Bluehounds and Redhounds
the History of Greyhound and Trailways
Florida Greyhound Lines
© Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.
The Florida Greyhound Lines (FGL), an intercity highway-coach carrier, was a Greyhound regional operating company, based in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. It ran from 1946 until -57, when it became merged into the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, a neighboring company.
The immediate predecessor of the Florida Greyhound Lines (GL) was the Florida Motor Lines (FML), which began in January 1926. It started when the firm of Stone and Webster, a multistate public-utility management-service company, established a headquarters in Orlando for the FML and consolidated several properties which it had bought and operated in the Sunshine State. The FML then owned 150 coaches and ran them along 1,290 route miles.
The largest and strongest of those subsidiaries was the Florida Motor Transportation (FMT) Company, based in Miami, which had begun in 1919. It had resulted from a merger between two other firms, each likewise based in Miami, and each of which had started in 1914 – the Clyde Passenger Express, running 32 miles southward to Homestead, and the White Star Auto Line, running 60 miles northward to West Palm Beach. The FMT Company extended northward along the East Coast to Jacksonville in 1921.
The second largest subsidiary was the White Stage Line Company, which had begun in 1918 as the White Bus Line, running between Tampa and Saint Petersburg. Eventually, starting in 1924, it ran along US highway 92 (US-92) on a shortcut on the new Gandy Bridge across Tampa Bay, which shortened the distance from 43 miles to 19. It also extended from Saint Petersburg to Orlando in 1924 and to West Palm Beach in 1925.
In 1927 the Florida Motor Lines (FML) also began to provide tour and sightseeing services in Miami, Miami Beach, Jacksonville, Saint Augustine, and Daytona Beach.
In 1933 the FML moved its home office from Orlando to Jacksonville.
The FML continued to grow and to expand within the Sunshine State, mostly by acquiring other existing firms.
However, in one notable instance, among others, the FML obtained a certificate (of public convenience and necessity) for a new route extending from Homestead (near the tip of the mainland on US-1, the Dixie Highway) and continuing to Key West along the Overseas Highway. The FML began operating that route in 1936, while the road was still under construction – at first by relying in part on two ferry-boat rides which spanned two gaps among the islands until 1938, when the last bridge became complete and open for traffic.
The FML made connections to the north (in Jacksonville) with the Atlantic GL and to the north and northwest (in Jacksonville, Lake City, and Tallahassee) with the Consolidated Coach Corporation (which in 1936 became renamed as the Southeastern Greyhound Lines) and the Union Bus Company (which in 1941 became bought by and merged into the Southeastern GL).
Purchase by The Greyhound Corporation
On the first day of 1946 The Greyhound Corporation bought the Florida Motor Lines (FML), then in the next month Greyhound renamed it as the Florida Greyhound Lines (FGL).
The FGL was first a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent Greyhound firm, then on the last day of 1949 it became a division of The Greyhound Corporation (with an uppercase T, because the word the was an integral part of the official name of the corporate entity).
When Greyhound took over the FML, in 1946, the FML ran along 2,750 route miles throughout the Sunshine State – from Jacksonville, Lake City, and Tallahassee – through Orlando, Tampa, and Saint Petersburg – to Miami and Key West – especially along US-1 on the East Coast between Jacksonville and Miami via Saint Augustine, Daytona Beach, Titusville, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Stuart, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale – including local suburban commuter service from Miami to Fort Lauderdale and to Homestead. It ran throughout Florida and along all the major routes – except one in the southwest part of the peninsula, which was the exclusive territory of the Tamiami Trail Tours (a member of the Trailways trade association, then named as the National Trailways Bus System, and thus known also as the Tamiami Trailways) – along US-41, the Tamiami Trail, from Tampa to Miami via Fort Myers and Naples.
By 1957 the Florida GL took part in major interlined through-routes (using pooled equipment in cooperation with other Greyhound companies) – that is, the use of through-coaches on through-routes running through the territories of two or more Greyhound regional operating companies – connecting Miami and Saint Petersburg with Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Saint Louis, Chicago, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toronto, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Boston, New York City, and Washington.
Merger into Southeastern GL
In October 1957 The Greyhound Corporation merged the Florida GL into the Southeastern GL, a neighboring operating company, based in Lexington, Kentucky.
Thus ended the Florida GL.
Beyond Florida GL
After that merger the newly expanded Southeastern GL served 12 states – from Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Lake Charles – to Savannah and Jacksonville and to Miami and Key West – from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico and into it.
