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Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive

Metro’s Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive is one of the most comprehensive transit operator-owned library resources in the United States. As the only multimodal transportation library in Southern California, we serve employees, the public, governments and research institutions. Our origins date back to the days of our public transportation predecessors, the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway (1895) and Pacific Electric Railway (1899). Our family tree of direct predecessors can be found on PeoplePlotr and L.A.’s transportation history timeline can be found on TikiToki .

The Library was renamed The Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors in October, 2001.  Our name commemorates the distinguished 13-year career that built our transportation library into one of the nation's finest.  We are recognized for providing the research, resources, history, and archives that give context to transportation issues and history in Los Angeles and Southern California, as well as leadership within the transportation research community. Our library catalog is accessible 24/7 at

We partner with a number of local, national, and international entities in cooperative ventures and information sharing. We also work with the National Transportation Library and the Transportation Research Board to improve the availability of transportation-related information needed by federal, state and local decision-makers.  We provide timely access to information supporting transportation policy, research, operations, and technology transfer. You can find more of our curated information online via our Primary Resources blog and our Los Angeles focused Transportation Headlines blog.

Our Flickr photostream contains thousands of unique historic images organized into collections and photosets to assist you with comprehensive research, searching by keyword tags or with a map depicting where photographs were taken.

Our YouTube channel brings together not only our own historic (and often humorous) video collection, but content provided by others to present a comprehensive look at Los Angeles transit and transportation via the moving image.

We utilize Google Custom Search Engines for various special collections of websites and digitized material. Search Public Transit Agencies websites for fares, routes, data, reports, research, press releases, budgets, policies, programs, and other transit industry information, Search Metro’s Board of Directors ’ Archive, Search Metro Press Releases 1994-present, Search California Highways Magazine 1924–1967, Search Metro’s Employee Newsmagazines 1920-2010.

You can also find/follow us on Facebook , Google+ , Tumblr , HistoryPin , Twitter and the Online Archive of California .

For reference questions, please email us at

Resources Available

Our collection contains approximately 250,000 items of significance to Los Angeles transportation history from 1873 to the present.  This includes 45,000 books, reports, studies, conference proceedings, plans, maps, and drawings, 20,000 microfiche reports, more than 20,000 photographs and images, over 700 videos, several thousand ephemera, and a growing collection of publicly-accessible full-text digital documents. The Library catalog can be searched via the Internet as well as from Internet-capable mobile devices .

Reference Service

Reference service is available to employees and the general public during open hours.  This service includes quick reference queries via telephone 213.922.4859 or by email at .  In-depth assistance is provided in-house. Please contact us for appointments or more information.

Literature Searching

Extensive reference service is facilitated through the use of online systems, including the Dialog Information System which contains over 600 databases covering all disciplines.  Two Dialog databases of primary interest to Metro are the Transportation Research Information Service (TRIS) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).  TRIS is exclusively devoted to the transportation literature and NTIS contains a significant percentage of abstracts on transportation subject matters.  All 600 databases, however, are available and used as requested.  Both TRIS and NTIS can now be searched by anyone via the Internet free of charge.  Under special circumstances, public patrons may request a Dialog search.  A service fee of $10.00 plus payment for the cost of the search is required.  Checks are made payable to Metro.  Other online systems used in the Library include Lexis-Nexis, as well as transportation, academic or public libraries' online catalogs available through the Internet.  Three Internet accounts are assigned to the Library and are earmarked for employees and the public.  No personal email or usenet (newsgroup) features are available on these accounts.

Collection Development

Developing the most useful collection of the Library's materials requires active knowledge of the focus, ongoing goals, and objectives of Metro to ensure that selections are made with a sensitivity to the overall agency needs, current trends and directions for the future.  Our primary areas of focus are: Transportation Planning, Transit Operations, Intelligent Transportation Systems, General Transportation Research, Transportation Safety, Heavy and Light Rail Construction, Transit Systems Engineering, Urban Planning, Land Use, Local Governance, Labor Relations, Performance Measurement, Government Finance, Employee Development, Public Art, and Los Angeles as a subject.

