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Began serving Cape Cod in 1961…
Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company celebrates 125th anniversary; Anzuoni family members recall history and reflect on future
HYANNIS and PLYMOUTH, MA, ISSUED AUGUST 19, 2013…Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company (www.p-b.com), an independent, family-owned business serving as a leader in transportation for Cape Cod, the South Shore, and Greater Boston since 1888, has reached a significant milestone: the 125th anniversary of their company.
From its terminal at the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, 215 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, the familiar P&B buses have stops in Hyannis, Harwich, Orleans, Eastham, North Eastham, South Wellfleet, Truro, North Truro, and Provincetown; and regularly scheduled transportation to and from Boston and Logan Airport daily.
Company President George Anzuoni notes that the company, which began in Plymouth and Kingston, expanded its service to the Cape in 1961. Previously, the area was served by Almeida Bus Lines. “We were pleased to expand to the Cape some 50+ years ago,” said Mr. Anzuoni.
Plymouth & Brockton first received authority to enter the Cape Cod market on May 19, 1961, from the Department of Public Utilities. Their first routes lengthened P & B’s service from Sagamore to Barnstable. The company’s footprint on the Cape expanded in 1979 when existing carrier Almeida Bus Lines discontinued, and P&B was granted authority to extend its route to Chatham. In 1988 the company purchased the route system from Cape Cod Bus Lines, and Plymouth & Brockton extended its service area to include Provincetown.
The anniversary coincides with a number of milestones for the company: 52 years serving the Cape, 125 years since the company’s founding, and 65 years for this family, now managed by second and third generation family members, to be at the helm.
Plymouth & Brockton joins an elite group of privately-held American businesses. Statistically, less than half of one percent of all businesses in the United States reach the 100 year mark.
The Anzuoni family purchased Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company in 1948, two decades after P&B had converted from rail to bus transportation. Since assuming ownership of the company, the Anzuonis have guided Plymouth & Brockton through a period of significant growth which has seen expanded transportation service to and from Cape Cod, with an increase in the number of runs and buses provided during the summer, as well as across the South Shore, express service to Logan Airport and the re-introduction of trolley service in Plymouth.
Officials at Plymouth & Brockton will announce plans for an official celebration of the 125th anniversary in the near future.
“It is with great pleasure that we celebrate the 125th anniversary of our company,” said Mr. Anzuoni, noting, “There have been many changes in our industry, but what has remained constant for us is our ongoing commitment to meeting the transportation needs of the communities we serve. We know that Plymouth & Brockton has been a key player in the development and growth of American transportation, and we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead in the next decades.”
He recalled, “In the early days of the transportation industry, it was comprised largely of independently-owned, family-operated businesses. That model has changed with the expansion of state-run transportation, and with larger companies coming in and attempting to purchase the independent companies.” He added, “As a privately-held family business with deep ties to this region, we know the needs of the communities and we are invested in meeting those needs.” He said, “We thank the people of Cape Cod and the South Shore for their support over the years and pledge our continued efforts to provide a transportation service second to none.”
He further reflected, “We certainly also appreciate the support of the Department of Transportation, in establishing the Southeast Expressway HOV Lane and the express HOV ramp between South Station and Logan Airport, which has reduced the duration of each trip from hours to minutes. This has contributed to our success on this route, but even more importantly, it has resulted in significant time-savings for the busy commuters who use our services.”
Mr. Anzuoni noted, “We strive where we can to work with the government to make improvements at the Park ‘n Ride lots, with a goal of having these locations become even more user-friendly. The Park ‘n Ride stops along Routes 6 and 3 are advantageous for commuters and passengers, because they enable us to provide convenient accessibility, free parking, shorter trip duration, and increased frequency which results in lower fares. Everyone benefits.”
He added, “Our hope for the future is to see further improvements to these stops, including heated shelters, and a technological upgrade so that waiting passengers can see “trip on time” status.
Of the company’s 111 employees, 43 reside on Cape Cod.
