Capitol Transit Company

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The Capitol Transit Company (CTC) was a transportation franchise formed in November 1952 from Courtesy Transportation Company, a firm created to take over the assets of Arkansas Power and Light's transit system.

In 1944 more than 35 million passengers boarded motor buses and trolley coaches in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Ten years later ridership had fallen to 15 million.

Drivers and mechanics of local Division 704 of the Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway, and Motor Coach Employees of America went on strike several times against CTC. On June 1, 1951, Division 704 struck for one day for a ten-cent wage increase.

On June 22, 1955, 178 drivers and mechanics of Division 704 struck again for unemployment compensation, this time enlisting lawyer Sid McMath. The president at the time was F. Norman Hill. When Hill hired replacement workers racial tensions increased and violence erupted, culminating with a bus bombing on November 14 at the corner of Twenty Ninth and Battery streets that injured two people. The strike and local reaction to the violence led to the victory of challenger Woodrow Wilson Mann over mayor Pratt Remmel in November.

On January 31, 1956, the strike ended with the establishment of a new bus franchise called the Citizens Coach Company (CCC). Union leaders were promised "preferred, non-participating shares" in exchange for complicity in the scheme. One-hundred and thirty drivers and thirty-five mechanics joined the new company in March 1956. The CCC secured enough buses by purchasing used vehicles from the Great Lakes Marmon Herrington Coach Company of Dearborn, Michigan. CCC buses were desegregated without incident in April 1956.


  • William Jordan Patty, "'Victory Based on Violence is Undesirable': The Little Rock Bus Strike of 1955-1956," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 61.3 (Autumn 2002): 233-255.

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