LATL – LAMTA – SCRTD 3165: What might have been

By Ralph Cantos

Had the LAMTA not abandoned LA’s excellent PCC system in on March 31,1963, the 164 well-maintained cars might have gone on to render smooth, quiet, pollution free rail service for many more years.

But, it was not to be.

City politics, and a bus-minded LAMTA “shafted” patrons of rail lines R-S-J-P and V with an unwanted bus conversion. The P line especially, with its modern, state of the art, all-electric P-3’s, carried capacity passenger loads all day long on headways as short as 3 minutes. No other surface streetcar line in America, could come close to the service and passengers loadings, as did the P line.

When buses took over the “service,” EVERYTHING on the 5 former cars went to hell. Today, bus service on Pico Blvd. is a shell of its former self. It’s just another bus line. I use to ride the P line 5 days a week. When the buses took over, I gave the new service a chance, but after just two agonizing weeks of inferior service, I said the hell with this, and like so many citizens of Los Angeles, began to drive my own car, never to return to LA’s inferior transit system, until the opening of the Blue Line.

Harry D. Peat Model and Photo
Ralph Cantos Collection

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