Public Transit

Ames transit history

The earliest transportation linking the city of Ames, surrounding communities, and the college was the stage coach line. Billy Childs and his brother drove a horse-drawn bus to and from the college through good weather and bad for many years.

The Dinkey
Ames and College Railway Dinkey During 1890, interest in a railway connecting the town of Ames with the Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University [ISU]) was rampant. Organized on Sept. 9, 1890, the Ames Street Railway Co. started to solicit subscriptions to finance the two-mile line. On March 19, 1891, the company announced that sealed bids for railway construction would be taken April 11.

Grading was underway by the end of April. Orders were placed for a four-wheel steam dummy locomotive and passenger cars. When the equipment arrived July 1, it was lettered "Ames and College Railway." Trial trips over portions of the line were operated on July 4 and regular services commenced soon thereafter.

In September, the Dinkey was taken to the Chicago & Northwestern Railway's (C&NW) Boone shops for servicing. A borrowed C&NW switch engine derailed and spread the rails. Service was suspended until the return of the Dinkey. Rolling stock was added until the roster included three passenger cars and a multipurpose flat car. The flat car was used as a work car, a freight car and a baggage car, complete with stakes, set-in pockets and ropes strung to keep suitcases from falling. The Dinkey operated until 1907. The equipment was stored at the C&NW in Boone until 1917 when it was scrapped to provide material for World War I.

Learn more about the Dinkey at the Ames Historical Society website.

Electric service
As early as 1895, there was talk of electrification. Nothing transpired until May 1, 1906, when the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern (FDDM&S) Railroad acquired the company. It suspended service during electrification and at the same time undertook construction of an interurban line between Ames and the FDDM&S mainline at Kelley, seven miles away. The first interurban car arrived on June 29, 1907. Local streetcar service was delayed until fall, pending delivery of the streetcars from a strike-bound car builder.

In September 1907, local streetcar service started. Two cars were originally assigned to Ames. The cars were numbered 86 and 88 and were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1907. Each car weighed 46,000 pounds and was 41 feet long with 40 seats. Number 86 was renumbered 286, and in 1914 it was destroyed in a fire. Number 88 was renumbered to 87 in 1909 and to 287 in 1912. It was scrapped in 1925 following an accident.

In 1912, service was improved from the original 30-minute interval to a 20-minute interval. Car 289 was purchased in 1912 for this service. It was 40 feet long and built by Jewett Car Co. It remained in Ames until the end of service and was scrapped in 1932.

On Nov. 12, 1913, the FDDM&S reported that 2,000 passengers per day were riding the streetcars between the city of Ames and Iowa State College. The average passenger load was 44 passengers per trip. The highest ridership day was on the Saturday of the Nebraska football game when more than 5,000 passengers rode streetcars.

In 1916, a new loop around the campus was opened. The original route established by the Dinkey had a campus terminal at the Hub and ended by the Exhibit Hall. In downtown Ames it crossed the C&NW by what is now Wheatsfield Cooperative and operated on Fifth Street and terminated by the power plant at Main Street and Duff Avenue. The Ames tracks were moved to Main Street in 1907.

The campus loop was established operating to the north of ISU's Physical Plant and the north side of Osborn Drive to Sheldon Avenue. It operated on the east side of Sheldon Avenue, and at Lincoln Way entered the center of the street to Knapp Street, then east on Knapp Street to connect with the interurban line that operated on a private right of way halfway between Welch and Stanton avenues. The street car then continued north on the private right of way passing to the south of the Memorial Union and continuing along the south side of Union Drive to Physical Plant, where the cars then returned to downtown Ames. Recollection of Ames residents are that the streetcar always operated in a counterclockwise direction.

Some Ames residents have also indicated that as youths, they can recall greasing the rails on several of the grades in the interurban route. This made it impossible for the interurban to climb the grades on their way to downtown Ames.

