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PRE-SEMTA SUBURBAN BUSES - Pg. 3
CLICK-ON "SUBURBAN BUSES-Pg. 3" TO VIEW GREAT LAKES TRANSIT COACH PHOTOS
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The transit vehicles displayed on these Suburban Photo Pages were purchased by the
privately-owned bus companies that serviced Detroit's suburbs before being acquired by
the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority
(SEMTA) between 1971-1975.
Please click-on link to return to the "SUBURBAN TRANSIT" Main Page.
GREAT LAKES TRANSIT CORPORATION (1958–1974)
THE GREAT LAKES TRANSIT YEARS: (1958–1974)
Great Lakes Transit was a privately-owned suburban Detroit bus company that serviced Detroit's northern
and downriver suburbs, including  Wyandotte, Trenton, Southfield, Birmingham, Roseville, Pontiac, Mt.
Clemens, and all suburbs in between.  Even though as many as 90 routes could be attributed to the operation, the
routes branched off of one of three trunk lines along Gratiot Ave., W. Jefferson Ave., or Woodward Ave.

The early local history of this company indirectly goes back to the Detroit United Railway Co. (DUR), which
during the early 20th century operated a vast network of Interurban rail lines across southeastern Michigan.  
Although privately-owned,
Great Lakes Transit was the only suburban Detroit bus company that was a
subsidiary of a large national transit company at time it was acquired by
SEMTA, and was also the largest of the
local suburban bus companies to operate in the region.  
With the passage of Public Act 327 0f 1972, state funds were now available through a 2¢ per gallon gasoline
tax that allowed
SEMTA to begin purchasing Detroit's financially-strapped suburban bus companies.

Initially, these funds were used by
SEMTA to enter into a number of short-term "purchase-of-services"
agreements, where
SEMTA would pay these bus companies (including Metro Transit) for maintaining service on
their own routes.  This arrangement managed to keep those companies in operation until purchased by
SEMTA.

