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London Transportation Commission

London Transportation Commission
Plaque no. 17
Date of plaque unveiling
29 March 1974
Speakers
Rev. L.G. Cracknell, Chairman, London Transportation Commission
Location
149 Dundas Street, London, Ontario (at the southwest corner of Dundas and Richmond streets, present site of Market Tower), inside the entrance by McDonald's

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History

Transit service in London was first supplied by the privately-owned London Street Railway Company (LSR), which was incorporated in 1873 and began operation in 1875.  The city’s population of 18,500 was served by horse-drawn cars traveling on three miles of track on Dundas Street, employing six horses and four drivers.

In the first year of operations the line was extended east to Salter’s Grove (now Queen’s Park), and north on Richmond Street from Dundas Street to Oxford Street.  Service continued to expand, and when the system was changed to electric-powered streetcars in 1895 (five years after electric lights came into use), track length totaled almost twenty-four miles.  Electric power was supplied by the General Electric Company until 1896, when the LSR began operating its own steam-powered, electricitygenerating plant on Bathurst Street.

In 1923, the first gasoline-powered bus was introduced on the Quebec Street route. The changeover to an all-bus system was gradual, and was planned so that the final streetcar line (on Dundas Street) would cease operating on December 1, 1940.  A heavy snowstorm that damaged many power lines advanced this date to November 29, 1940.

In 1950, the city acquired the system from the London Street Railway for $1,000,000, after a rate-payers’ referendum had turned down the previous asking price of $1,325,000.  An earlier referendum had rejected the idea of an entirely new system at a cost of $1, 895,000 in favour of purchasing the London Street Railway system. In 1951, the City of London Act, Chapter 107, establishing a city-owned system, was passed by the Ontario Legislature.

The transit system, under the name of the London Transportation Commission, has continued to operate under this Act.

In 1972, municipal and provincial subsidies were implemented to maintain reasonable fares and assist municipalities with urban traffic problems.