Staff requests and suggestions for purchase or subscription will be considered by the Library Administrator in context of budget availability and fit with the Library's mission. Materials determined to be related and pertinent to Metro objectives are generally ordered as requested.

Acquisitions and Donations

Currently published literature (books, reports, studies, theses, dissertations, guides, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, etc.), rare and historical monographs, periodicals, CD-ROM, videocassette and DVD products are purchased through various publishers and library distributors. Some items are donated by staff, others are obtained from other transportation agencies, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the American Planning Association (APA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and other agency reports are obtained selectively.  The Library has maintained a transportation research reports microfiche subscription from National Technical Information Service (NTIS) since 1976.

The acceptance of all gifts of books, serials, music, pictures, prints, films and other library materials is delegated to the Library Administrator.  His/her judgment is based on the suitability of the gift, value to the Library, the condition of the gift and the cost to handle and process the gift for Library use.  Materials donated to the Library become the property of the Library and will be handled as the Library deems most appropriate.  Donated materials are cataloged if they advance the mission of the Library and/or meet a unique need in the collection as deemed by professional Library staff.

The Library cannot offer guarantees that donated material will become part of the Library collection.  The Library reserves the right to distribute materials as they see fit.  Donated materials may be cataloged, recycled, disposed of as surplus, or discarded at the Library's discretion.  The Library may acknowledge the receipt of donations but will not perform appraisals for donated items.  The donor will assess his or her own donation for tax purposes.  Evaluation must be made by outside appraisers at the donor's expense.

Donations by contractors to Metro must comply with Metro's Code of Ethics.  The gift of books, reports, pamphlets, calendars and periodicals are specifically exempted by the Code and State law.  Donation of other items should be reviewed by Metro's Ethics Department.


Books are fully cataloged to provide accurate and appropriate bibliographic access.  The five basic tools are: 1) the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd.ed., which is the national standard for descriptive cataloging and choice and form of entries; 2) the Library of Congress Classification schedules, which are the official schedules for assigning Library of Congress class call numbers; 3) the Library of Congress Subject Headings, the official thesaurus and vocabulary for terminology which facilitates the uniform access and retrieval of items in U.S. library collections; 4) the Transportation Research Thesaurus, which provides a common and consistent vocabulary and taxonomy between producers and users of the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database; and, 5) the OCLC bibliographic utility, as well as its manuals and website, which are used to determine the proper method of transcribing cataloging information into the OCLC database.


Most materials circulate for 14 days and may be checked out by Metro employees, student interns, Board members and consultants only.  New books circulate for 14 days with the option of a 7 day renewal.  Videos, DVDs, books marked "Reference Only" and photographs circulate on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Library Administrator.  Overdue notices are sent daily via e-mail.  The circulation system calculates overdue fines at a cost of 5 cents per day although, at the present time, fines are not levied.

Serials (Periodicals)

Serials are shelved together within the collection for convenience.  Transportation serials are maintained as permanent subscriptions and are not circulated or routed.  Serials subscriptions information can be found on the Metro Library Subscriptions List page.  Serials titles can be found in the online catalog.

Interlibrary Loans

Interlibrary loan activity is generated by staff requests to obtain either books or journal articles on rare occasions when they are unavailable in the library and/or unavailable for purchase.  A request form is used to note pertinent bibliographic information.  The OCLC interlibrary loan database is used for this service and the library will pay up to $25 to borrow items.  In general, the library strives to purchase transportation research materials for its permanent collection.

The majority of our interlibrary loan activity is to other libraries through the worldwide OCLC network.  The Library charges a minimum of $20 or the IFM fee offered for materials borrowed.  Fees are waived for transportation libraries, Transportation Knowledge Network members, and other libraries with whom we have reciprocal loan agreements.