Following the completion of the campus loop, service was improved to a 15-minute interval. Car 288, which was identical to 287, was originally assigned to Fort Dodge for local service in that city. It was number 94 while in Fort Dodge and was transferred to Ames in 1916. Like 289, it was scrapped in 1932.

The period from 1917 to 1921 was the most productive for the Ames streetcars. Competition from cab companies and unregulated bus companies began to diminish streetcar riding by 1921.

On Nov. 8, 1919, the Yellow Hood Taxi Co. began operations. Its major advertising thrust was that it had enclosed cars that had heat in winter. By January 1920, Yellow Hood was operating 10 cabs. One was a seven-passenger Cole Eight; one was a seven-passenger Chandler; and eight were Ford Touring Cars. The fare was 25 cents from the C&NW train depot to the hotels. Other trips ranged from 35 cents to 75 cents up to a maximum trip of 20 blocks. Excursion rates were $3 per hour for driving in the city and $5 per hour in the country.

In 1921, unregulated bus competition caused the FDDM&S to complain that revenues had dropped by one-third. The only record of bus operation that can be found is that the Hutchison Bus Lines operated service from downtown to the Chautuqua located on the west end of Ninth Street. A fare increase from 5 cents to 7 cents was recommended by the FDDM&S, as well as the prohibition of bus service. The fare increase was not granted until April 21, 1925.

The FDDM&S continued to try to cut costs by converting from two-man crews to one-man operation in September 1923. With the reduction in crew costs, service was improved to a 10-minute interval to make it more attractive. A common strategy for many small town street railways in the 1920s was to convert to one-man cars and improve the frequency of the service to make it more attractive to the riding public.

The FDDM&S had a serious rail accident in 1925, fortunately, there were no personal injuries. In the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 1925, several freight cars that had brought construction material for the new home economics building became uncoupled in a switching accident at 2 a.m. and rolled from campus down the slight grade into Ames, where they crashed into four streetcars. Two cars were destroyed.

One of the cars was number 88, which was one of the original streetcars in Ames. Three cars were transferred from Fort Dodge local service to replace the destroyed cars. They were numbered 290-292 when reassigned to Ames and were scrapped in 1932.

On April 21, 1925, the Ames City Council allowed an increase in street car fares to 7 cents from 5 cents. Ticket book prices are increased from 25 tickets for $1 to 17 tickets for $1.

Electric streetcar service was reduced in Ames on Aug. 3, 1928, when evening and Sunday service was curtailed. No streetcar service was provided after 5:20 p.m. FDDM&S local bus service, which started in 1925, continued unchanged. In July 1929, the railroad received permission to discontinue streetcar service during the summer when college was not in session. In September 1929, the railroad announced that service would not resume. Local merchants tried to restore service before Christmas, but they were unsuccessful. In August 1930, the streetcar tracks were removed from Main Street.

Local bus service

There are no city records that show when bus service started, but bus service did exist as early as 1921.

Jan. 20, 1925, a passenger and bus driver were injured in a bus fire. The bus was being refueled at the Manhattan Oil Station at the corner of Lincoln Way and Grand. The bus driver, Albert Elliot, was seriously injured when the bus caught fire while he was refueling it. A passenger, Gladys Zismer, was seriously burned when she jumped through flames that had engulfed the front door of the bus. Zismer, an Iowa State student from Delmar, died in June from her injuries. On Dec. 19, 1925, her father was awarded $3,075 in damages from the Manhattan Oil Co., which had been convicted of negligence in allowing the bus to be refueled while a small kerosene stove was burning near the tank. The driver was released from the hospital Feb. 10, 1925.

Jan. 28, 1925, the Chamber of Commerce board of directors met to discuss the bus fire and the frequent accidents that had been occurring. They discussed canceling the franchise of the Hutchison Bus Co. and authorizing the FDDM&S to operate buses in Ames. The matter was referred to the Chamber of Commerce Highway Committee.

