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City Transit Company (CTC)

After the 1955 merger with D-X the corporate name was changed to City Transit -- after all, there were no railways remaining -- it was all ETB. The red, green, maroon, and orange all were now becoming the yellow and gold that had been on City Railway cars since the mid-1890s. After the consolidation was complete, serious re-routing was initiated, something that couldn't be done with five separate companies. The flip-flopping of route partners is too complex to narrate here, but it is all preserved in the route histories in the appendix attached.

After the consolidation was completed in 1956, everything painted yellow, an up-from-the-ranks executive from City Railway, W. W. "Bill" Owen, came into the front chair at City Transit. Bill loved the trolley bus, but he was faced with the fact that many of the coaches were now approaching the end of their useful life. He also was faced with the more significant problem that all city transit properties across the nation were now seeing -- that of seriously declining ridership. Everybody was driving their own private automobile and not using public transit.

Across the country other cities were abandoning their ETB system in favor of the diesel motor bus. Some cities had ETB's that had many good miles left, and were available for junk prices. Bill bought. Good trolley wire was available at junk price. Bill bought. He even extended ETB lines into suburban areas hoping to entice those new residents onto his trolleys. But to no avail -- they kept buying more and more private cars. Money from the fare box (there was no subsidy) could not support the level of service Dayton was accustomed to. Bill cut back on runs, but kept the trolley system intact. He tried all sorts of innovative marketing and publicity stunts.

So before we move to the conclusion of the private era of Dayton transit, let us review one of Bill's more memorable marketing efforts, the Christmas Trolley. This single bus (and its follow-ons) stands in the minds of most Dayton residents (and visitors from afar) as the transit local legacy most fondly remembered to this day.

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