Sunday, April 11, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Akron, Ohio

Akron, Ohio had mule-drawn streetcars as early as the 1850s, but these cars were already replaced with electric ones by 1888, which is very early compared to other American cities. By the turn of the century, the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Co. was operating 80 miles of track. By 1910, the streetcars also had significant competition in the form of buses and jitneys (gasoline-powered touring sedans, which were often used to poach waiting passengers from streetcar stops.)

Streetcars were enjoying success in Akron, and the operators of Northern Ohio Traction and Light Co. were strategic enough to buy up the competing bus lines from Goodyear and several of the jitney services. Eventually, they operated 125 streetcars and 25 buses. System ridership increased through the years, setting records during World War II, in part due to gas and tire rationing. In the 1950s, the streetcars were replaced by diesel buses.

In 1969, with the threat of a transit strike, The Akron Transportation Co. closed its doors, and auctioned off the equipment and property. Akron became the largest City in the United States without any public transportation. The situation was remedied later that year with the formation of the Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority (METRO.) To find out more about current transit service in Akron, visit Metro RTA.


  1. Apparently furniture was a big seller in Akron with Sears Furniture right across the street from another furniture store. Makes me think of the RPPC I have of Virden, Illinois that has competing ice cream parlors up and down the street.

  2. I like the idea of competing ice cream parlors!

  3. Los Angeles shut down it's streetcars in the 60's also. They didn't replace it with any kind of rapid transit until just recently. It's always been a very auto-oriented city.



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