On April 21, 1925, the Ames City Council finally approved an increase in streetcar fares from 5 cents to 7 cents. Ticket prices increased from 25 for $1 to 17 for $1. At the same time, the FDDM&S announced it was buying four buses for use in Ames. The buses were bought to operate between the Fourth Ward (campustown area) and downtown. The buses were built by either Reo or Graham. The bus garage was located at 1003 Second St.

1930: The first time that high school students were transported at the expense of the Ames Community School District. It marked the successful conclusion of negotiations between the school district, city, and bus company. Residents of the Fourth Ward objected to the distance their children had to travel when the school board proposed to erect a new high school at Fifth Street and Clark Avenue. Fourth Ward residents had asked that the school be constructed in west Ames. The school board presented figures that showed there would be decreased efficiency in all branches of the curriculum if two high schools were maintained. To solve the problem, the school board offered to provide transportation to the 100 high school students in the Fourth Ward. When school resumed Sept. 8, 1930, special school bus service left West Gate every morning at 8:02 a.m. During the 1930s, the school district began operating its own buses.

Sept. 26, 1930: FDDM&S gets building permit for 18 by 32 addition to garage at the West Street and Sheldon Avenue intersection.

Feb. 24, 1931: Interstate Transit Lines was given permission to operate city bus line for month of March from FDDM&S special city council meeting April 1, 1930 to April 1, 1931 permit dates.

June 30, 1942: Ames' one bus route is revised to conform to World War II regulations. The route operates at 20-minute intervals from 6:20 a.m. to 11:40 p.m. A total of 6,312 passengers rode the route on Saturday, Dec. 18, 1942.

1931-1944: Interstate Transit Lines started operating buses in Ames. The company ran one route with two buses on 20-minute schedules from 6:20 a.m. until midnight. Interstate Transit Lines was a part of Union Pacific Stages.

Sept. 15, 1944: Interstate Transit Lines was sold to Robert Walker of Keokuk. Walker changed the name of the company to Midwest Transit Lines. Walker also owned bus companies in Keokuk, Muscatine and Fort Madison.

Emerson Gorman started as a driver for Interstate Transit Lines in 1935, then moved into the office as a dispatcher in 1942. In 1947, five new 1946 models were received.

April 27, 1946: Streamlined routes were started. Two routes were expanded into four routes. Buses operated at 20-minute intervals. They were staggered from Fifth Street and Kellogg Avenue so there was a bus every 10 minutes to campus. Ames College Route left at 10 minutes, 30 minutes and 50 minutes after the hour. The Crosstown Route left on the hour, 20 minutes and 40 minutes after the hour.

Sept. 23, 1947: Nine Ford transit buses are used to provide service on two routes.

June 13, 1950: the summer schedule was announced by Midwest Transit. Buses operated at a 20-minute interval weekdays until 7 p.m., and then at a 40-minute interval during the evening, and Sundays and holidays. Buses operate from 7:08 a.m. until 11:35 p.m.

Sept. 5, 1950: Midwest Transit Line buses were operating at a 20-minute interval from 6:08 a.m. until 11:55 p.m., including Sundays and holidays. Special campus buses via Sixth and 13th streets began operation on Sept. 25, 1950.

Sept. 20, 1950: New bus routes were announced.

  • Via 13th Street leaving Lincoln Way/Riverside Drive at 7:40 a.m., Lincoln Way to Duff Avenue, Duff Avenue to 13thStreet, 13th Street to campus.
  • Via Sixth Street, Fifth Street/Grand Avenue at 7:40 a.m., Fifth Street to Kellogg Avenue to ninth Street to Roosevelt Avenue to 12th Street to Northwestern Avenue to 13th Street to Ridgewood Avenue to Sixth Street to campus. Buses left the library corner at 5:05 p.m. and operate on reverse route. Noncampus bus leaving at 11:55 a.m.
  • Pammel Court bus will left Sixth Street/Kellogg Avenue at 1:35 p.m. and North Pammel Court at 11:50 a.m., and every hour until 6:50 p.m. Last bus departure at 6:50 p.m.
  • Regular college buses went by South Pammel Court when Pammel Court bus was not operating.