Effective January 1, 1974,
SEMTA took-over operation of the Metro Transit routes, which formed SEMTA's
new
Metropolitan Division.  At the time of purchase, Metropolitan Transit, Inc. operated 60 GM
'New-Look' buses along 14 routes.  Today, these routes are serviced by the
SMART #100 and 200-series routes.
In March 1960, Intertown Suburban was purchased again, and became a subsidiary of American Transit
Corp.
(ATC), a national bus company.  Under ATC, 40-foot buses were purchased for the first time and several
new school tripper agreements were signed.  But
ATC's ownership would be short-lived, as more labor problems
lay just ahead.  On August 1, 1961, drivers and maintenance workers from
Local 1265 of the Amalgamated
Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America
(now, ATU)  struck
the company for the last time.  After 64 days, and no agreement reached, the company announced that it will be
ceasing operations.  On December 31, 1961,
Intertown Suburban Lines would officially go out of business.
New owners took over the company in 1946, who, in Oct. 1950, renamed Dearborn Coach Co. (along with its
subsidiary
Lincoln Park Coach Co) as, "Intertown Suburban Lines, Corp."  By 1955, the company had
grown to 153 buses and operated nearly 30 routes.   However,
Intertown—much like its predecessor had since
1941—continued to be plagued by a number of union employee strikes.  These strikes were so numerous that the
City of Dearborn had threatened to launch its own city-owned bus company to replace the
Intertown service.
THE EASTERN MICHIGAN MOTORBUS YEARS: (1928–19xx)
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In addition to the fifteen 35-foot (45-pass) TDH-4509s purchased in 1951–1952, more fleets of
35-footers were on the way.  Beginning in 1953 — the same year GM made "air-ride suspension"
standard on its old-looks — ten Model TDH-4512s
(#126-135) were purchased.  Additional fleets
followed in 1954
(10); 1955 (5); 1956 (30) and in 1957 (10).  Out of a fleet of 110 GM Old-Looks,
15 were TDH-4509s and 65 were TDH-4512s.   Coach #207 in photo was one of the last ten
TDH-4512s
(#201-210), and the last Old-Looks delivered to Intertown Suburban in February
1957.  It is seen here working route #1-A DETROIT-WAYNE
VIA MICHIGAN AVENUE.
[photo used for educational purposes only.  No copyright infringement intended]
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In early 1962, Bert Jasper — former president of Intertown Suburban — managed to gather together ten
investors; obtain the proper approvals; purchase back some of the buses; and formed
Metropolitan Transit,
Inc.
 After six long months of idle buses, service would resume on February 19, 1962, with 60 buses, all based
out of the
Dearborn Garage.  Although some routes were immediately eliminated, new service was later added.
During the mid-1960s,
Metro Transit contracted with the Ford Motor Co. to shuttle workers within the
Rouge auto plant and to also transport tourists from Greenfield Village to plant tours through the Ford Rouge
complex.   By 1968, the
Metro bus fleet had increased to 78 coaches operating along 14 bus routes.
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Coach #15 was one of five GM Model TDH-5303s (#14-18) delivered to Metro Transit in May  
1965.  In this Nov. 1978 photo, it is still sporting its Metro Transit colors four years after Metro
had been purchased by SEMTA.   All 36 of the 40-foot GM TDH-5301s, TDH-5303s and
T6H-5305s purchased by Metro Transit between 1962 and 1968 were assigned numbers #1-36.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Coach #16 was also part of that May 1965 order, and is pictured here laying-over on St. Antoine
south of Jefferson Ave. in 1978.  In addition to the thirty-six 40-foot New-Looks purchased,
two additional 40-foot suburban edition Model SDM-5302
(manual transmission) New-Looks
(#101-102) were also purchased by Metro in March 1967.   Ten Model T8H-5307As (#37-46)
were later purchased by SEMTA in 1972 and leased to Metro Transit for #1.00 a year per bus.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Metro Transit also purchased ten 35-foot Model TDH-4519 and T6H-4521 GM 'New-Looks'
(#2012-2021)
between 1964–1969.  It had also acquired Intertown Suburban's first two original
TDH-4517s
(#2010-2011) purchased by ATC in 1960.  Coach #2015 — one of two TDH-4519s
(#2014-2015) delivered in Sept. 1965 — is seen here in 1978 still sporting its Ford Rouge color
scheme
(minus the Ford blue oval logo) used on Metro Transit's Ford Rouge Factory tour buses.
[Melvin Bernero photobucket.com collection, used by permission of Melvin Bernero]
Metropolitan Transit coach #179 was one of ten 35-foot long, 96-inch wide, 45-passenger
Model TDH-4512s
(#171-180) initially delivered to Intertown Suburban Lines in Feb. 1956.  It's
pictured here in this Aug 1969 photo south on Randolph at Congress displaying a "VETERANS
HOSPITAL" sign and en route to the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Allen Park.  All of the
GM 'Old-Looks' were already retired when SEMTA took-over Metro Transit on Jan. 1, 1974.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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THE COMPANY'S FIRST GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES
The first GM 'New-Looks' to be placed into service were purchased during the brief period when
Intertown Suburban Lines was owned by American Transit Corp.  Twelve GM 'New-Look'
coaches
(#2010, 2011, 2013-2017 and 2125-2129) were purchased between 1960–61, including
five Model TDH-5301s
(#2013-2017) — the first 40-foot coaches to be used by Intertown.
However, all but two of the buses were returned to ATC after it shut-down the company in 1961.
After purchasing ten 30-foot GM TDH-3612s (#101-110) between 1947–1948, fifteen 35-foot
TDH-4509s
(#111-125) were purchased between 1951–1952.   In top photo, one of ten 35-foot
TDH-4512s delivered in 1954 can be seen parked outside the Dearborn Garage on Hartwell.  
The Dearborn Garage
(built in 1926) would remain in operation until closed by SEMTA in 1978.
In bottom photo, ten new 30-foot (37-pass) TDH-3714s (#146-155) are lined up for delivery in
Sept 1954.  In total, 20 TDH-3714s were purchased, with ten more being delivered in 1955.  
[GM promotional photos courtesy of GMC Truck & Coach Sales Brochure]
For Comments & Suggestions Please Contact Site Owner at: admin@detroittransithistory.info
© 2013  (PAGE MODIFIED ON 07-28-13, 01-31-15, 04-28-15)
Information for the above was gathered from various newspaper articles supplied by Stan Sycko; numerous bus enthusiasts websites; and
from Motor Coach Age Magazine articles on the history of Detroit's suburban lines co-authored by Jack E. Schramm and Robert L. Cambell,
including the Oct-Dec 2002 edition titled "Detroit's Suburban Buses" and the Oct-Dec 2003 edition "SEMTA and SMART."
Although the city of Detroit took-over operations of the DUR's city street railway system on May. 15, 1922,  the
company continued to operate a large Interurban network
, linking a number of cities    However, with the rise of
intercity bus     the DUR would also turn to
operating buses in place of its interurban cars.

