LES CARS LYONNAIS (LCL)
LES CARS DU LYONNAIS (CDL)
Part 1 - mostly about the Lyon - Chaponost route
Part 2 - mostly about Lyon – Vienne and Lyon - Givors
Part 3 - Lyon – Beaurepaire (38) route
Part 4 - Other miscellaneous matters
|From LES CARS LYONNAIS (LCL)
to LES CARS DU LYONNAIS (CDL)
Part 1 - mostly about the LYON – CHAPONOST route
In 1939, a contract was signed between the OTL, represented by Mr O. Lombard-Platet, Managing Director, and Albert Balaye, of 38 rue Ravat. Mr Balaye and his company, subsequently known as Les Cars Lyonnais – Rapides Rouges, were sub-contracted to run bus route 14 Lyon to Chaponost, upon abandonment by the OTL of tramway route 14. The contract (“Convention”) ran to 8 pages and 14 articles, plus annexes.
The route to be followed was clearly defined: Chaponost (Place de l’Eglise) – IC19 – Aqueducs de Beaunand (NB subsequently this was habitually spelt Beaunant) – Pont Blanc – Pont d’Oullins – Quais Perrache & Gailleton – Lyon Place Antonin Poncet. It was specified that there would be a stop serving the Chapelle de Beaunand.
The vehicles would be painted in OTL livery, and display the OTL logo as well as that of the operator. OTL fares would apply, and there was a ban on accepting local traffic between Lyon and Pont Blanc.
Article 9 set out the financial arrangements. Firstly, Mr Balaye would receive an annual subsidy of 20,000 francs. But this could be reduced by penalties, such as:
- 100 francs for every timetabled journey that did not operate
- 20 francs for departures ahead of schedule
- 20 francs for late arrival (more than 30 minutes) at the terminus
- 50 francs for failure to transport the post, presumably following a separate tripartite arrangement with OTL and the Post Office.
Secondly, the cost of each kilometre run by the buses was fixed at 3 francs 12 centimes. If receipts did not cover this, then the loss was borne by the Cars Lyonnais. The first 10,000 francs of profit were solely for the Cars Lyonnais, the next 10,000 francs solely for OTL, and profits over and above 20,000 francs were split half and half.
The copy of the contract seen was “certifié conforme” on 29 June 1939, but it does not show the exact date of signature.
The original timings were:
Lyon<Chaponost 0535, 0635, 0735, 0835, 1105, 1215, 1335, 1635, 1735, 1835, 1915, 2015
Lyon<La Chapelle de Beaunant 0615, 1105, 1145, 1705, 1805, 1915
Pont d’Oullins<La Chapelle de Beaunant 0725, 1325
Chaponost<Lyon 0605, 0705, 0805, 0905, 1140, 1305, 1405, 1705, 1805, 1905, 1945, 2045
Chapelle de Beaunant<Lyon 0740, 1340, 1740, 1840, 1950
Chapelle de Beaunant<Pont d’Oullins 0635, 1240
Sundays and Bank Holidays
Lyon<Chaponost Hourly 0605 to 1905 except1605 and 1705
And in summer 1605, 2005, 2105, 2205
And in winter 1705, 2105
Lyon<Chapelle de Beaunant at 05 past the following hours – 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19
Chaponost<Lyon Hourly 0635 to 1935 except 1535 and 1635
And in summer 1535, 2035, 2135, 2235
And in winter 1635, 2135
Chapelle de Beaunant<Lyon at 45 past the following hours 7, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19, 21
And in summer 2045
The October 1939 timetable
The war years brought their share of problems. In 1940, the route was cut down to 9 journeys running from Chaponost to Aqueducs de Beaunant, with just 2 extended to Perrache and these latter appear to have disappeared soon after.
On 9 December 1940, Mr Balaye wrote to OTL to advise that he had ordered two vehicles from Isobloc which would run on town gas - gaz de ville. They cost 28,000 francs each and delivery was expected by the end of the year. As a result, on 22 February 1941, the authorities gave permission for the full route to be reopened.
But fuel was still an acute problem, with the company routinely writing to the authorities to complain that it had not received its allocation. On 17 July 1941 it was 200 litres of “huile”, as it was known at the time, which had not arrived.
