The Community Transit System
(CTS) came into being as a result of 10 Penn Bus Company employee's, along with 6 others,
purchasing a single line from Pittsburgh to Avella in Washington County. This line can be
traced back to 1920 from a local route that was started by an unknown operator with the
origination starting in Bridgeville and extending towards the Washington County line.
became part of the West Penn system in 1929 under the Penn Bus Lines name and was extended
to Pittsburgh. Penn Bus Company was formed in 1931 to succeed Penn Bus Lines and bring
other carriers under West Penn's system under one name. Although Penn Transit in
McKeesport also descended from Penn Bus Lines, the Penn Bus Company operation became part
of the Blue Ridge operation which was the trade name used for West Penn's interurban bus
system. Penn Transit Company had no ties with the part of the operation run by Penn Bus
Company even though they shared the same corporate owner.
formed, the CTS began operations with 2 ex-Penn Bus Company TG-3608's and 10 ex-West Penn
Railways TDH-3612's. The 3612's were only a few years old when acquired as West Penn
Railways decided to give up transit operations in its operating territory. Operations
began on August 12, 1953 on the single route which ran from Pittsburgh to Avella via the
West End, Noblestown Road, Carnegie, Heidelberg, Bridgeville, Cecil and Bishop with a
variation in Carnegie of Main Street and Carothers or Washington Avenue routings.
off the CTS's single line followed. The first was approved by the PUC in December 1953 and
went from Bridgeville to Fairview on Boyce Road. A second, and seasonal only route, was
approved in June of 1954 to serve Cabana Beach Park in Cecil. In December of 1955, the PUC
approved an alternate routing which served Mayer Heights via Prestley Road. The only
location the PUC imposed restrictions against local traffic was between Pittsburgh and
Carnegie and this restriction remained the entire time of CTS's existence.
CTS didn't have many new buses. The first buses purchased new were purchased in 1957 when
4 TDH4512's were received from GM. The second group of new buses arrived in 1963 and were
40 foot TDH5304's, a rarity in Pittsburgh. From the production listings of these orders,
it appears that Community may have purchased some cancelled orders (before the bus was
built but after the serial was assigned as the Final Delivery Record does list CTS as the
purchaser) from GM as the serial numbers are scattered through the year. These new buses
held down the base schedule while the second hand equipment was used for rush hours,
replacement trips and extra trips. Unlike Penn Transit Company, which also had various
Divisions, the CTS didn't swap buses between divisions as both Divisions had proper
on April 1, 1961, CTS created the Allegheny Valley Division to service the 3 routes and 16
buses it had purchased from the Harmony Short Line which went out of business. The
original CTS operation became the Bridgeville Division once the Allegheny Valley Division
was created. It is speculated by some that the CTS purchased these lines due to the
history tie in with Penn Bus Company as one of the Harmony routes acquired was originally
a Penn Bus Company route and all were way out of CTS's original service area.
CTS added additional midday trips to the new routes as "Shoppers Specials".
Additional changed included cutting back many trips on the Pittsburgh - New Kensington via
East Liberty route to Oakmont as well as a complete reorganization of the Arnold-Natrona
were a total of 47 buses assigned to both divisions. While the Bridgeville Division was
the original division, many people associate CTS with the Allegheny Valley Division and
directly link the CTS to the Harmony Short Line. This is just perhaps yet another example
showing how strong the Harmony Short Line heritage was in the Pittsburgh area.
Bridgeville Division garage of the CTS was located in Sygan, just west of Bridgeville. The
Allegheny Valley Division used the former Harmony Short Line garage in Tarentum as
main operating facility. The CTS also leased some space at the former Harmony garage in
Oakmont (which happened to originally be owned by Penn Bus Company) to store some buses.
When PAT took over the CTS, PAT used the Sygan facility was used as both an operating
garage as well as a storage facility for buses PAT almost immediately retired after
takeover. The area of the Sygan garage looks pretty much the same today as it did in 1964.