About

Hello, and welcome to More Than Red Cars

I am Charles P. Hobbs (“cph” on most transit blog comments) and have been involved in transit advocacy and transportation history since 1984.  I have also been a research/technical/medical librarian for the past 20 years.

The name of this blog is also the working title to a book that I am writing. It is a history of some of the lesser-known, or half-forgotten efforts to improve transportation in Southern California.

Most people know about the old Pacific Electric “Red Car” system, the freeways, and the Metro Rail and Metrolink systems that operate now. But how many people remember:

  • The ferries (1880-1963) that operated between San Pedro and Terminal Island, before the Vincent Thomas Bridge was built
  • Helicopter shuttles (1954-1970) that connected the suburbs to LAX
  • Jitneys (1914):  automobile drivers would offer rides for a nickel, much to the annoyance of the streetcar companies
  • Triumphs such as the traffic planning for the 1984 Olympics, along with fiascoes such asthe infamous “Diamond Lane” (1976)

These stories, and more, will be covered in the book.  I plan to post about some of my experiences in researching and writing the book, as well as getting published.

I will also post short histories of bus and rail lines in Southern California, transit trip reports, and short articles about libraries and archives.

This blog’s readers will be a motley crew of railfans, bus fans, transit advocates, historians, librarians, and anyone else interested in some or all of its content. Appropriate comments are welcome anytime.

2 Comments to "About"

  1. Bob Davis's Gravatar Bob Davis
    March 30, 2015 - 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Just finished reading the “Hidden History” that I bought at OERM. You have done some impressive research on a subject that has been part of my life since I spent the first 11 years of my life next door to the PE Monrovia-Glendora Line. I have written an article about what I experienced after the rails were pulled up. Do you have a place I can send it to, if you’re interested?

  2. J K Drummond's Gravatar J K Drummond
    December 7, 2015 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    When I worked at Douglas Aircraft at Santa Monica, many of the engineers had been transferred from their Long Beach facility and lived in Orange County. This was pre-freeway. Douglas provided a DC 3 from Long Beach to Santa Monica. Those guys commuted for a nominal free over the traffic.

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