July 1941 petrol allocation chart
The late 1940s and 1950s appear to have been a time when the mayor and town council of Chaponost were active in complaining of overcrowding on the buses, or requesting additional services as a result of increases in the population.
On 9 July 1947, they were complaining that the Chapelle de Beaunand had NOT had the promised service since the OTL tram abandonment; they wanted three additional return journeys per day, and suggested the buses would operate more quickly if a conductor collected the fares instead of the driver.
The reply from Mr Balaye was that he agreed to the extra journeys on Sundays and Bank Holidays, but not on weekdays as this would be illicit competition with OTL (in particular route 10 at St. Genis Laval). Regarding fully laden buses, he pointed out that this route had commuter traffic (although of course he did not use that term in 1947!) and that buses into Lyon in the morning and out of Lyon in the evening had to be full to ensure average takings kept the whole route profitable.
In March 1948 there was an argument over half-price season tickets. Understandably the mayor wanted their introduction – the authorities refused to intervene, saying that any concessionary fares were entirely at the discretion of the operator, and Balaye said he would be happy to introduce them, but only when other operators in his sectors agreed to do the same. He would not go it alone and risk reducing current income in search of an uncertain future increase in volume.
On 16 November 1949, Mr Balaye appeared to agree to 10 extra timings.
The October 1949 timetable
The 1949 timetable (verso)
Fare stages in 1952
Between December 1957 and October 1959 in Brignais, a bus war broke out between Poulat Driot and Cars Lyonnais, with accusations of early and late running and overcrowding. Monitoring by the Department of Transport between 06.07am and 07.07am one day showed general overcrowding – in one case a vehicle with 38 passengers already occupying most of the 45 seats and a further 20 climbing aboard.
Much later, on 06/10/1971, Les Cars Lyonnais bought the business of Poulat Driot. Net assets were valued at 770,000 FRF. Poulat Driot shareholders received 2 Cars du Lyonnais shares for every 5 Poulat Driot shares held (see the Poulat Driot story)..
In 1958 there was a major row with the mayor of Chaponost over capacity and overcrowding. The mayor was supporting a petition by over 100 users. Over 150 new houses or flats had been built since 1953 and the Lyon departures at18.45 & 19.15 were over full.
The Cars Lyonnais initial response was that the vehicles used were authorised to carry 45 seated + 55 standing (reminder: in France the seated capacity always includes the driver) and passenger numbers were never in excess of that.
The company was obliged to modify its response when it was pointed out that, on 23 December 1957, the Service des Mines had reduced the authorised capacity of the larger vehicles to 46 + 22 and the smaller to 42 + 32, so the legal total was only 68 or 74 places.
The company maintained there was no overcrowding even on the reduced figures, whereupon the Ministère de l’Equipement called for a confirmation of the fleet seating figures. The company supplied the following list – sadly the vehicle makes and models are not indicated:
Fleet as at 10 January 1958:
Registration Capacity ‘Carte Violette’
2496 – 2551 V 69 (6 vehicles)46 + 22
4100 V 69 42 + 32 with platform for urban service
4101 V 69 46 + 22
4400 V 69 46 + 22
4401 V 69 42 + 32 with platform for urban service
6711 V 69 38 + 18
9822 & 9823 V 69 46 + 22
2917 X 69 33
2918 X 69 Withdrawn & sold
2919 X 69 29
3369 X 69 30
3370 X 69 30 + 13. In the workshop for repairs
3836 X 69 33
2187 AC 69 30
3746 AC 69 21
3747 AC 69 25
3748 AC 69 19
7891 AK 69 13 + 4
585 AQ 69 34 + 14
2710 & 2711 AQ 69 46 + 22
3708 AQ 69 34 + 10 (also recorded as 3708 AU 69)
There is no record of any punitive action being taken.
A route map – date uncertain – showing the roads used by OTL routes 10 and 14 and by the Lyon – Chaponost service
A route map – date uncertain – showing the roads used by public transport within the commune of Chaponost
The mayor was on the warpath again in 1959. Firstly, he wanted an extension of the route from Chaponost to the ‘déviation de Brindas’. This was agreed in principle, but needed fares agreement with another operator, Poulat & Driot of Mornant. This was probably the extension to Le Bouleau (see 1970 below).