1951: Bus service is reduced due to low ridership.

1952: George Fenell bought Midwest Transit Lines and changed the name to Midwest Transportation Inc. At that time, Midwest Transportation took over the school routes. Before this happened, the school furnished its own buses and drivers.

1955: A traffic study in Ames showed that 5 percent of the population rode the bus daily. The Ames College Route carried 350 passengers per day; the Crosstown/Northside Route carried 700; the special bus (three trips) carried 50; and the evening shuttle carried 50 per day. Four buses were required for this schedule; Sunday ridership was 90 passengers per day. The taxi companies operated a total of eight taxis that carried approximately 800 passengers per day. Twenty-five intercity bus trips stopped each day in Ames at the Union Bus Depot located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Clark Avenue. The Union Bus Depot was completed in February 1949.

1960s: Midwest Transportation operated transit service, contract school service with Ames Community School District, and local taxi service (Red Top Cab). In August 1965, two new GMC Model 3501 transit coaches were purchased to replace old equipment. These buses continued in transit service until Midwest ended fixed-route service in 1975. The buses were used for contract shuttle services with ISU, serving dormitory shuttle routes until March 1982 when that seasonal service ended. They were also used occasionally in charter service for fraternities, sororities and dormitories. Used 40-foot "old look" buses were also purchased from the Twin Cities during the 1960s to replace older buses.

Cyride van Bob Killam started at Midwest July 15, 1966, as general manager. In 1972, he bought the business from George Fenell. In 1971 Midwest Transportation received the Ward dealership for the state of Iowa. In 1982, Midwest received the award for western Nebraska. Midwest was limited to picking up in six counties, and in 1980 received the rights to pick up anywhere in Iowa.

Sept. 3, 1968: A new Northside Route to 24th Street was added. Bus service operated from 6:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at 30-minute intervals on two routes (Crosstown/West Ames and Northside/24th Street) and four times per day on the University/16th Street Route. Trippers were also operated to Street Cecilia School and Ames High School.

Fixed-route ridership fluctuated during the 1950s and 1960s with a gradual downward trend dominating. Ames and ISU were growing, but the transit share of the travel market was declining. In 1958, there were 234,791 passengers from a population base of 26,182. In 1962, ridership increased to 269,997 and then steadily declined by 1970 to 105,517 even though population increased to 39,505.

The 1970s were a time of turmoil and transition for bus service in Ames. In September 1970, Midwest Transportation Inc. reported to the City Council it was losing money. Midwest requested and received a subsidy of $1,000 per month to continue bus service. The city subsidy continued until December 1972. At this time, a lease program was started with Midwest. The city council agreed to pay an hourly rate of $7.25 per bus to Midwest, and all farebox revenue was returned to the city. This was continued with various route structure and experimental operations until September 1974 when the per hour rate was increased to $9.95 per hour. Two crosstown fixed routes were operated and four tripper buses provided limited service to other areas in Ames.

March 1973: A subsidized taxi program was instituted allowing people 65 and older to ride for 75 cents. The city of Ames paid the balance of the regular fare. Subsidized bus and taxi service continued through 1975.

Jan. 15, 1976: The fixed-route bus service was ended, and revenue sharing funds were allocated for a Dial-A-Ride system. The service were provided under contract by Ames Taxi Co. with the use of city funds. The name, Cy-Ride, evolved at this time.

Federal revenue sharing funds were allocated for a Dial-A-Ride system. The services were provided under contractual arrangement between the city of Ames and the Ames Taxi Co., using city funds. Bob Cherry, a consultant and Davenport taxi owner, had indicated that Dial-A-Ride could make an operating profit, but would need funding for the purchase of equipment.

The city of Ames terminated this arrangement June 15, 1976, after five months of operations. Termination of service was attributed to poor organization and inadequate funding. Late buses and missed pickups were common problems.

The city of Ames asked the Iowa DOT to perform an analysis of the transit system and provide recommendations. Al Baker of the Iowa DOT developed a fixed-route system.

