In 1910, transportation service began in Montebello with one motorized coach. At the time, Montebello was predominantly an agricultural community, but World War I and the discovery of oil in the Montebello Hills quickly changed the community. By 1917, there were four private companies competing for passengers among the influx of workers drawn to the area.
In 1922, two years after the incorporation of the City of Montebello, the City officially began a municipal bus service. Six years later, the City sold the operation to the Motor Transit Company, a division of Southern Pacific Railroad. The Motor Transit Company later became the Pacific Electric operators of the famed “red cars.”
In 1931, the City of Montebello purchased the lines back from Motor Transit Company launching its second municipal bus line. The City purchased a lot on Greenwood Avenue and Olympic Blvd. Montebello Municipal Bus Lines started its operations with a fleet of four motor coaches. In those early days, a loaf of bread was eight cents, gas was ten cents a gallon and Montebello Bus Line passengers paid a nickel to ride the bus.
In the 80 years since those humble beginnings, Montebello Bus Lines fleet has grown to 66 buses, including diesel, gasoline/electric hybrids, and three compressed natural gas vehicles. It is the third largest municipal transit agency in Los Angeles County, providing service to over eight million people annually in 14 communities with seven local routes, an express route, a shuttle service and a Dial-a-Taxi service.
Here is a summary of Montebello Bus Lines most recent milestones:
1997 – Montebello LINK begins operations providing curb-to-curb shuttle service to and from Montebello Metrolink Station and major employment centers.
2005 – First five hybrid buses go into service replacing diesel engine buses.
2007 – Dial-A-Taxi (DAT) program begins providing service for senior residents and qualified disabled persons of any age and their caregivers.
2009 and 2010 – Montebello Bus Lines continues its push towards clean energy vehicles by increasing its fleet of hybrid buses to 45.
2009 – Montebello Bus Lines is awarded $6.1 Million of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding for transit capital projects.
2010 – Montebello announced an agreement with Seal Beach- based Clean Energy to build a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) facility. Project fully funded by ARRA.
2011 – Three CNG buses are purchased. Project fully funded by ARRA.
July 28, 2011 – New Montebello Bus Lines exterior graphics unveiled on new CNG buses.
Time and time again Montebello Bus Line’s outstanding service has been recognized by The American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Montebello Bus Lines was the proud recipient of APTA's Outstanding Transit System Award in 1999; and has also been recognized for outstanding safety practices with APTA's top Silver Safety Award in 1999 and Achievement Award in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002.
As Montebello Bus Lines celebrates its 80th Anniversary, we recognize all who have contributed to our success and look forward to continuing our commitment to providing superior transportation services to Montebello and surrounding communities.