He also wanted a later evening departure from Chaponost than the existing 20.00 bus. This was refused on the grounds that the existing 20.00 departure had been monitored for 3 months, and was used by only one passenger – an OTL employee travelling free!
In 1969, overcrowding was claimed again. The vehicles used by then had a capacity of 34 + 59, and monitoring on 6 & 7 January produced no example of overcrowding. The company’s own monitoring claimed a maximum figure of 89 noted just once on the 18.30 at Oullins on 29 November 1968.
In 1970, there is a certificate from the Ministère de l’Equipement, confirming that the company had 10 vehicle licences for its three authorised routes:
Lyon – Givors via VenaisonThis may have been in support of a written request by the company for a licence to open a Travel Agency. There was no reply or follow-up in the file.
Lyon – Vienne via Brignais
Lyon – Chaponost – Le Bouleau. (A further autorisation in September 1971 saw the route become Lyon – Chaponost – Brindas).
In 1971, the Mairie of Chaponost was suggesting that it would be nice to create a route from Chaponost to Francheville, to connect with the Ouest 90 rail project. This was never done, and the whole proposal was finally dropped on 21 January 1974 as by that time the Ouest 90 project itself had also been abandoned.
By 1972 or early 1973, there was a new route, Lyon to Mornant (104), operating Monday to Saturday, and an authorisation was obtained to incorporate some extra journeys Orliénas – St. Laurent d’Agny – Mornant, which in reality were schools journeys for the schools in Mornant. The initial timings were:
Mornant 06.25 > 06.50 Givors 10.30 > 10.55 Mornant
Mornant 08.35 > 09.00 Givors 16.00 > 16.25 (1) Mornant
Mornant 13.30 > 13.35 (1) Givors 17.45 > 18.10 (1) Mornant
(1) No Saturday service
This was opposed by Faure, who ran a Friday market service from Bourg St. Andeol to Givors, but the Prefet confirmed his authorisation dated 14/09/1973.
The route did not last that long. By 1981, receipts were 1.25 F per km, only just covering fuel costs. The route ceased operating in September 1982.
In 1973, the company was in trouble with the authorities for unauthorised fare increases. It was not alone as Cars Bruyas of Soucieu en Jarrest, Cars Pullman Lyonnais Burtin of Lyon 2e and Transports Citroën of Lyon 7e were all cited at the same time.
Les Cars Lyonnais had been monitored on 10 April 1972, when their fares had increased by 10%, against a maximum of 5% authorised. Les Cars Lyonnais claimed they had simply applied the same fares as Transports Citroën, whose routes competed along the same roads.
A year later – 16 April 1973 – the transport authorities requested a decision from the Procureur (District Attorney), who seemed to have forgotten about the whole matter. There is no indication that any of the operators were taken to court.
Also in 1973, the Lyon – Vienne route made the news. From 01 July 1973, the company obtained an authorisation to reduce the number of Sunday services from 30 to 24, through lack of patronage. This involved obtaining the agreement of the SNCF, Transports Grosjean of Annonay, the Mairie de Loir-sur-Rhône, Cars Lafond (32 rue Camille Roy Lyon 7e), Transports Citroën, and the Ville de Vienne, none of whom raised objections. The Managing Director of Cars Lyonnais at this time was P. Richner.
In 1975, an incident occurred at Loire sur Saône. Vehicle 2059FK69 was inspected and found to be carrying more than 20 standing passengers. Up to 34 standing could be carried within the Lyon urban area, but only 20 beyond, where the infraction took place. The company escaped with a warning. A further infraction appeared to come when on 23 September 1975, a SAVIEM registered 2536CW69 carrying schoolchildren from Mornant to Orliénas was found not to have the obligatory “Transport d’Enfants” plate. The company escaped on a technicality as the vehicle was judged to be running, not a school service, but a duplicate vehicle on the Lyon – Vienne interurban service!
On 9 January 1976, from the new address at 55, boulevard Sampaix, 69190 Saint Fons, Mr Richner wrote the following letter to Jean-Pierre Fourcade, Minister of the Economy:
“……. We are a privately owned bus company, and over half our income comes from urban and interurban stage carriage services.
