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The Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania

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Bamford Motor Coach Lines

Acquired by PAT on July 10, 1964

Bamford Motor Coach Lines started out as the Witaker Bus Line in 1927 with a PSC certificate issued to the Bamford brothers for a route from Witaker to Homestead. There was service prior to this by August Bamford, however, this time it was in conjunction with his brothers.

In 1931, the name was changed to the Bamford Brothers Motor Coach Line after permission was granted to operate a line from Homestead into Downtown Pittsburgh. This initial operation was heavily restricted with no local passengers allowed where Pittsburgh Railways Company had trolley routes and no through passengers between Homestead and Pittsburgh. The restriction against through passengers was lifted in 1933 and restrictions against local passengers was lifted in 1937. The lifting of these restrictions allowed Bamford to greatly increase ridership.

The original Witaker line became a feeder route for the new Pittsburgh route and another feeder route was implemented in 1936 to Homestead Park and Brierly Lane. This route was split into two separate routes in 1943 but were both still feeders for the main Pittsburgh route. Another feeder route was implemented in 1937 from Mt. Oliver to East Carson and Becks Run Road to meet the Homestead - Pittsburgh route. This feeder became a main route to Downtown in 1938 due to the ridership.

In 1944, the company name was changed again due to two of the brothers retiring from the business. The new name became Bamford Motor Coach Lines. Ridership increased and additional routes were added but Bamford had a serious problem. The brothers strongly believed in frequent service and low fares. This created a cash flow problem in the post war years which resulted in no money being available to upgrade its fleet. Bamford was forced to purchase used equipment to supplement its aging and under maintained fleet. These Mack CW's and Bamford's original equipment became so unreliable that the City of Pittsburgh ordered Bamford off the city streets in 1948.

To recover from this situation, Bamford sold off its 2 downtown routes and 10 of the best Mack CW's to DeBolt Transit, a company specifically formed for the acquisition, in 1949. With the money received for the rights and the buses, Bamford purchased 4 new FitzJohn Cityliners to help improve its local Homestead service. Additional service and new equipment was added during the 50's. In 1961, Bamford purchased the rights to a few routes from the struggling Duquesne Motor Coach Lines.

Bamford still was receiving high ridership due to its extremely low fares. This trend led to monetary problems once again and this was shown by lack of maintenance. Even with poor equipment, Bamford was still receiving high ridership right up to the PAT takeover.

When PAT took over Bamford, only 26 buses were in the fleet. The takeover was delayed by several months due to arguments over the value of the equipment. All acquired Bamford coaches were scrapped almost immediately due to the extremely poor condition. As a side note, PAT had required Bamford to lease some ex-Penn Transit Company buses to hold down service even before any takeovers were done.

Even with the problems, Bamford was one of the larger of the Pittsburgh Independents and its ridership, even at the time it was taken over by PAT, was extremely high.

Acquired Equipment (with PAT number if re-numbered)
Bamford Number Make Model Year PAT Number
59 FitzJohn 310 1946 -
84-87 FitzJohn 310 1946 -
88 FitzJohn 310 1947 -
89 FitzJohn 310 1951 -
90-91 FitzJohn FTG 1951 -
92-93 FitzJohn FTG 1952 -
94 Ford F700 1952 -
95 FitzJohn FTG 1952 -
96 FitzJohn FTG 1953 -
97 International Schoolbus 1954 -
98 FitzJohn 310 1948 -
99 FitzJohn 310 1949 -
101 International Schoolbus 1953 -
102-103 GMC Schoolbus 1957 -
104 FitzJohn 635-D 1954 -
105 Brill C-44 1950 -
106-108 Mack C-41-GT 1947 -
110 FitzJohn FTG 1952 -

Note: Coach 95 was a demonstrator purchased in 1953

Coaches 98,99,104,105,106-108,110 were all purchased used

Coaches 106-107 were converted to Mack Diesel and 108 was converted to a GM 6-71 Diesel

Coach 110 was converted to Diesel

None of these coaches were renumbered

Routes (shown with PAT numbers)
55C Whitaker
55D Homestead Park
55E Brierly Lane
55F New Homestead - Calhoun Village
55G Terrace
55H Duquesne
55T Homestead - Continental Can
55U Homestead - South Park

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This page was updated on June 13, 2008

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