How Monopoly Monkeybusiness Killed The Streetcar, and Made It Harder To Get From Brooklyn To Queens

In the 1920s, a firm known as National City Lines started buying up street car lines. In 1936, National became a holding company owned equally by General Motors, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, and Phillips Petroleum. Perhaps you can guess where this is going. NCL bought up trolley systems in over 40 cities and 15 states, converting them almost overnight into bus lines. In 1947, they were indicted in federal court, in what became known as the “Great American Streetcar Scandal.” Two years later, the four original companies who owned NCL, along with MAC Truck, were found guilty of conspiracy to monopolize mass transit. But by then the damage was done. Most of the nation’s streetcar system was in junkyards, replaced by buses.

Via The Atlantic Cities: A Very Brief History of Why It's So Hard to Get From Brooklyn to Queens – Richard Greenwald – The Atlantic Cities.

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