot Model TDH-4519 and T6H-4521 GM 'New-Looks'
(#2012-2021)
between 1964–1969.  It had also acquired Intertown Suburban's first two original
TDH-4517s
(#2010-2011) purchased by ATC in 1960.  Coach #2015 — one of two TDH-4519s
(#2014-2015) delivered in Sept. 1965 — is seen here in 1978 still sporting its Ford Rouge color
scheme
(minus the Ford blue oval logo) used on Metro Transit's Ford Rouge Factory tour buses.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Metropolitan Transit coach #179 was one of ten 35-foot long, 96-inch wide, 45-passenger
Model TDH-4512s
(#171-180) initially delivered to Intertown Suburban Lines in Feb. 1956.  It's
pictured here in this Aug 1969 photo south on Randolph at Congress displaying a "VETERANS
HOSPITAL" sign and en route to the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Allen Park.  All of the
GM 'Old-Looks' were already retired when SEMTA took-over Metro Transit on Jan. 1, 1974.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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THE COMPANY'S FIRST GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES
The first GM 'New-Looks' to be placed into service were purchased during the brief period when
Intertown Suburban Lines was owned by American Transit Corp.  Twelve GM 'New-Look'
coaches
(#2010, 2011, 2013-2017 and 2125-2129) were purchased between 1960–61, including
five Model TDH-5301s
(#2013-2017) — the first 40-foot coaches to be used by Intertown.
However, all but two of the buses were returned to ATC after it shut-down the company in 1961.
After purchasing ten 30-foot GM TDH-3612s (#101-110) between 1947–1948, fifteen 35-foot
TDH-4509s
(#111-125) were purchased between 1951–1952.   In top photo, one of ten 35-foot
TDH-4512s delivered in 1954 can be seen parked outside the Dearborn Garage on Hartwell.  
The Dearborn Garage
(built in 1926) would remain in operation until closed by SEMTA in 1978.
In bottom photo, ten new 30-foot (37-pass) TDH-3714s (#146-155) are lined up for delivery in
Sept 1954.  In total, 20 TDH-3714s were purchased, with ten more being delivered in 1955.  
[GM promotional photos courtesy of GMC Truck & Coach Sales Brochure]
For Comments & Suggestions Please Contact Site Owner at: admin@detroittransithistory.info
© 2013  (PAGE MODIFIED ON 07-28-13, 01-31-15)
Information for the above was gathered from various newspaper articles supplied by Stan Sycko; numerous bus enthusiasts websites; and
from Motor Coach Age Magazine articles on the history of Detroit's suburban lines co-authored by Jack E. Schramm and Robert L. Cambell,
including the Oct-Dec 2002 edition titled "Detroit's Suburban Buses" and the Oct-Dec 2003 edition "SEMTA and SMART."
After Detroit Motorbus ceased operations on Jan. 1, 1932, another group of  management people purchased
the company's Northville
(Seven Mile Rd), Plymouth (via Ford and Plymouth roads) and Wayne (Michigan Ave)
routes, along with a number of local Dearborn loop routes, and formed the
Dearborn Coach Co. (DCC).  The
company's 52 buses operated out of the former
DMB "Fordson Garage" at 5645 Hartwell Ave. at Ford Road in
Dearborn.  Although
DCC began operations on Feb. 18, 1932, PUC approval went into effect March 19, 1932.

In 1933,
Dearborn Coach began providing service within the city of Lincoln Park, which operated as a separate
division under the name
Lincoln Park Coach Co.  This new division operated out of a garage on Fort Street
near Goddard in Lincoln Park.  In 1937, a Lincoln Park route along Fort Street to downtown Detroit was added.
By 1935,
Dearborn Coach had creased operations north of Dearborn—having sold its Northville and Plymouth
routes to focus on Dearborn, Lincoln Park, and the suburbs along Michigan Ave., Southfield Rd., and Fort St.