Cyride van September 1976: The new version of Cy-Ride began Sept. 13, 1976, with the city of Ames owning and operating the system. Mark Huddleston was the transit manager, and Karen Martens (Jamison) was the first dispatcher.

Cy-Ride included a combination of fixed route, Dial-A-Ride, city taxi and special services for handicapped and elderly, including a wheel chair van. Two fixed routes were operating during rush hours and a Dial-A-Ride service was provided during the middle of the day. The fixed-route buses did not enter the ISU campus. A total of 86,368 passengers rode in the fiscal year.

Sept. 4, 1979: A third route was added that provided service from 6:25 a.m. to 6:25 p.m. on weekdays. All-day operation on all three routes began Sept. 4, 1979. Buses were routed through central campus. Experimental evening service was provided for a three-week period in December 1980.

Aug. 23, 1981: The Cy-Ride system started by the city of Ames September 1976 was succeeded on Aug. 23, 1981, by an expanded service implemented after months of preliminary planning: one year by the temporary Transit Advisory Committee (March 1980 - March 1981), and then by the permanent authority, the Ames Transit Agency Board of Trustees.

The transit agency was established Sept. 16, 1980, to undertake establishment, acquisition, operation, management, control and governance of transit services in and for the city of Ames. That agency assumed control of the Cy-Ride system on July 1, 1981. This marked a milestone in university and city cooperation. The transit system that was launched Aug. 23, 1981, received funding from mandatory student tuition, an ISU contribution, property tax levy, revenue sharing, advertising revenues, an Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) grant, an Iowa DOT grant, and passenger fares.

The new five-route system provided more service on existing routes and included two new routes that served the Kate Mitchell School area (route #5) and Veterinary Medicine (route #4) areas. It also provided evening service, Saturday service, and new Sunday service. Service levels were 30-minute intervals during the day and 60-minute intervals in the evening. Limited Saturday service on the Yellow Route began Oct. 12, 1981.

The 1980s were characterized by continuous expansion of the system with new routes and a combination of new and used buses purchased to meet the growing demand for service.

Aug. 22, 1983: The Brown Route (route #6) was established, operating during rush hours only. The parking lot shuttle was established, connecting the Iowa State Center parking lot with central campus and provided additional service on the Orange Route (#4). Funding for the parking lot shuttle came from the Parking Systems Office at ISU. The purpose of the parking lot shuttle was to reduce the need to construct additional parking on campus. Subsequently, several parking lots on central campus were used as building sites. A 20-minute interval was established on Red, Green and Blue routes during the daytime hours.

May 5, 1984: A 31,000-square foot storage building, maintenance facility and office was dedicated at 1700 W. Sixth Street. The land is owned by ISU and leased to the transit agency for 99 years. Grants from the UMTA paid 75 percent of the $2 million construction cost, and $400,000 in tools and equipment that were installed in the building.

Ridership increased from 86,368 in FY76 to 331,365 in FY81 during city ownership and then increased dramatically to 902,711 in FY82 and 2,000,178 in FY84 under the ownership of the transit agency. The peak year in the 1980s was FY89, when 2,447,273 passengers rode.

Cyride vanAug. 24, 1985: Adult fares increased to 60 cents for fixed-route service and Dial-A-Ride fares were increased to $1.50 for the elderly and disabled riders. Sunday morning service was started. A 20-minute interval on the Red Route on weekends and a 20-minute interval on Blue Route on Saturdays was established. Fiscal year 1985-1986 was the first year that the Iowa DOT implemented a dedicated source of transit funding statewide. Mass transit in Iowa was now supported by one-fortieth of the license plate fees collected in the state.

Aug. 23, 1986: A crisis in the insurance industry resulted in the bankruptcy of Cy-Ride's insurance carrier. This caused a 5 percent reduction in Cy-Ride fixed route, Dial-A-Ride and administrative programs.

