Local bus service started in
McKeesport in 1923 under the name of the Highland Grove Bus Company. This was a
predecessor of the recently defunct Highland Grove Traction Company which operated
streetcars between Highland Grove and McKeesport, mostly on Pittsburgh Railways trackage
in the McKeesport area.
Gust Siahos started bus
operations on a route between Wilmerding and Wall in 1924. In 1925, he purchased the
rights to the Highland Grove Bus Company, which ran one route, and began operations as the
McKeesport Transit Company. A second route was added in 1929 from East Pittsburgh to
Turtle Creek and Monroeville. The Wilmerding - Wall route was also brought into the
company in 1929, which until then, had been running under a separate permit.
Siahos added some
partners to the operation in 1927. It is unclear as to the reason why but in 1934, Siahos
pulled the Wilmerding - Wall route back out of the McKeesport Transit Company but retained
his interest in the company. The Wilmerding - Wall route was operated by Siahos personally
and was known as the Wall Bus Line or the Wilmerding & Wall Bus Line.
The Wall Bus Line
used McKeesport Transit Company equipment. The buses were usually on a temporary basis but
a few were permanent loans and were painted with the 'Wilmerding & Wall Bus Line'
In 1938, McKeesport
Transit purchased the East Pittsburgh - Linhart - Universal route from Niehl
Transportation Company. This purchase included charter rights and McKeesport Transit
operated the line until 1951 when it was sold to Austin Motor Coach, a new but unrelated
company set up to operate the line.
In 1943 the company
underwent a reorganization or sorts when the original corporation was dissolved and
replaced by a partnership between Siahos and Peter Sampas who was one of the original
investors. This arrangement stayed until Sampas retired from the business in 1956.
An additional line
was added in 1950 which was actually a branch off of the existing McKeesport - East
Pittsburgh route. This branch ran to Braddock. This line proved to be less than successful
and was eliminated in 1961.
McKeesport never had
GM equipment. Instead it had a mix of Ford, Beaver, Reo, White and FitzJohn coaches.
McKeesport Transit also purchased a cheaper International pusher chassis with a Superior
transit body in 1961.
Siahos died a month
before the PAT takeover occurred. Up to the end, the Wall Bus Line was maintained
separately from McKeesport Transit Company and was treated as a separate acquisition by