Manchester Had Bus Line

By dhowell - Posted on 02 March 2007

Pioneered Bus Route – R. C. Merithew with an original time card designating the departure and arrival of buses between Manchester and Chelsea. One of the first in the country, it was inaugurated in 1905.

In 1905, a bus line from here to Chelsea was inaugurated. It was one of the first, if not the initial system, in the country. R. C. Merithew, part owner, had many headaches. He used to tell that the farmers were so opposed to the automobiles that they plowed up the roads so the bus couldn't get through. They said the automobile frightened horses and livestock so badly that the bus was a menace.

The project was promoted by a John Blake from Cheboygan, and Merithew, 21, working at the bank, was induced to invest in the venture. It lasted only one summer.

The bus was an open type, four-cylinder Oldsmobile, with entrance through a door at the rear. When it rained, the curtains around the sides were let down, but the driver faced the elements. Passengers set on the seats that ran parallel with the sides of the car. When the bus developed trouble, some passing farmer would be asked to go to town for parts. The driver received $50 a month. By the time he was paid and the bills for gas, oil, parts and livery hire were settled there was nothing left—no profit.

The bus fare was 75¢ round trip, Manchester to Chelsea, one way 50¢—leaving Manchester at 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.