Aug. 19, 1988: Evening Dial-A-Ride service and evening Brown Route service was established. The Purple Route (#7) was established in the fall of 1989 to provide only rush-hour service to newly constructed apartment buildings in southwest Ames. Initial service was subsidized by the owner of the apartment complex. Two midday trips were added in August 1991. Additional trips were added in August 1992.

Jan. 20, 1992: Dial-A-Ride service for elderly and passengers with disabilities was expanded to completely comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additional service on weekday and Saturday nights and Sundays was provided. Fares had been lowered Aug. 23, 1992, to $1.50 for Dial-A-Ride.

May 1993: Service levels were reduced in order to balance revenues with expenses. Fares were increased to 90 cents for adults and 40 cents for students. Expenses have increased significantly due to ADA regulations and revenues have not increased sufficiently. Federal operating revenue has been decreased and city revenue increases are constrained by the state-imposed property tax freeze. Dial-A-Ride service was restricted to passengers with disabilities.

Ridership decreased to 2,154,401 in FY94. CyRide refocused its services to meet a change in demand for service. Increased car ownership, decreased parking on campus due to new building construction, changes in class scheduling and decreases in cost of auto ownership, were major factors influencing ridership. ISU's Parking Systems provided funds to improve the free shuttle service on the Orange Route connecting the Iowa State Center parking lot with central campus. This increased total ridership, but decreased fare-paying riders on other routes.

An agreement with the ISU Department of Residence in FY95 allowed residents of the Towers Residence Association to ride the Brown Route for no charge. This increased ridership on the Brown Route from 87,449 in FY95 to 399,261 in FY99.

The Gray Route (Route #8) was started in FY98 with two round trips per day. Service has been gradually expanded to 17 round trips per day in FY00. This provides service to new housing areas in the northern part of Ames and service will continue to be added as the area grows. This is part of the strategy of providing adequate service as people move into the area, and when they are most likely to make a mode choice for their work trips. This is much more effective than trying to change travel habits after people have moved and are accustomed to using their automobiles.

Cy-Ride also experimented with service between Ames and Des Moines Airport in December 1997. No subsidies were provided and the service was required to cover all operating costs from the farebox. Thereafter, a service route was provided on 16 days per year when there are large numbers of people traveling to and from the airport. In June 2009, CyRide's board opted to discontinue the route in lieu of a private operator, Executive Express, providing nine trips 365 days a year between Ames and the Des Moines Airport. CyRide continued to work with Executive Express toward housing them in the new Ames Intermodal Facility in campustown along with Burlington Trailways and Jefferson Lines after the facility opens in July 2012.

Cyride vanIn the fall of 2002, all ISU students paying tuition started riding CyRide for free by showing their student ID card. A portion of their tuition to the Government of Student Body started subsidizing CyRide. Since that time, ridership has grown dramatically and several routes have began throughout the Ames community including the #7 Purple, #21 Cardinal, #22 Gold, #6A Brown Towers and #6B Brown Mall. In addition, frequencies of several routes were increased during this timeframe to handle demand to ride the bus. Fares were increased in March 2004 to $1.00 per ride and remains that to this day. CyRide finalized construction on the first transit Leadership in Energy Efficiency & Design (LEED) Gold facility in Iowa in May 2008. In summer 2009, CyRide operated free to everyone for three months achieving a 27% ridership increase during that timeframe of which the effects were realized each month for the following year in record breaking monthly ridership. Fifteen minute frequencies were implemented on two core routes, Red and Blue, in FY2009 to even out passengers loads and improve overall safety on these services. CyRide also added 12 hybrid buses to its fleet, dubbed Cybrids, in August 2010 which operate primarily off of stored energy from braking as opposed to biodiesel fuel. Overall, ridership has increased by 57.3% since the start of ISU fare free in FY2002 (3,418,078 passengers) through FY2010 (5,377,155 passengers). Ridership continues to increase for CyRide into FY2011 and is estimated to achieve 5.5 million passengers this next fiscal year.

