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The Pacific Stage Lines

Pacific Stage Lines 1937 Hayes Pacific Stages Lines Flyer

Photos and information provided by Murray Boyle.


An interview with Dave Boyle in 1970

Pacific Stage Lines. An unpublished essay by Peter Cox, November 1986

Some photos from Ralph Wyborn

As roads improved and vehicles improved in size and reliability, so bus service began to grow. Since Surrey was the gateway to the south side of the Fraser, any bus traffic west to Delta, east into the Fraser Valley, or south to the United States, had to pass through Surrey. Surrey was well serviced by this through traffic.

The first regularly operated Bus service in the Fraser Valley was established by Goodman Hamre in 1914, and ran between New Westminster and Aldergrove. This service was operated with seven–passenger touring cars at the beginning, and later with lengthened out touring cars of various makes, giving a seating capacity of 12 to 15 passengers. Later, larger vehicles made up of bus bodies on truck chassis were used. These vehicles had doors along the right hand side opening at the seats. Baggage was carried in a box at the rear or in compartments on the roof. Mr. Hamre, in 1921, extended the service in the east to Abbotsford and in the west to Vancouver. He continued this bus operation until 1925.

On the north side of the Fraser River, intermittent services were known to have operated between New Westminster and Coquitlam, and between Coquitlam and Haney as early as 1919. A similar short–lived venture was established by two partners who ran Stanley Steamers between Vancouver and Chilliwack.

In 1918, an unknown person started a service between New Westminster and White Rock, which lasted only a short time. Goodman Hamre started a New Westminster–White Rock route in the same year. He started with two touring cars.

An early PSL open bus An 1917 PSL studebaker

The first buses for Green Stages and Pacific Stages were open cars such as the one on the left. Touring cars, such as the 1917 Studebaker which is on display at the Surrey Museum, provided the basis of early bus service.

Ivor Neil, who had been involved in the taxicab business in Vancouver since 1915, bought Hamre's White Rock service in late 1919, and continued with the two touring cars. He was the first operator to establish advertised arrival and departure times, and proper standard fares. These introductions caused the line to prosper and he was soon using newer and larger equipment. By 1922, Ivor Neil, Norm Philip, and Lyle Rolf began a daily jitney service from White Rock to New Westminster via Cloverdale, and the Pacific Highway. Following the paving of the Pacific Highway in 1923, the service was increased by the addition of two more touring cars: a 1913 Pearce Arrow, converted to a nineteen passenger bus; and a 1915 Packard, converted to a seventeen passenger bus. On Nov. 1, 1922 Ivor Neil incorporated his service as the Green Stages Limited, and extended the operation to Vancouver. He provided another first: terminals and waiting room for passengers, in Vancouver and New Westminster, using rented premises. The Green Stage, as the bus line was called in 1923, operated two return trips daily to New Westminster and Vancouver. On May 23, 1924, following the acquisition of two White Buses, the service was expanded to four return trips daily and the line was renamed the Green Stages Ltd.

Dave Boyle

Dave Boyle went into service as a Green Stage driver on a run to White Rock on May 23, 1923. He began his career with the Green Stages Ltd., and continued with Pacific Stage Lines. Here he is shown in his Pacific Stage uniform.

The next step was co–ordination of services on the north side of the river, which Neil linked by starting a Vancouver–Port Moody–Coquitlam route. At Coquitlam, this line connected with a service from there to Haney, owned by a Mr. Stevens. Still in 1922, Ivor Neil purchased Stevens' operation, giving the Green Stages a through route from Vancouver to Haney.

At this time, there was no regular highway service between Vancouver and Seattle, Washington. Ivor Neil established this in 1923 using a 15 passenger Pierce Arrow coach. It traveled to Seattle one day and returned to Vancouver the next.

Dave Philip

Dave Boyle was returning from Seattle with a bus similar to this one. The cable roof racks on the top held the larger pieces of luggage. While driving north near the Bellingham airport, the noise of the cement highway, combined with the roar of the engine, made it difficult for Dave to hear. A passenger tapped him on the shoulder to tell him to stop as a plane had hit the bus. Dave stopped to find that indeed a plane had clipped the wire roof racks and scattered some of the luggage.

The Green Stage Ltd., scheduled service both north and south of the Fraser River brought them into competition with the BC Electric Railway. In December 1925, B.C. Motor Transportation Limited was formed, as a subsidiary of the B.C. Electric Railway. As a result of the competition the B.C. Motor Transportation Ltd., acquired financial control of the Green Stages Ltd., and as of July 1, 1926 the services became the Pacific Stage Lines (PSL).

PSL bus at White Rock PSL bus at White Rock PSL bus to Vancouver

The early Pacific Stage Line buses had a triangle logo with Pacific Stage Lines. This was painted on the driver and side door. The left and center pictures are White Rock bound buses while the picture on the right is a bus headed for Vancouver. The picture in the center was taken March 24, 1935 and the bus is a 1926 Fogel with 28 seats.

With the cementing of the Pacific Highway in 1923 bus routes to White Rock came from the Patullo Bridge, up Peterson Hill through Whalley, east on Pacific Highway (now Fraser Highway) to Fry's Corner, south to Cloverdale, south to Pacific Border crossing, west on Zero Avenue to Beach Road, over the bridge on the Campbell River and west to the Bus Station at the foot of Oxford and Buena Vista. On Beach Road buses would stop at the Alder Lodge and Alder Store on the International Order of Odd Fellows property.

Alder Lodge Alder Store

Alder Lodge and Alder Store were operated by the Wyborn family from 1934–35. In front of Alder Store is Vi Haywood, Ralph Wyborn, Clara Wyborn, Bob Wyborn and Rover. The lodge and store were forced to close after Campbell River Road was opened up from Coast Meridian Road to Stayte Road. Bus service then took that more direct route and the bridge over the Campbell fell into disrepair.