THE DEARBORN COACH COMPANY YEARS: (1932–1950)
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After inheriting 20 of the DMB's Fifth Avenue Coach Co. 'Type J' buses in 1932, LSCL purchased
17 Yellow Coach buses between 1934-36, and 28 front and rear engine Fort Transits between
1937-40.  Lakes Shore began ordering GM 'Old-Looks' in 1946; with ten Model TD-3609 diesels
(#301-310).  The second fleet of 12 Model TDH-3610 (#311-322) 30-footers were delivered in
1948 and featured in this 1948 GM Truck & Coach promotional brochure photo.  One additional
30-foot 'paired-window' GM Old-Look Model TDH-3612
(#323) was purchased in 1949.
In 1953, LSCL would begin purchasing the larger-size 35-foot (45-pass) GM Old-Look diesels.  
Six Model TDH-4509s
(#401-406) were delivered in early 1953, followed by six TDH-4512s
(#407-412) — now equipped with "air-suspension" — in 1954.  These would be the first fleet of
LSCL buses still on the roster when SEMTA purchased the company in 1971.  In this 1961 photo,
a LSCL 35-foot TDH-4512 is southbound along Woodward Ave at Michigan while sporting the
new Lake Shore cream and orange-red color scheme first introduced during the late 1950s.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
In 1955, Lake Shore would purchase nine of the "king-size" 40-foot TDH-5105 diesel coaches.  
The first eight
(#501-508) were delivered in August 1955, while coach #509 was delivered in
December.  However, the first eight 5105s
(#501-508) were traded in for eight GM TDH-5301
"New-Looks" delivered in 1960, and resold to St. Louis Public Service, where coach #508 is
pictured above.  Coach #509 would remain on at Lake Shore as the lone TDH-5105 and was still
on the roster when Lake Shore Coach Lines was taken-over by SEMTA in 1971.
[photo source unknown — image used for educational purposes]
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Gasoline-Powered GM Old-Looks (Not Pictured)
Just as with the DSR and other local Detroit suburban bus companies, the locally manufactured
GM buses would begin to dominate the Lake Shore coach fleet after WW-II.  However, while
most local agencies were leaning toward GM diesel buses, Lake Shore Coach Lines would again
purchase gasoline buses.  Between 1950-51, LSCL purchased 17 of the smaller 28-foot gasoline-
powered TGH-3101s
(#324-340).  Prior to the late 1950s, LSCL buses sported a paint scheme of
cream and green
(above and below the belt line) with a dark-green belt stripe and lower skirt.
Coach #413 (Model TDH-4512) was one of six coaches (#413–418) delivered in May 1959, one
month before "Old Look" production was discontinued at GM Truck & Coach.  By 1959, a total
of 67 GM 'Old-Look' coaches
(including 17 gasoline powered) were purchased by LSCL.  Coach
#413 is southbound along Woodward Ave just south of State Street in this August 1961 photo.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
GM "OLD-LOOK" COACHES
GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES
Again we see coach #413 in this August 1969 photo while eastbound along E. Jefferson at the
Dequindre Cut railroad overpass while working the Jefferson Beach line.  The caption written
across the top of LSCL 'Old-Looks' read, "
Ride on Air... DETROIT∙GROSSE POINTE∙ST.
CLAIR SHORES ...
Save Money."  Coach still on roster when purchased by SEMTA in 1971.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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In this photo, it appears that LSCL coach operators are posing in front of the company's first
fleet of GM 'New-Look' diesel coaches at GM Truck & Coach in Pontiac, MI.  The six new
TDH-4517s  
(#419-424) were delivered to Lake Shore Coach Lines in January 1960.  LSCL was
the second suburban Detroit bus company to receive the newly redesigned GM coach.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
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Lake Shore would also purchase nine of the larger 40-foot Model TDH-5301s to replace the
eight 'Old-Looks'
(#501-508) that were sold to St. Louis Public Service in 1959.  The nine buses
were delivered in January and June 1960, and numbered #501-508
(same as 5105s) and #510.
In this 1961 photo, coach #507 is south along Woodward at Clifford working Jefferson Beach.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
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Lake Shore Coach Line coach #520 was one of only four 30-ft "integral" body design GM buses
(Model TDH-3501) delivered to LSCL in August 1964.  In this 1969 photo, coach #520 is parked
north along Witherell St. just south of Elizabeth, across the street from the old YMCA Building,
just north of Grand Circus Park.  All of the Toro-Flow buses were off the roster before 1971.