The library does not loan audio-visual materials, nor items from its Archives, Special Collections or Learning Resource Center.  All other interlibrary loan requests will be considered.  All requests, however, are reviewed for any potential transit system security issues.  Metro policy prohibits the loan or circulation of any security sensitive material as determined by the library staff and/or legal counsel.  Such security sensitive materials may include, but are not limited to:  technical specifications, plans, drawings, blueprints, diagrams, maps, reports, or any other printed matter, film, video tape, photographs, electronic files or data.

Miscellaneous Subject File

The Library maintains an ephemeral, subject-arranged collection of uncataloged pamphlet materials and other documents.  It includes various aspects of transportation, general planning, and other topics reflected in our general collection.

Photograph and Film/Video Reproductions

Visitors to our Flickr photostream website may use images found there according to the Creative Commons licensing agreement contained therein.  If you need photos for commercial use, publication or broadcast, please contact us for our Photo Release Form.  All photos used should include credit to "Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archive at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority," and if available, the photographer's name.

Until the digitization of the 20,000 historic photographs contained in Metro's Archives is complete and made available via the web, requests for duplicates of photographs or slides maintained in the Metro Archive are handled through a photographic vendor.  The vendor will send a messenger to retrieve and return the Library originals.  The cost of this procedure is passed on to the patron and is handled directly with the vendor. Negatives produced are retained by the Library.

If you are looking for film and video, please visit our YouTube Channel and contact us for more information.


A charge of 10 cents per page is required for personal photocopying and copies made by public patrons.  Paper copies larger than 8.5 x 11 are 15 cents.


Tours are available by appointment for individuals and groups.

Los Angeles County has been served by public transit since 1873.  During this time, at least 220 private and public companies have operated transit systems that have included horse cars, cable cars, incline railways, steam trains, electric streetcars, interurban cars, trolley buses, and gas or diesel powered buses.  The major players in this long history are noted below.

Brief Summary 1873 - present:

Main Street Railroad Company
David B. Waldron was authorized by the Los Angeles City Council on July 3, 1873 to "lay down and maintain two iron railroad tracks, thereon propelled by horses or mules, and to carry passengers thereon..."  With this charter, he formed the Main Street Railroad Company. Waldron was not strongly motivated to pursue this venture and the enterprise did not become a reality.

Spring and West 6th Street Railroad
In 1874 the Spring and 6th Street franchise was issued to Judge Robert M. Widney (also one of the founders of the University of Southern California). The company served the downtown Los Angeles area from Main Street to Spring Street, to First Street, to Fort Street (now Broadway), then to Fourth Street, Hill Street, and finally Pearl Street (now Figueroa Street). This single track horse car driven line began public transit in Los Angeles.

Main Street & Agricultural Railroad

Main Street & Agricultural Railroad Company

The Main Street and Agricultural Railroad was the first suburban line in Los Angeles. This company was chartered in November 1874 and began operation in 1875 from Old River Southern Pacific on North Spring Street.  The line operated through the city on Main Street to Washington Boulevard and extended to Agricultural Park (now Exposition Park), traveling by way of Washington, Figueroa, and Wesleyan (now University Avenue).

East Los Angeles & San Pedro Railway Company
Also founded by Robert Widney, this line was incorporated on May 1, 1875 but did not begin construction until March 1876.  It ran north from Fourth Street and was intended to lay track to the new Southern Pacific depot.  It reached only to College Street and North Broadway.  Due to low patronage, the railway company folded after just four years.

Los Angeles & Aliso Street Railroad Company
The Los Angeles and Aliso Street Railroad Company was franchised in June, 1875 and regular service began in February, 1877.  Baseball fever increased ridership and a second line, the East First Street Line, was built.  It became a cable railway in 1899.

City Railroad Company
This line was chartered in 1883 and became the first line dedicated "exclusively to public transit."  Other lines under development were primarily focused on promoting real estate.  This horse car driven system ran from the Southern Pacific Depot south and west to a terminal at Washington Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

The Central Railroad Company
Also chartered circa 1883, the Central Railroad Company was developed to consolidate with the Los Angeles & Aliso Railroad and eventually merged with the City Railroad on May 1, 1886.