PSL add featuring Dave Boyle

Pacific Stage Lines advertised regularly and extensively to encourage travel on their bus services. This add from the Friday, August 27, 1937 edition of the Vancouver Sun shows Dave Boyle extrolling the benefits of the 10 new buses in the fleet. Telephone #601 provided departure times and bus travel information.

In December, 1925, BC Electric foresaw the need to extend the unified service on the south side of the Fraser, and formed another subsidiary call BC Rapid Transit Company Ltd. It absorbed Goodman Hamre's Vancouver to Abbotsford operation, purchased and assigned modern buses to it, and extended the route to Chilliwack. The White Star Motor Line, having introduced a service in 1918 between Vancouver and Ladner, was also taken over in 1926. Beginning in 1927, a route was established between Vancouver and the resort location of Harrison Hot Springs. This began as a summer only service but was built up to a daily Vancouver–Haney–Mission–Harrison route. A route from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, via the Second Narrows Bridge, evolved as soon as the Marine Drive highway was pushed through. The operating name of all these services became know as Pacific Stage Lines.

Dave Norman Miss Simpson

Dave Norman was one of the early drivers to work the Vancouver to White Rock route. The lady standing by the bus is Miss Simpson, from Pitt Meadows, who was a regular on the run.

To Harrison Lake To Harrison Lake

By 1927 a route had been establish to Harrison Lake. These pictures are of buses on the road to Harrison. The roads in the early years were rugged and a bus body was placed on a truck chassis for higher clearance and more durability.

It was arranged in 1932 that BC Motor Transportation Limited would absorb BC Rapid Transit Company Ltd., and this resulted in a completely unified bus service covering most of both sides of the Fraser River. The Pacific Stage Lines was predominant in the Fraser Valley.

PSL bus in east White Rock White Rock in the snow

PSL bus at foot of Stevens Street

Winter weather made travel difficult, but the bus service attempted to maintain schedules the best it could. The picture on the bottom is the Pacific Stage bus at the foot of Stevens Street and Campbell River Road in White Rock. Lancaster Motel is on the left, and the bridge over the Campbell River is on the right.

Immediately after the Second World War, other locally operated bus services were merged with Pacific Stage Lines service, giving practically all of the Fraser Valley some form of PSL scheduling. One of these operators was Moorehouse Stages, which had been providing a service between Chilliwack and Hope since 1930. Improved equipment was introduced by PSL, which at this point had pushed eastward 100 miles from Vancouver.

Pacific Stage Logo Pacific Stage add

An image that the traveling public was very familiar with was the Pacific Stage Lines logo of a flying horse in a circle. The line drawing of a PSL bus was also very frequent in many company advertisements.

The public name for bus services from 1926 to March 1962 was the Pacific Stages Lines. The service was chiefly an inter city carrier, but operated some local and suburban services in the Greater Vancouver area. Suburban service in Surrey began November 8, 1966.

Dave Boyle's last run

This picture is Dave Boyle's last run. He retired from PSL service on September 31, 1966. His first run of his career, as well as his last one, was to White Rock. The route that he had traveled for most of his career must have been a very familiar one. In 1950 it began at the Vancouver bus depot – south on Cambie – east on 12th Ave., and then south on Kingsway. Kingsway took him to 12th Street, then east on London Street, and south on 8th to the bus depot. Leaving New Westminster via Columbia Avenue – across the Pattulo Bridge and up Peterson Hill into Whalley – east on the Trans Canada to Fry's Corner – south on Pacific Highway to Cloverdale – south to Zero Avenue – west to Douglas and north on King George Highway, west on Campbell River Road to the White Rock Depot at the foot of Beuna Vista and Oxford Streets.

New Westminster Bus Station

The New Westminster Station at the foot of 8th Street and Columbia Avenue was a shared facility. Both the BC Electric Railway and the Pacific Stage lines used this station. When passenger service ended on the railway in 1950 the facility was sold and by 1954 was redeveloped as the Wosk building. The Pacific Stage Lines moved to a new facility in 1953 at 6th Street and Royal Ave.

PSL drivers at New Westminster Drivers on holidays

The PSL drivers themselves took holidays. Here is a tour getting ready to load in front of the New Westminster Interurban Station. The station was used for inter urban trains as well as Pacific Stage Lines busses. On the right, the holidaying drivers and their wives are; Jim and Thelma Gardiner, Dave and Myrtle Boyle and Dave Norman the driver.

BC Hydro Logo BC Hydro Bus

In March 1962 the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority became the operator of transit services in Vancouver. That Provincial government entity continued until August 1973. On August 31, 1973 to March 31, 1980 an urban transit authority was created; the Greater Vancouver Transit System. It was operated by the Metro Transit Operating Company under contract to the Urban Transit Authority from April 1, 1980 to March 31, 1983. The Blue Buses were its trade mark.

Metro Transit BC Transit Bus BC Transit

On April 1, 1983 the Vancouver Regional Transit System assumed authority and oversaw transit services. The Vancouver regional Transit System services were operated by B.C. Transit, West Vancouver Municipal Transportation Department (Blue Buses), and B.C. Rapid Transit Company Ltd., (SkyTrain). Operations continued until March 31, 1999.

Skytrain Translink logo Translink Bus

Established July 1998 as the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority and renamed TransLink. From April 1, 1999 to the present, TransLink, assumed the Regional Transportation Network. The bus operation was assumed by Coast Mountain Bus Company for the Greater Vancouver area, but excludes the West Vancouver Blue Buses. TransLink, itself, operates the SkyTrain, Seabus, Albion Ferry, major roads and bridges, West Coast Express and the Aircare emission testing program for cars.

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