Buses In Utah
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on January 27, 2020.
Motor Coach Age, the magazine of the Motor Bus Society, published a four-part history in 1987-1988 of buses in Salt Lake City and other cities in northern Utah. Back issues are long out of print and unavailable, so to preserve this vital part of the history of transportation in Utah, the text of the articles is presented here:
Utah Light and Traction Co. -- 1923 to 1944 (Motor Coach Age magazine, January 1987)
Salt Lake City Lines -- 1944 to 1970 (Motor Coach Age magazine, March 1987)
Regional Bus Companies, including Bamberger, Ogden, Utah-Idaho Central Railroad, Cook Transportation, Salt Lake and Utah Railroad, Utah Valley Transit, and Provo City Lines (Motor Coach Age magazine, March 1987)
Rosters of the buses in Utah, except UTA -- Rosters from the above three Motor Coach Age articles. (January and March 1987)
Utah Transit Authority -- History 1970 to 1988 (Motor Coach Age magazine, October 1988)
Utah Transit Authority -- History and timeline.
Utah Transit Authority Buses -- Roster listings of UTA buses, 1970-1987, and since 1988.
Salt Lake City's electric coaches -- An excellent article from Bus World magazine, about Salt Lake City's electric coaches, also known as trackless trolleys.
Photos of the electric trolley coaches from the article in Bus World, and the above Motor Coach Age articles.
Salt Lake Bus Terminal
January 15, 1949
Overland Greyhound opened its new terminal on January 15, 1949. The bus company had purchased the old interurban terminal from the Bamberger Railroad and was reported as spending $400,000 to completely remodel the interior and exterior of the building. (Deseret News, January 11, 1949)
"Beginning with the first schedules after 4 A.M. Monday, January 17, buses of the following companies will use this terminal:"
- Overland Greyhound Lines
- Pacific Greyhound Lines
- Lewis Brothers Stages
- Continental Trailways
- Salt Lake - Tooele Stage Lines
- Bamberger Transportation Company
- Salt Lake - Coalville Stage Lines
- Gray Line Motor Tours
- Interstate Transit Lines
- Union Pacific Stages
- (Salt Lake Tribune, January 14, 1949; quarter-page ad)
January 29, 1968
Greyhound announced that it would move its terminal from its current location at West Temple and South Temple streets, to a new location at South Temple and 200 West, occupying a new terminal building designed for the purpose. The terminal is being moved to make way for the new Salt Lake County Civic Auditorium, also known as the Salt Palace. (Deseret News, January 29, 1968)
(Ground was broken for the new Salt Palace in March 1967; the Salt Palace name was selected in a contest in March 1965.)
April 16, 1968
Greyhound held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new terminal. (Deseret News, April 13, 1968)
January 7, 1969
Greyhound formally opened its new terminal in Salt Lake City. To serve the traveling public, the facility had been in use as early as December 15, 1968, but formal completion was delayed while subcontractors finished some of the final work. (Deseret News, November 14, 1968)
Strangely, there is no newspaper news item about the terminal actually opening. I would assume that when Greyhound formally opened the new terminal, demolition of the old terminal likely started almost immediately, in February or March 1969.
The three-day ceremony for the completion of the first portion of Salt Palace, the new sports arena, started on July 12, 1969. (Deseret News, July 9, 1969) (That same sports arena was demolished beginning in December 1993.)
After being demolished in early 1969, the site of the former Salt Lake Rail and Bus Terminal became a parking lot for use by Salt Palace visitors. On March 10, 1977, ground was broken for a new Bicentennial Arts Center, to include a concert hall and a gallery for the Salt Lake Arts Center. The new concert hall was named Maurice Abravanel Hall and became the new home of the Utah Symphony. The Salt Lake Arts Center opened on May 11, 1979, and Abravanel Hall held its opening ceremony on September 14, 1979.
Salt Lake Terminal Expands, 1949
The Deseret News -- January 11, 1949
Overland Greyhound Bus Station Ceremonies Set
Salt Lake City's newest transportation facility, the new bus travel center at South Temple and West Temple Streets, will be formally opened for public inspection Saturday, Jan. 15, from 11 a m. to 8 p.m., it was announced by R. E Shalamter, district manager of the Overland Greyhound Line.
The new bus terminal, one of the most ultra modern in the West, represents a $400,000 improvement, including purchase a the old interurban terminal building from the Bomberger Railroad Company and a complete remodeling program. Russell J. Walsh. Omaha, president of the Overland Greyhound Lines, a Union Pacific subsidiary, will formally present the new travel center at 2:15 p.m. to Mayor Earl J. Glade. Other participants will include Pres. George Albert Smith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; W. P Dunn, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and Gus P. Backman, executive secretary of the Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the Overland Greyhound Lines, owner and operator of the terminal, the travel center will be used by the Pacific Greyhound Lines, the Bamberger Railroad Company, Salt Lake-Tooele Stages, Gray Line Motor Tours, Lewis Brothers Stages, Santa Fe Trailways, and Salt Lake-Coalville Stage Line.
Schedules of these companies provide 100 arrivals and 100 departures every day with an estimated annual passenger arrival or departure of between 750,000 and 1,000,000 persons. Overland Greyhound Lines serve 17 western states from Chicago westward through Salt Lake City to Los Angeles and to the Pacific Northwest at Portland, while the Pacific Greyhound Lines serve the territory westward from Salt Lake City to San Francisco sad the Pacific coast.
The remodeling program and new construction has been completed by the Jacobsen Construction Company, and Ashton, Evans and Brazier were the architects. The entire building has been completely modernized both exterior and interior. The building has a frontage of 184 feet on South Temple Street and 178 feet on West Temple Street, with adjacent property extending 330 feet on South Temple Street, or half a city block, and 197 feet on West Temple Street, including trackage for right-of-way to First West Street.
The terminal which is diagonally across the street from Temple Square, the mecca for millions of visitors, occupies the site of the home of Wilford Woodruff, a former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was built in the late fifties or early sixties and was later remodeled into the Valley House, a pioneer hostelry of historic interest. The Valley House was torn down in 1916 and the site was used by the Bamberger Railroad Company as depot facilities until the construction of the present building in 1923.
The Overland Greyhound Lines officers to attend the formal opening and open house in addition to Mr. Walsh, president, will Include G .E. Motz, general manager, and R. J. O'Connor, general traffic manager, both of Omaha. During the open house flowers will be presented to women visitors and brochures describing the building will also be presented.
In addition to the bus traneportation lines the building will be occupied by a number of business firms including the Bigelow Sandford Carpet Company, Bamberger Railroad Company's executive, traffic and operating office, the Cedar Richfield and Wyoming Distributing Company, Herman and Tannenbaum, Associated Specialties Company, Deseret Livestock Company, F. N. Ellis, contractor, and W. W. Gardner, contractor. The medical center of the Union Pacific Railroad Employes Hospital Association has also been established on the second floor for the exclusive service of Union Pacific and Overland Greyhound employes.
The main floor space will be occupied by the Greyhound Post House, national restaurant chain which will operate the terminal restaurant, seating 100 at counter, tables and booths. Other main floor businesses will include the O. W. Memmott barber shop, the Interurban Drug Company, and a news stand. The basement is occupied by the Gottschall Printing Company with warehouse space leased to a Salt Lake City newspaper.