Main & Fifth Street Railroad
As the name suggests, the Main & Fifth Street Railroad (which began service on July 30, 1887) ran from First and Main Streets to Fifth Street and Central Avenue.  It was electrified by the Los Angeles Railway Company in 1897.

Los Angeles & Vernon Railroad
This company operated a horse car line on Central Avenue from Fifth Street to Vernon Avenue.  It was purchased by the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway in May, 1891.

Second Street Cable Railroad Company
Founded in March 1885, the Second Street Cable Railroad Company was a single track system opening from Spring Street to Texas (Belmont Avenue).

Temple Street Cable Railway Company
This line opened on July 4, 1886.  In 1888 it was extended to Dayton Heights.  It carried more passengers than any of the other lines.

Los Angeles Cable Railway

Los Angeles Cable Railway Los Angeles Cable Railway

Incorporated in 1887, Los Angeles Cable Railway was the largest transit venture in the city, operating from Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles out to Westlake Park and Grand Avenue.  It was the last city line to convert to electrification. It was renamed the Pacific Railway Company in 1889 and was later sold to Henry E. Huntington.

Los Angeles Electric Railway Company
Charles H. Howland chartered this company on September 11, 1886.  It began operations on January 4, 1887 with the line opening from Pico Boulevard and Main Street traveling west to Harvard Boulevard.  In 1896, many of the major horse and cable cars operating in Los Angeles converted to electrical power.

Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway
The Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway was originally chartered in 1890 in Phoenix, Arizona by Moses Sherman.  It grew as Sherman negotiated to acquire additional lines.  He acquired the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company and was competing with James Crank of Pacific Railway for transit turf.  He acquired Pacific Railway in 1893 but lost it to yet another company.

Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars)

Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars) Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars) Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars)

Los Angeles Railway (1895-1945), also known as the Yellow Cars of Los Angeles, was the local streetcar transit system running down the center of city streets and connecting the city center to neighborhoods in about a six-mile radius of downtown.  There were about 642 miles of track at its peak in 1924.  An early competitor was the Los Angeles Traction Company (1894).  It was eliminated and Los Angeles Railway merged with the Main Street & Agricultural Park Street Railroad, the product of which retained the name Los Angeles Railway.  Henry E. Huntington became the owner in 1898 and maintained his interest in running the city lines.  The system slowly morphed into a bus system over the years until the last streetcar went out of service in 1963.  After a 27-year absence, light rail returned to Los Angeles with the opening of the Metro Blue Line in 1990.

Angels Flight ® Railway

Angels Flight® Railway Angels Flight® Railway Angels Flight® Railway

This little inclined cable railway was built in 1901 by Col. J.W. Eddy to give Bunker Hill residents a public access up the steep slope from Third and Hill Streets to Third and Olive Streets.  It is #4 on the list of more than 1,000 Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments.  As a traditional funicular inclined railway, Angels Flight operates with minimal power because its two cars, Olivet and Sinai , are counterbalanced and are propelled by a cable rather than by any machinery in the cars themselves.  It began operations on December 30, 1901.  On its first day of operation, it carried more than 2,000 passengers -- and it stayed in continuous operation for over 60 years.  It was temporarily dismantled in 1969, much to the dismay of many Angelenos, to make way for the Bunker Hill redevelopment project.  Service was finally restored in February, 1996 with a City Council mandate to reinstall it.  It was reopened after being rebuilt with all new machinery and with the original wood cars restored on new steel undercarriages.  It is now the only survivor from 19th to 20th turn-of-the-century development on Bunker Hill. Our collection of Angels Flight ® images can be found here.