In November 1960, in another round of consolidation, Greyhound further merged the Atlantic GL (AGL), yet another neighboring regional company, based in Charleston, West Virginia, with – not into but rather with – the Southeastern GL – thereby creating the Southern Division of The Greyhound Corporation (known also as the Southern GL), the third of four huge new divisions (along with Central, Eastern, and Western).
Thus ended both the Southeastern GL and the Atlantic GL, and thus began the Southern GL.
Later, about 1969, The Greyhound Corporation reorganized again, into just two humongous divisions, named as the Greyhound Lines East (GLE) and the Greyhound Lines West (GLW); even later, about 1975, it eliminated those two divisions, thereby leaving a single gargantuan undivided nationwide fleet throughout the US.
When the Southern GL came into existence, in 1960, the headquarters functions became gradually transferred from Lexington, Kentucky, and Charleston, West Virginia, to Atlanta, Georgia; when the GLE arose, many of those administrative functions became shifted from Atlanta to Cleveland, Ohio; later yet those functions migrated to Chicago, Illinois, then to Phoenix, Arizona, when, in 1971, The Greyhound Corporation moved its home office from Chicago to a new building in Phoenix.
In 1987 The Greyhound Corporation, the original umbrella Greyhound firm, which had become widely diversified far beyond transportation, sold its entire highway-coach operating subsidiary [its core bus business, known as the (second) Greyhound Lines, Inc., the (second) GLI] to a new company, named as the GLI Holding Company, based in Dallas, Texas. The buyer was a separate, independent, unrelated firm which was the property of a group of private investors under the promotion of Fred Currey, a former executive of the Continental Trailways (later renamed as the Trailways, Inc., the TWI, also based in Dallas), which was by far the largest member company in the Trailways association (then named as the National Trailways Bus System, now named as the Trailways Transportation System).
Later in 1987 the GLI Holding Company, the new firm based in Dallas, further bought the Trailways, Inc., the TWI, its largest competitor, and merged it into the GLI.
The lenders and the other investors of the GLI Holding Company ousted Fred Currey as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the GLI after the latter firm in 1990 went into bankruptcy.
The GLI has since continued to experience difficulties and lackluster performance under a succession of new owners and new executives while continuing to reduce its level of service. The reductions consist of hauling fewer passengers aboard fewer coaches on fewer trips along fewer routes with fewer stops in fewer communities in fewer states, doing so on fewer days (that is, increasingly operating some trips fewer than seven days per week), and using fewer through-coaches, thus requiring passengers to make more transfers (from one coach to another).
After the sale of the GLI, The Greyhound Corporation, the original parent Greyhound firm, changed its name to the Greyhound-Dial Corporation, then the Dial Corporation, then the Viad Corporation. [The contrived name Viad appears to be a curious respelling of the former name Dial – if one scrambles the letters D, I, and A, then turns the V upside down and regards it as the Greek letter lambda – Λ – that is, the Greek equivalent of the Roman or Latin letter L.]
The website of the Viad Corporation in January 2010 makes no mention of its corporate history or its past relationship to Greyhound – that is, its origin as The Greyhound Corporation – as though to ignore or dismiss Greyhound or to escape from it. [The GES Exposition Services, Inc., a subsidiary of the Viad Corporation, began in the 1960s as the Greyhound Exposition Services (GES).]
The Florida GL made a major, significant, and lasting contribution to the present Greyhound route network.
Please see also any one or more of the articles (by clicking on any one or more of the links) listed in the navigational bar in the upper left part of this page.
Jackson, Carlton, Hounds of the Road. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company, 1984. ISBN 0-87972-207-3.
Meier, Albert, and John Hoschek, Over the Road. Upper Montclair: Motor Bus Society, 1975. No ISBN (due to age of book).
Schisgall, Oscar, The Greyhound Story. Chicago: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 1985. ISBN 0-385-19690-3.
Motor Coach Age (a publication of the Motor Bus Society), various issues, especially these:
Backfire, the corporate newspaper for the Southeastern Greyhound Lines, all issues, from January 1938 through February 1956.
Jon's Trailways History Corner, a web-based history of Trailways by Jan Hobijn (known also as Jon Hobein).
Schedules and historical data at the website of the present Greyhound Lines.
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© Copyright, 2009-10, Duncan Bryant Rushing.