One of the first bus companies operated by the DUR was the Peoples'
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In 1933,
Dearborn Coach began providing service within the city of Lincoln Park, which operated as a separate
division under the name
Lincoln Park Coach Co.  This new division operated out of a garage on Fort Street
near Goddard in Lincoln Park.  In 1937, a Lincoln Park route along Fort Street to downtown Detroit was added.
By 1935,
Dearborn Coach had creased operations north of Dearborn—having sold its Northville and Plymouth
routes to focus on Dearborn, Lincoln Park, and the suburbs along Michigan Ave., Southfield Rd., and Fort St.
THE DETROIT UNITED RAILWAY (DUR) YEARS: (19xx–1928)
GM "OLD-LOOK" COACHES
After the new owners took over Dearborn Coach Co. in 1946, the decision was made to begin
standardizing the bus fleet with GM diesel buses.  Between 1947 and 1957, the company would
purchase 110 various-size models of GM 'Old-Look' diesel coaches
(#101-210).  In this GM
Truck & Coach promotional photo, Intertown Suburban Lines coach #140 — a 1954 GM Model
TDH-4512 — is headed west on Fort St. at Sixth while sporting the Intertown Suburban colors.
[photo courtesy of the Samuel Braxton Jr. Bus Photo Collection]
GM "NEW-LOOK" COACHES
Under Metropolitan Transit, forty-eight of the 40-foot long GM New Looks would be purchased
between 1962 and 1972, including ten that were leased from SEMTA.   In this August 1969
photo, Metro Transit coach #22 is laying-over on Shelby south of Michigan Ave. in downtown
Detroit while working route #4-A DETROIT-WESTLAND CENTER
VIA CHERRY HILL.  Coach
#22 was one of five GM Model TDH-5303s
(#19-23)  delivered to Metro Transit in July 1966.
[photo courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson archive collection: G. Mac Sebree photo]
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Coach #2018 — one of two TDH-4519s (#2018-2019) delivered in July 1967 — is seen here still
sporting its Ford blue oval logo a few years after the SEMTA take-over.  For a number of years,
FoMoCo chartered Metro Transit buses to transport tourists along the Ford Rouge Factory Tour
route from Greenfield Village, and also shuttled workers within the plant.  Notice that the GM
nameplate on these buses had been replaced by the coach number with the Ford logo bolted
along the side — more than likely an attempt to remove any identification associated with GM.
[Photo courtesy of MCA (Oct-Dec 2002 issue) used for educational purposes]
(Click-on photo to view larger image)
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COACHES PURCHASED BY METRO TRANSIT & PREVIOUS COMPANIES IFROM 1945 THRU 1974
FLEET
NUMBER
MAKE
MODEL
NUMBER
YEAR
SEAT
CAP.
FLEET INFORMATION (MISC.)
DEARBORN COACH CO.  (1932-1950)
 