Detailed statistical information about Cy-Ride and the buses owned by Cy-Ride can be found at

Interurban service

The first interurban car to Ames arrived in Ames June 29, 1907. Service was provided as a shuttle between Ames and Kelley where a transfer could be made to cars to Des Moines or Fort Dodge. Various equipment was used on the line until 1916 when car 52 was purchased for this service. Number 52 was built in 1916 by American Car Co. It was 42 feet long and had 36 seats. It also featured a center entrance door and a small baggage compartment for small freight shipments. Number 52 was scrapped in 1932.

By 1918, passenger service was operated every hour between Ames and Kelley, connecting with the hourly cars operating between Boone and Des Moines. The FDDM&S formed the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Transportation Co. March 18, 1925, to operate bus service in the area served by the interurbans. The FDDM&S began its own bus service Aug 24, 1925, between Des Moines and Ames in competition with its rail service. It was common at that time for railroads to operate "competing" bus service with themselves in order to prevent other bus companies from securing a franchise serving the same area as the rail service.

By the summer of 1925 it was apparent that the interurbans were in a serious decline. On July 21, 1925, John Reed, vice president of the Iowa Railway and Light Co., appealed to the State of Iowa's Executive Council for reduced taxation for interurbans. He said, "It is painful enough to pay any taxes at all on property that is already a liability and being held because it cannot be disposed of. The advent of . . . highway systems and increased ownership of motor vehicles are things which are rapidly pushing city interurban railroads into the discard . . . if they are to serve the public for even a short while longer before they finally expire, a lower rate of taxation will be necessary."

Patronage on the rail service on the Ames branch dwindled. Service on the Ames branch was reduced Oct. 15, 1925, as part of a general service reduction on the entire railroad due to the increasing use of the private automobile. Rail service on the Ames branch ended in 1928. The railroad extended its bus service to Fort Dodge Oct. 16, 1927. The FDDM&S sold its bus operations to Interstate Transit Lines, a subsidiary of the C&NW Railway and the Union Pacific Railway in 1931.

Intercity bus service

On Aug. 24, 1925, the FDDM&S began its bus service between Ames and Des Moines. Six trips per day were made in each direction. The first bus left Ames at 7:30 a.m., and the last bus left Des Moines at 11:15 p.m. The buses were built by Pierce-Arrow. The $74 license fee was the largest license fee ever paid for a motor vehicle in Story County.

The Ames Motor Transportation Co. was formed prior to 1925 and provided service between Ames and Boone; Nevada and Ames; Ames and Waterloo; and Des Moines and Nevada. Service was suspended by court order Oct. 6, 1925, because the owner, L. C. Pantages, had failed to pay taxes. Pantages charged the State of Iowa's Railroad Commission with unfairness because he was denied a permit to operate service between Ames and Des Moines even though he had applied before the FDDM&S had.

The FDDM&S continued to expand its local and interurban bus operations. On Feb. 16, 1930, it increased service to Nevada to five trips per day and three trips per day to Waterloo.

A new carrier, Jefferson Lines, began providing service between Ames and Nevada, Iowa Falls, Mason City, Minneapolis, Des Moines and Kansas City in 1930. On October 28, 1930, the final section of the Jefferson Highway was completed at Mason City. This provide a continuous paved road from Canada to Columbia, Mo. Four trips were operated by Jefferson Lines in each direction. One trip was also provided to Belmond, Forest City and Lake Mills.

The FDDM&S continued to expand its intercity service. On Nov. 24, 1930, it expanded service on its Ames-Des Moines line to 10 trips per day, operating on approximately a two-hour headway. A garage location in Des Moines made it possible to have the first northbound departure at 7 a.m. and the last at 1 a.m. Southbound service from Ames started at 7 a.m., and the last departure was at 2:15 a.m.

In 1931 Interstate Transit Lines bought the bus division of the FDDM&S for $275,000, including 39 buses worth $132,500, garages worth $33,000, and the franchise worth $99,700.


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