Pacific Electric Railway Company (Red Cars)

Pacific Electric Railway Company (Red Cars)   Pacific Electric Railway Company (Red Cars)   Pacific Electric Railway Company (Red Cars)  

Henry E. Huntington completed his first line in 1902 which ran from Los Angeles to Long Beach. He later sold his shares to Southern Pacific. Various dates are cited but it is generally accepted that on August 24, 1911 ( Source: Ride the Big Red Cars ), the “Great Merger” took place when eight separate companies were merged into the Pacific Electric Railway Company.  The Pacific Electric conglomerate, developed by Huntington, consisted of a standard (4 feet, 8½ inches) gauge interurban system suitable for competing with steam railroad lines for freight or passengers.  Huntington retained the narrow gauge system (3 feet, six inches), consolidating them into the Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars). The Mount Lowe Line was the most famous use of the Pacific Electric tourist lines although beach excursions were also plentiful.

Pacific Electric Subway

Pacific Electric Subway Pacific Electric Subway Pacific Electric Subway Pacific Electric Subway

Los Angeles' Pacific Electric Subway opened on November 30, 1925.  It ran 1,045 feet under Fourth and Hill Street to a portal near Beverly and Glendale Boulevards.  The Subway Terminal Building was a notable feature of the subway.  It had 250,000 square feet of office space and five wings with natural sunlight filling most of its rooms.

By 1933, Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway had included bus passenger service, but patronage of rail and bus had been crippled by the advent of the automobile.  This resulted in even larger declines in passengers in the later forties and fifties.  One reason noted for the change to buses was the serious drought of 1924 which caused a power shortage and required Pacific Electric to limit trolley service.

Various independent bus companies sprung up with intentions of competing with the existing system.  Most were purchased or subsumed by Pacific Electric or Los Angeles Railway.  They include:

  • Los Angeles Motor Bus Company, later renamed the Los Angeles Motor Coach Company (ca. 1930)
  • LA CBD & Westside Lines (1923-1949)
  • Motor Transport Company (1922-1939)
  • Original Stage Line Los Angeles-San Fernando
  • Pasadena Ocean Park State Line
  • Studio Bus line (Hollywood-Culver City)
  • Asbury Rapid Transit System (San Fernando Valley-Hollywood-Pasadena-Los Angeles Central Business District, 1930’s-1954)

In 1955, the last line using the subway was converted to buses.

Los Angeles Transit Lines - (1945-1958)

Los Angeles Transit Lines - (1945-1958) Los Angeles Transit Lines - (1945-1958) Los Angeles Transit Lines - (1945-1958)

The controlling interest in the Los Angeles Railway was purchased from the Huntington estate by the National City Lines which was run by the five Fitzgerald Brothers.  They renamed it the Los Angeles Transit Lines and at the end of World War II, they sought to substitute buses on most of the street car lines.

Metropolitan Coach Lines - (1953-1958)

Metropolitan Coach Lines - (1953-1958) Metropolitan Coach Lines - (1953-1958) Metropolitan Coach Lines - (1953-1958)

Pacific Electric sold its passenger rail cars and buses in October, 1953 to Jesse Haugh who organized the Metropolitan Coach Lines bus company.  Service began June 19, 1955. Haugh purchased a $30 million dollar property value for only $500,000 cash with the promise that he would improve bus service and abandon the rail portions.  Metropolitan Coach Lines bought Asbury Rapid Transit on August 3, 1954.

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority - (1951-1964)

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority - (1951-1964)   Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority - (1951-1964)   Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority - (1951-1964)   Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority - (1951-1964)  

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA) was first formed as a transit planning agency by the State of California in 1951.  It was empowered to formulate plans and policy for a publicly owned and operated mass rapid transit system that would replace the crumbling infrastructure of privately owned and operated systems.  The enabling legislation mandated that the Governor appoint the LAMTA’s seven-member Board of Directors in consultation with local officials.

In 1957, the legislature gave the LAMTA the authority to purchase and operate existing privately-owned bus lines with capital provided by the sale of revenue bonds.  They acquired the Los Angeles Transit Lines (successor to Los Angeles Railway and Los Angeles Motor Bus companies), Metropolitan Coach Lines (successor to Pacific Electric Railway and other independent bus companies), and Asbury Rapid Transit System to create the first publicly-owned and publicly-governed transit system in Los Angeles, effective March 3, 1958.