101-108
GM
TDH-3610
1947
36
GM Old-Look – 30-foot diesel
109-110
GM
TDH-3610
1948
36
GM Old-Look – 30-foot diesel
INTERTOWN SUBURBAN LINES  (1950-1960)
 
111-120
GM
TDH-4509
1951
41
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel – paired-window design now standard
121-125
GM
TDH-4509
1952
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel
126-135
GM
TDH-4512
1953
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel – air-suspension now standard equipm't
136-145
GM
TDH-4512
1954
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel
146-155
GM
TDH-3714
1954
37
GM Old-Look – 30-foot diesel
156-157
GM
TDH-3714
1955
37
GM Old-Look – 30-foot diesel
158-162
GM
TDH-4512
1955
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel
163-170
GM
TDH-3714
1955
37
GM Old-Look – 30-foot diesel
171-200
GM
TDH-4512
1956
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel  (Three 10-coach deliveries)
201-210
GM
TDH-4512
1957
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel
INTERTOWN SUBURBAN LINES - American Transit Corp. (ATC) subsidiary  (1960-1961)
* 4756-4763
GM
TDH-4507
1948
*(1960)
45
GM Old-Look – 35-foot diesel  (*Borrowed from Great Lakes Transit (ATC))
(Fleet returned to American Transit Corp.(ATC))
2010-2011
GM
TDH-4517
1960
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel  (Coaches retained by Metro Transit)
2013-2017
GM
TDH-5301
1960
53
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
(Fleet sent to Great Lakes Transit (ATC) upon shut-down of Intertown)
2125-2129
GM
TDH-4517
1961
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel
(Fleet returned to American Transit Corp upon shut-down of Intertown)
METROPOLITAN (METRO) TRANSIT  (1962-1974)
 
1-2
GM
TDH-5301
1962
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
3-8
GM
TDH-5303
1963
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel (Second Generation 40-ft New-Looks begin)
9-13
GM
TDH-5303
1964
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
2012-2013
GM
TDH-4519
1964
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel (Second Generation 35-ft New-Looks begin)
14-18
GM
TDH-5303
1965
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
2014-2017
GM
TDH-4519
1965
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel
19-23
GM
TDH-5303
1966
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
101-102
GM
SDM-5302
1967
49
GM New-Look (Suburban) – 40-foot diesel – manual transmission
2018-2019
GM
TDH-4519
1967
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel
24-28
GM
TDH-5303
1967
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel
29-36
GMC
T6H-5305
1968
52
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel (Third Generation New-Looks)
2020-2021
GMC
T6H-4521
1969
45
GM New-Look – 35-foot diesel (Third Generation New-Looks)
37-46
GMC
T8H-5307A
1972
41
GM New-Look – 40-foot diesel (V-8) – air-conditioned (Fourth Generation)
(Fleet owned by SEMTA - Leased to Metro Transit)
NOTE: Coach numbers highlighted in Yellow still on roster when SEMTA purchased Metro Transit on Jan. 1, 1974
SOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY PURCHASE
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In 1975, SEMTA adopted a standard paint scheme design for its bus fleet.  Those former Metro
Transit coaches still on the roster after 1975 were repainted with this new livery.  Coach #17 — a
Model TDH-5303
(second generation) GM "New-Look" delivered to Metropolitan Transit
in May 1965, can be seen here sporting the new SEMTA color scheme while working the route
#810 Plymouth-Livonia Park & Ride — one of several new routes launched by SEMTA.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
Coach #31 — a Model T6H-5305 (third generation) GMC "New-Look" delivered to Metropolitan
Transit in Dec. 1968, can be seen here sporting the new SEMTA colors while working former
Metropolitan Transit route #2-B Garden City-Westland.  One of eight coaches purchased in
1968
(#29-36), these would be the last 40-foot coaches to be purchased by Metro Transit.
[photo source: online – unknown (unidentified) photo collection]
THE GREAT LAKES GREYHOUND YEARS: (1950–1961)