Our fleet of 60 vehicles is 90% Saviem…………..
In August 1974, we purchased 2 vehicles at a cost of 170,887 francs HT each. In October 1975 we asked for an estimate for two more similar vehicles and this came to;
254,445 francs HT each delivered without seats
263,545 francs HT each with seats fitted
This is an increase of 54.2% in less than 18 months.
During the same period, the authorities have reduced VAT from 17.6% to 7% in summer 1974, and authorised the following fare increases – 5% on 15 May 1975 and 2.5% on 1 September 1975, giving us an effective increase of just 18.2%……….”
There followed an accusation that companies would soon no longer have the means to provide services.
For the month of August 1977, the company requested some changes:
101 Lyon – Vienne and 103 Lyon – Chaponost - Brindas : cancellation of the little used timings.
104 Givors – Mornant: cancellation of all afternoon services.
102 Lyon – Givors and 105 Lyon – Mornant: no change
1977 Timetable route 105 Mornant
1977 Timetable route 103 Brindas
1977 – A monitoring exercise by the Department of Transport showed the following vehicles in service in January and the routes they were working.
For the school year 1978/1979 it is on record that the company tendered for carrying 25 schoolchildren to the Ecole de Fromente, St Didier au Mont d’Or. With one 40 seat vehicle covering 45 kms on each leg of the journey, it worked out at 3,440 FRF per year per child. Cars Moreau quoted 1.982,22 FRF for the same work.
1979 – more Chaponost complaints!
On 24/10/79 the technical services of the Préfecture asked the Préfêt for information on “how Chaponost will be served since we are nearing the date when the Cars Lyonnais will abandon their service Lyon - Chaponost (route 103)”. The reply is that the abandoning of the service was a false rumour. There was no question of CL abandoning the route which they had operated since 01/07/1945. As regards improvements to frequencies, the TCL would not be interested in intervening since their responsibility is limited to urban transport within the boundaries of the Courly. Chaponost is outside the Courly and the Rhône Département does not (nb at the time) subsidise stage carriage services. For more buses, the municipality of Chaponost would have to contribute financially.
In February 1980, correspondence shows that the business was now “TV Vienne Voyages (Tourisme Verney) locataire gérant de la CFIT et des Cars Lyonnais”. The Director was P. Montagnier. Among their routes were:
Ligne 9 Lyon to Romans
Ligne 10 Lyon to Roanne
Ligne 17 Lyon to Clermont Ferrand
Ligne 25 Lyon to St. Etienne
Ligne 101 Lyon Brignais Vienne
Ligne 103 Lyon Chaponost Brindas
Ligne 105 Lyon Mornant
The mayor of Chaponost was complaining again. In April 1980 it was proposed to cancel the 19h45 departure from Lyon and the 19h20 departure from Chaponost. And on Sundays, the 08h00, 13h30 and 19h30 from Lyon and the 08h30, 14h00 and 20h00 from Chaponost. This left a dormitory town with over 5,000 inhabitants with no service into or out of Lyon after 18h45.
By 1985, letter headings read “TV (Groupe Verney) Cars du Lyonnais” – Réseau de Lyon.
CDL SA au capital de 1.488.000 Francs – locataire gérant de la CFIT. Siège Social 3 rue Paul-Beldant 72005 Le Mans Cedex. DG 14 rue de Lübeck, 75116 Paris RC Lyon B 653 680 405
CFIT – RC Lyon B309 046 514
Cars Lyonnais – RC Lyon B955 508 379
Part 2 - mostly about Lyon – Vienne and Lyon - Givors
Back in 1931 the same Albert Balaye, 7, rue Gasparin, Lyon was operating three routes -
Lyon to Vienne direct,
Lyon to Vienne via St Symphorien,
Lyon to Givors
For this he had 10 Laffly LCSB vehicles –
3577PF3, 3578PF3, 5356PF3, 5357PF3, 2234PF4, 2545PF4, 4068PF3, 1767PF6, 4935PF6, 5398PF4. All were 13hp.
In 1933 7 Citroën were on order in September: They had 29 seats and more power – 17hp.
1933 Givors timetable
1935 timetable for Givors
1938 timetable for Givors
He expanded considerably during the war years:_
- 13/10/38. Acquisition of the Lyon to Givors via Vernaison route of Gustave Bouveyron.