The LAMTA Act of 1957 stated “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State of California to develop mass rapid transit systems in the various metropolitan areas within the State for the benefit of the people.  A necessity exists within Los Angeles County for such a system.  Because of the numerous separate municipal corporations and unincorporated populated areas in the metropolitan area, only a specially created authority can operate effectively.  Because of the unique problem presented in Los Angeles County and the facts and circumstances related to the establishment of a mass rapid transit system therein, the adoption of a special act and the creation of a special authority is required.”

Prior to the creation of a public agency to operate transit services in Los Angeles, the California Public Utilities Commission approved all fare and routes modifications, line by line.  The new LAMTA now had the power to approve those changes at the local level.

During its tenure, the LAMTA presented three major mass rapid transit system proposals for Los Angeles County, including the now infamous monorail plans.  The LAMTA’s final plan was knows as the “Backbone Route.”  It consisted of elevated rail from El Monte to downtown, continuing on as subway from downtown to Century City along Wilshire Boulevard.  The agency even held a groundbreaking ceremony in 1962 with Governor Pat Brown and the media in attendance, touting the project as vitally important.  Unfortunately, without adequate powers of its own and without state and federal funding partners (they hadn’t been formed yet), the Backbone Route project went nowhere.

In 1964, the State Legislature recognized that they had granted limited authority to the LAMTA to solve the transit problems of the Southern California area.  As the LAMTA was currently constituted, it would be unable to deliver the needed comprehensive mass rapid transit system.  It did not have the power to levy taxes for any purpose whatsoever, its Board did not wield sufficient political influence to build broad public support, and it did not have the right to acquire real property by eminent domain. While it could issue revenue bonds, it did not have sufficient revenue sources to implement a large-scale system with broad local support.

This agency was also created to develop a monorail system along the Los Angeles River.  In 1958, The Authority was allocated state funds to purchase the Metropolitan Coach Lines and the Los Angeles Transit Lines for $33.3 million, thereby marking the transition from private to public ownership and operation of transportation in Los Angeles.  The Long Beach line was discontinued under this agency on April 8, 1961.  The rest of the street cars on the five remaining lines were discontinued by March 31, 1963.

Miscellaneous bus companies acquired by LAMTA and their beginning service dates:

  • Crosstown Suburban Bus Lines (South Los Angeles County, 1961)
  • Foster Transportation Co (Alhambra, 1962)
  • Riverside City Lines (1963)
  • Glendale City Lines (1962)

Southern California Rapid Transit District - (1964-1993)

Southern California Rapid Transit District - (1964-1993) Southern California Rapid Transit District - (1964-1993) Southern California Rapid Transit District - (1964-1993) Southern California Rapid Transit District - (1964-1993)

State legislation enable the creation of the SCRTD on August 22, 1964 to serve the Southern California region, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  This Agency superseded the LAMTA and was mandated to improve bus systems and design and build a transit system for Los Angeles.  Bus improvements were recognized in the development of the El Monte Busway in 1974 and its Mini bus service in the Central Business District.  The SCRTD was successful in securing federal funding for a backbone rapid transit system: the Metro Rail subway project. The SCRTD, like its predecessor, also acquired local suburban bus companies.  They included:

  • Pasadena City Lines (Pasadena local lines - 1940-67)
  • Inglewood City Lines (Inglewood local lines - 1942-67)
  • Blue & White Bus Company (South L.A. local lines - 1967-1971)
  • Eastern City Transit (East L.A. local lines - 1949-1971)
  • San Pedro Motor Bus Association - (1961-1973)
  • Highland Transit (San Pedro - 1938-1972)
  • San Pedro Transit Lines (Harbor City-San Pedro - 1961-1973)
  • Western Greyhound Lines (Long Beach-Santa Monica Lines - 1923-1974)
  • Ontario-Upland Bus Lines - (1928-1973)
  • Pomona Valley Municipal Transit System - (1966-1972)

In 1973, the State formed County public transportation agencies for Orange (OCTD now OCTA), Riverside (RTA) and San Bernardino (OmniTrans) Counties, giving local control to their rapidly growing populations.