The rear of the Central United Methodist Church six-story parish house building can be seen in
the background, while the adjacent
(darker gray) building is today the home of Cheli's Chili Bar.
Today, this area sits across the street from Comerica Park, the home of the Detroit Tigers.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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Lake Shore would purchase additional fleets of the larger-size 40-foot x 102-inch New-Looks —
all were second generation Model TDH-5303s.  Six were purchased in 1963
(#511-516); one in
1964
(#517); three in 1965 (#518-520); and the last six (#521-526) in 1967.  LSCL would order a
total of 31 GM 'New-Look' coaches between 1959–1967.  One of the #500-series TDH-5303s is
seen here south along Woodward Ave at Adams while working the Charlevoix line.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
All three Lake Shore routes utilized Jefferson Ave into downtown Detroit, then via Woodward;  
looping via Elizabeth, Witherell, and Columbia to Grand Circus Park.  Coach #519 was one of
three 5303s
(#518-520) delivered in October 1965, and is pictured here south along Woodward  
at Grand River.  All of the New-Looks were still on the roster when SEMTA took over in 1971.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
GM 30-FT "TORO-FLOW" COACHES
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GM LIGHT DUTY "TORO-FLOW" DIESELS
Initially, the 'New-Look' design (launched in 1959) was only available in two sizes (40' and 35'),
and as a result, a separate light-duty coach was the only GM model available for operators who
required smaller buses.  These small 30- and 27-foot models began production back in 1949 and
resembled the larger "monocoque" constructed GM 'Old-Looks' only in appearance.
They were powered by a gasoline Chevrolet truck engine coupled to a HydraMatic transmission,
and hence were labeled "HydraMatic" buses.  A diesel model version
(TDH-3501) was launched
in 1964.  These 35-passenger buses were powered by a GM mid-size 478-cubic-inch Toro-Flow
V-6 diesel truck engine, and became known as "Toro-Flow" buses.
These light-duty buses remained in production until 1968, when replaced by the 30-foot version
(33-passenger) GMC 'New-Look' Model TDH-3301, launched in 1969.
Here again is former Lake Shore coach #519 (see two photos above), but now owned by SEMTA
(Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority) and sporting the original, but "short-lived,"
SEMTA colors.  This paint scheme was first used on 20 new GMC Model T8H-5307As delivered
in early 1972, and purchased through SEMTA for the suburban Great Lakes Transit and Metro
Transit companies.  The two colors were representative of the two bus companies.  In this circa
1972 photo, coach #519 is northbound on Woodward Ave between John R and Witherell.
[photo courtesy of the Scott Richards photo collection – used with permission]
GM "OLD-LOOK" COACHES
After the new owners took over Dearborn Coach Co. in 1946, the decision was made to begin
standardizing the bus fleet with GM diesel buses.  Between 1947 and 1957, the company would
purchase 110 various-size models of GM 'Old-Look' diesel coaches
(#101-210).  In this GM
Truck & Coach promotional photo, Intertown Suburban Lines coach #140 — a 1954 GM Model
TDH-4512 — is headed west on Fort St. at Sixth while sporting the Intertown Suuburban colors.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES
Under Metropolitan Transit, forty-eight of the 40-foot long GM New Looks would be purchased
between 1962 and 1972, including ten that were leased from SEMTA.   In this August 1969
photo, Metro Transit coach #22 is laying-over on Shelby south of Michigan Ave. in downtown
Detroit while working route #4A DETROIT-WESTLAND CENTER VIA CHERRY HILL.  Coach
#22 was one of five GM Model TDH-5303s
(#19-23)  delivered to Metro Transit in July 1966.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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Coach #2018 — one of two TDH-4519s (#2018-2019) delivered in July 1967 — is seen here still
sporting its Ford blue oval logo a few years after the SEMTA take-over.  For a number of years,
FoMoCo chartered Metro Transit buses to transport tourists along the Ford Rouge Factory Tour
route from Greenfield Village, and also shuttled workers within the plant.  Notice that the GM
nameplate on these buses had been replaced by the coach number with the Ford logo bolted
along the side — more than likely an attempt to remove any identification associated with GM.
[Photo courtesy of MCA (Oct-Dec 2002 issue) used for educational purposes]
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