Beginnings: Company founding traced to 1886 discussion in Plymouth
Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company traces its origins to a discussion among 30 men at the Samoset House in Plymouth, in 1886. One of the men, Albert Gordon, traveled frequently to Plymouth and felt that the facilities for travel were in need of improvement. His proposal was to build and equip a railway of two and a half miles with heavy steel flat rails, paved track for the entire length, with cars and a horse barn, for $25,000. Articles of organization were drawn up that evening; and in 1888 a franchise was granted by the Plymouth Selectmen to charter the Plymouth and Kingston Street Railway Company. By July 1888 the project had been expanded to a four mile route which would run from Jabez Corner in Plymouth to the Rocky Nook section of Kingston. There were initial delays because the company furnishing the motor cars was busy with other projects and could not deliver motor cars prior to the spring of 1889. The first trial car ran on June 3, 1889 and on June 9, service got underway. More than 147,000 passengers were transported from June to September of that year.
Throughout the early years each car had the name of a prominent citizen, including “Governor Bradford,” “Elder Brewster,” “John Alden” and “Miles Standish.”
During the first years the company struggled financially and Boston investment firm Stone & Webster, purchased the company; and in 1899 the name became Brockton & Plymouth Street Railway Company. In the early 1900s there were six passenger cars and eight 12-bench open cars. In the early part of that century, a twenty-six mile ride from Main Street in Brockton to Plymouth Center took two hours and 10 minutes with a fare of 30 cents. In 1907 the company added a Trolley Express. The company’s financial struggles continued; in November of 1922 a man named John Dawson bought the company at public auction, and the name became Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company. The first bus was introduced in 1923. By 1928 buses had taken over all the services. The company would switch hands once more before the Anzuoni family purchased the business in 1948.
When the Anzuoni family acquired Plymouth & Brockton, the new owners came with transportation business experience. The family owned Service Bus Lines in Revere, MA; and the family determined to infuse experience and commitment into the business.
What began largely as a supplement to the trains that ran from Plymouth to Boston via Whitman and Weymouth expanded, and more quickly when the Old Colony Railroad ceased operating in 1959. At that time, P&B expanded its operations to fill the void and by the 1970s had service that included the entire length of the Cape, and to Brockton. A natural addition was the introduction of service to and from Logan Airport.
About Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company
Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company is a privately-owned family business that has been a leader in transportation since its founding in 1888. First named The Plymouth & Kingston Street Railway, in 1928 the electric trolleys ceased operation and were replaced by Mack buses. Today, Plymouth & Brockton operates an extensive commuter service to Boston, including frequent trips to and from Logan Airport, as well as transportation service from Plymouth to the Cape and to Boston. Additionally, Plymouth & Brockton operates the PAL and SAIL local transit services for GATRA. Plymouth & Brockton has more than 100 employees, and a fleet of modern motorcoaches, transit vehicles and trolleys, with terminal facilities in Hyannis and South Station, as well as company headquarters at 8 Industrial Park Road, Plymouth, MA. Regular stops include the Hyannis Transportation Center, which serves as its headquarters for Cape Cod; Kingsbury Plaza in Kingston, and Park and Ride locations in Barnstable, Sagamore, Plymouth, Rockland; and in downtown Boston, the South Station Transportation Center, Park Square (200 Stuart Street), and Logan International Airport. P&B also offers scheduled transportation to the Outer Cape, with additional trips from Hyannis to the Park and Ride at Harwich, CVS in Orleans, Town Hall in Eastham, Cape Cod National Seashore in South Wellfleet, Bank and Commercial Street in Wellfleet, the Post Office in Truro, Dutra’s Store in North Truro, and the Chamber of Commerce in Provincetown. Motorcoaches and trolleys are also available for charter. For additional information, please visit www.p-b.com or call 508-746-0378.
Caption: Photos of the early trolleys and buses look far different than their modern counterparts, which began serving the Cape in 1961.