Los Angeles County Transportation Commission - (1976-1993)

Los Angeles County Transportation Commission - (1976-1993) Los Angeles County Transportation Commission - (1976-1993) Los Angeles County Transportation Commission - (1976-1993) Los Angeles County Transportation Commission - (1976-1993)

In 1976, the California state legislature enacted Assembly Bill #1246 which created the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) to oversee public transit (bus and rail, shuttles, dial-a-ride, paratransit) and highway policy in the nation's largest county.  The legislation, drafted by Assemblyman Walter Ingalls, required LACTC to approve all plans and funding with respect to transit capital development, transit operations and highway capital development.  LACTC's authority over highways was ultimately subject to approval by the California State Transportation Commission.  The authority of LACTC was similar to that of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in New York or the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in Chicago, except that these organizations have little or no jurisdiction over highways.  LACTC is credited with the construction of the Metro Blue Line, Metro Green Line and completing construction of the Metro Red Line.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency ("Metro" : 1993 - present)

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency ("Metro" : 1993 - present) Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency ("Metro" : 1993 - present) Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency ("Metro" : 1993 - present) Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency ("Metro" : 1993 - present)

The California State Legislature created the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) in April, 1993 via a merger of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the Southern California Rapid Transit District.  "Transit" was expanded to "Transportation" as the agency combined both county-wide roles of the two predecessor agencies.  The LACMTA is responsible for operating the clean air CNG-powered Metro bus fleet, Rapid Bus lines, and Metro's Blue Line, Red Line, Green Line, and Gold Line.  In addition to our operating function, we plan, fund and construct multimodal transportation solutions throughout Los Angeles County.

Other Transit Systems Operating in Los Angeles

The following systems (and their beginning services dates) operate independently or in their own municipalities but also interface with LACMTA service.

Metrolink - Metrolink began operations on October 26, 1992 through funding in part from the LACTC.  The rail right-of-way was purchased from the Southern Pacific Railroad as part of a $345 million acquisition price for the entire system.  It operates under the auspices of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority and presently carries an average of 24,000 daily passengers, on six routes, over 416 miles of track, and serves 45 train stations throughout six counties.

Access Services Inc. - This service is designed exclusively for passengers requiring specialized transportation vehicles and services mandated by the American with Disabilities Act. Originally managed by the LACMTA, the Department was restructured as a non-profit, independent agency under the name Access Services in 1994.

Culver City Municipal Lines - March 4, 1928

Long Beach Transit - 1963 (originally owned by National City Lines)

Santa Monica Bus Lines (Big Blue Bus) - April 14, 1928

Foothill Transit - December 19,1988

Commerce - January 21, 1962

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) - October 28, 1985

Torrance - 1940

La Mirada - 1973

Gardena - January 15, 1940

Montebello - 1931

Norwalk - August 1, 1974

In addition to the brief history contained here, more detailed history can be found in the following resources:


From Horse Car to Red Car to Mass Rapid Transit: A Century of Progress by Thomas H. Shanks. (Virginia Beach, VA : Donning Co., 1991).

From Railway to Freeway: Pacific Electric and the Motor Coach by Eli Bail (Glendale, CA : Interurban Press, 1984).

Yellow Cars of Los Angeles edited by Jim Walker (Glendale, CA : Interurban Press, 1977).

Street Railways and the Growth of Los Angeles by Robert C. Post (San Marino, CA : Golden West Books, 1989).

Library and Archive:

One Gateway Plaza, 15th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mail Stop 99-15-1

Telephone: 213.922.4859


Employee Hours:
(Metro Employees, Consultants, Contractors, Full-time Students with ID) Monday through Thursday: 9:00am-4:00pm

Saturdays, Sundays, and the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Records Management Center:

One Gateway Plaza
Mail Stop 99-PL-5
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Telephone: 213.922.2333

Hours of Operation:

Email: Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

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