- 26/02/40. Acquisition of 4 routes from Mr Jeunot - Jarcieu to Lyon, Jarcieu to Beaurepaire, Jarcieu to Anneyron and St. Vallier to Balaye
- 03/09/41. Acquisition of routes in the Drôme from M. Conjard, of Grand-Serre. Three routes – Grand-Serre to Lyon via St. Rambert, Grand-Serre to Romans, Grand-Serre to Beaurepaire.
- 1942 He proposed buying Neuschwander’s route from St Symphorien to Lyon via Ste Catherine. But that fell through.
- 01/09/45. He was able to advise the authorities that he no longer needed gas for Lyon to Jarcieu and Lyon to Grand Serre – vehicles fuelled on petrol again.
- 05/07/45. Acquisition of Lyon - Chaponost from OTL.
- 23/11/45. Acquisition of routes from Lyon to Pact & to Sonnay from Mr Gauthier.
In 1950, the Jarcieu routes were sold to Mr Gauthier, and later the Grand Serre routes to Mr Grosjean of Annonay.
1977 Timetable 101 Vienne
1977 Timetable 102 Givors
Part 3 - Lyon – Beaurepaire (38) route
As at 14/01/1933, this route was in the hands of GAUTHIER, based at Cours et Buis (38), and also at 48 rue Victor Hugo, 38 Vienne, Additional premises were used in Lyon. Three vehicles were used:
- GMC type T30 – 28 seater
- GMC type T60 – 35 seater
- Barron Vialle type FOC – 42 seater
Gauthier claimed he started this route on 02/05/1929.
Two daily returns existed:
Lyon 07.00 > 08.45 Beaurepaire
18.00 > 19.45
08.45 < 07.00
19.45 < 18.00
Between 1933 and 1941, the business must have developed, because on 14/01/1941, Gauthier was requesting 4 returns instead of 3, claiming that in 1939 he ran 31 returns, a claim which seems doubtful! The Rhône passed his request on to the Isère, which gave its agreement in August 1941.Gauthier was still the incumbent on 24/05/1960.
Gauthier in 1941
Gauthier in 1952
Timetable in 1958
But by 1970, Vienne Voyages was the operator.
Lyon to Beaurepaire is part of the route network in 1970.
In June 1979, frequencies were reduced, and references to the route ceased after January 1980.
Part 4 - Other miscellaneous matters
It was only in a deed dated 5 December 1955, that Albert Balaye of 12, rue de Cronstadt, legally handed over all his personal transport rights to his company.
He brought in particular the following to the Rapides Rouges, whose name became LES CARS LYONNAIS (RAPIDES ROUGES) 12, 14, 16 rue Cronstadt, Lyon, with a capital of 20 million francs:
- His transport interests, including the departure site in Lyon at 36 cours de Verdun, and the garage at Vienne (Isère) rue Vimaine, previously operated as a sole trader registered at the RCS Lyon – A103065.
- The operating licences for Lyon Givors Vienne, Lyon Vernaison Givors, and Lyon Chaponost
The existence of a route from St. Etienne to Grenoble involved three département CTDs – Loire, Rhône and Isère. In 1939, a single daily return via La Côte St. André existed. By 1967, no operator wanted to operate the whole length of the route.
But on 30/06/67, the régie VFD sold to SA Vienne Voyages, 46 rue Victor Hugo, Vienne, Capital 100,000 FRF, RCS 65B40, the portion from St Etienne to Vienne, that they had acquired on 20/09/1955 for 7 million AF. The sale price was 30,000 NF.
VFD had requested 4 returns per week, on Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat. The authorities refused, as they did the following year when Vienne Voyages made a similar application.
On 27/03/1967, Vienne Voyages had been converted from an SARL into a Sté Anonyme by a complicated share sale (cession de parts).
Since 26/05/1965, the SARL had been managed by Raymond Faure, Robert Faure, Roger Bardin and Louise Peyron-Gauthier. Each had 300 shares of a nominal value of 100 F each. Raymond and Robert Faure sold their shares.
