History of Public Transit in Lexington
Public transportation in Lexington, Ky. dates back to the late 19th Century. Beginning with city omnibuses in 1874 and evolving to the mule car days of 1882, the electric streetcar in 1890, the motor bus in 1938, and the trolley bus introduced in 1982, Lexington has experienced continuing advancement in its public transportation system.
The evolution of public transportation has been marked by several name changes as privately-owned companies sold or traded the systems. The public transit system first established in Lexington in 1874 consisted of city omnibuses, oversized horse-drawn stagecoaches, and was called the Lexington Railway Company. The name was later changed to the Lexington Street Railway Company to avoid confusion with the steam railroads.
During the streetcar days (1890-1938), the system was known as the Kentucky Traction and Terminal Company and was owned by Kentucky Utilities. However, Kentucky Utilities traded the system to Mr. D.D. Stewart for some coal to run one of their power plants located near Pineville on Route 25E. Mr. Stewart renamed the system the Lexington Railway System when motor buses replaced the streetcars in early 1938. The Lexington Railway System then became the Lexington Transit Corporation. This name held during two changes in ownership and management until 1972.
Prior to 1972, the public transportation system in Lexington was privately owned. By the early 70's the Lexington Transit Corporation's expenses began to outstrip revenue. In April 1972 the local government incorporated the system under KRS 96A as the Transit Authority of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, commonly known as Lextran, and began operating in December 1973.
Today, Lextran (The Transit Authority of Lexington, Ky.) is Lexington's public transportation system. Lextran operates a fleet of 73 buses, including a University of Kentucky campus shuttle service, and contracts a door-to door Paratransit service through Red Cross WHEELS. Our mainline bus service runs from 5:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Regular bus fare is one dollar and includes unlimited transfers on a one way trip. Other reduced fares, as well as a variety of pass programs are also available to individuals that qualify. For persons with disabilities, all Lextran routes are wheelchair accessible.
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