As a result of various transfers the holders of the 1,200 shares in the S.A. became;
- Roger BARDIN 900
- Louise GAUTHIER 290
- Marcel BARDIN, Mme Alberte BARDIN, Josette RICHARD, Madeleine RICHARD and one other person 2 shares each
There is a slight discrepancy as other sources name 6 persons (?) each holding 2 shares:
- Louise PEYRON (widow of Jules GAUTHIER), dob 20/06/1894 - Cours et Buis
- Jean André RICHARD, 07/08/1934 - Roussillon (38)
- Marcel BARDIN, 09/01/1919 – Hauterive (26)
- Alberte GAUTHIER, wife of Roger BARDIN, 21/12/1928 – Cours et Buis
- Josette GIRAUD, wife of Jean RICHARD, 24/03/1945 – Roussillon (38)
- Madeleine DECOEUR, widow of Fernand RICHARD, 18/03/1914 – Sonnay (38)
Les Cars Lyonnais – A Balaye et Cie, 55, blvd Lucien Sampaix, 69190 Saint Fons.
On the business’ 4 corridors:
1. Lyon Givors Vienne
2. Lyon Vernaison Givors
3. Lyon Chaponost Brindas
4. Lyon Mornant Givors
Income in 1975 was 5,229,281 FRF
August income was 202,018.
So average income in each of the other 11 months was 457,023. The company used these statistics to prove that income in August fell by 56%, and they wanted to reduce August and Sunday frequencies.
A study commissioned to look at losses on route 4 Lyon-Mornant-Givors reported on 26/05/1976.
On weekdays, 6 vehicles were required at peaks, 3 off peak.
On Saturdays, 5 were required at peaks, 3 off peak.
On Sundays, 2 were needed.
Annual kms run were 303,838.
So 3 buses were allocated permanently to the route, whilst another three shared duties with other routes.
The equivalent of 5 full-time drivers was needed, at a salary cost of 239,780 F.
As a consequence, total costs were 860,440, income was 551,986, and the annual deficit was 308,454 F.
The company – July 1976 – also wanted to cancel a timing on Lyon to Brindas via Craponne Tassin and Vaise, and this resulted in angry commuters blocking company vehicles.
5 October – Les Cars Lyonnais offered to cede the Mornant and Brindas routes to TCL. TCL studied this seriously, using several hypotheses
1 – Operating a Lyon – Vaise - Brindas route would result in a deficit of 188,000 FRF, equivalent to 10.23 FRF per passenger
2 – Operating from Lyon to Brindas by tweaking existing route 73 (curiously in 2017 the 73 does still go to Brindas) would result in a deficit 21,000 FRF or 1.49 FRF per passenger.
3 – Operating a slightly different Lyon – Brindas – Soucieu route would give a deficit of 187,000 FRF or 7.29 FRF per passenger.
Later in 1977, Les Cars Lyonnais confirmed their losses on the Mornant Lyon section of the route were just 157,10 FRF.
In May, the Régie RSAR also looked at the possibility of taking over the Brindas route. For 303 days of service, one vehicle would be required plus 1 1/2 drivers. Total kms would be 77,871 – total costs calculated 278,000 FRF. Estimated income was just 106,000 FRF. In a 19 page document, 3 other possibilities were examined, but the smallest deficit was 143,000 FRF. Nothing came of these overtures.
The press said (and it was confirmed in a TV Vienne Voyages letter dated 15 February 1980) that Les Cars du Lyonnais was the result of a merger in 1978 of CDL, Vienne Voyages and C.F.I.T. (ex Transports Citroën).
In the years 1980 – 1983, these were Les Cars du Lyonnais’ figures:
‘ooo FRF 1980 1981 1982 1983
Profit (loss) (5.592) (2.801) (1.138) 134
Salaries 15.060 13.599 13.449 12.901
On 8 January, a three-year contract was signed with TCRL (Convention), relating to services in Feyzin and Solaize, which later became routes 78 and 79. Buses on the Lyon to Vienne route could carry local traffic, whilst there was also a Feyzin to Lyon urban service.
The results are summarized in the following timetables:
Summary of the Convention TCRL / CFIT
1979 timetable Solaize - Lyon
Timetable of internal Feyzin Solaize services 1979
The "droits occasionnels" cover the licences for excursions. In 1979, Cars Lyonnais and CFIT each held 19, whilst Vienne Voyages held just 1.
In February it was TV-Vienne Voyages that came back on the subject of Brindas, with a new proposition involving a journey time of 45 minutes and 4 daily returns. It would need to be as a sub-contractor for TCL, and costs were calculates as 374,194 FRF (8.206 FRF TTC per kilometer). TCL did not appear to be interested in subsidizing the losses!
On 10th January, following an inspection, TV Cars du Lyonnais received a warning for absence of security items on many vehicles inspected. The company defended itself by pointing out that in 1982, 60 glass-breaking hammers, 65 fire extinguishers and 21 first aid kits had been stolen from its vehicles, costing 20,000 F to replace.
In response to remarks concerning the Lyon Brignais service, TV Cars du Lyonnais recommended use of its 10 and 20 journey cards. Their current sales figures were:
12/83 01/84 02/84
On Brignais to Lyon 62 66 61
On Brignais to Oullins 42 43 61
A GIVORS press report was not overly complimentary. What was now les Cars du Lyonnais had 130 employees (85 drivers), 90 vehicles, 3 premises – Saint Fons, Vienne and Le Péage de Roussillon. A restructuring seemed vital for a company said to have a poor image, particularly as to punctuality and cleanliness.
On the positive side, eight PR80 had been put into service since March 1987, and frequency on the 101 for Givors had been increased to every 30 min from 05.54 to 19.19.
From Citroën and Les Cars Lyonnais to Les Cars du Lyonnais (CdL) -
On 23 May 1977, Mr Y. Verney wrote to the Préfêt de Lyon. He advised that with effect from 01/04/1977, all Transports Citroën’s passenger transport activities had been sold to the CFIT Compagnie Financière et Industrielle de Transports, Head Office, 3 rue Paul Beldant, LE MANS, General Management 28/34, blvd du Parc, 92521 NEUILLY SUR SEINE.
Just one year later, on 1 April, Vienne Voyages (Verney Group), purchased a majority holding in les Cars Lyonnais.
Almost immediately – on 23 June, the CFIT laid out its plans to restructure the Lyon to St. Etienne and Lyon to Clermont Ferrand corridors. These involved using the A47 and A7 motorways to increase speed. CFIT and GM Cars St. Etienne would connect Lyon and St. Etienne in 60 minutes. There was of course opposition from the SNCF, and on this occasion the authorities wrote on 04/09/78 asking the company to refrain from implementing the plans.
The main reason appears to be that the Direction de l’Equipement had just produced in January a huge study on transport in the region and its perceived future needs, covering rail as well as road.
The plan looks very much like the Stelycars operation, even though that company only took over in 1989.
A ‘convention’ was signed by the TCRL and the CFIT, whose routes to Vienne, Valence, Bourg de Péage and Annonay passed through the Lyon urban communes of Solaise and Feyzin. The CFIT was authorized to take local passengers, but vehicles used had to be 8 years old or less and have less than 600,000 kms on the clock. All receipts for local travel went to the TCRL, whilst CFIT received a fixed remuneration which as at 11/09/1978, was calculated at 7.08 FRF per km operated. The convention ran for three years from 01/01/1979, and was tacitly renewable every 3 years.
The lengthy correspondence on this subject brought to light correspondence with SNCF as to what they might do to improve passenger options.
A convention dated 12 June 1961 dealt with services by both entities on the Lyon – Annonay corridor. Transports Citroën undertook to price tickets at not less than 0,938 per km of the second class SNCF ticket. This was done in three stages:
Transports Citroën SNCF
01/06/1961 4.2 NF 5.0 NF
01/12/1961 5.0 NF 6.0 NF
01/06/1962 5.5 NF 6.6 NF
Another document from 10/11/1977 was a study of what was going to happen to the Lyon depot of VFD (in avenue Berthelot at the time).
The TCRL and/or the Département du Rhône was expected to take over the operations. The major problem was staff, as it was considered impossible to integrate the VFD staff because of differences in pay and working conditions. 78 VFD staff worked out of the depot. An interim “affrêtement” was now being envisaged, with VFD as sub-contractor. There is an interesting insight into the routes concerned.
Three routes had urban sections:
Lyon – Chassieu – Genas was part of a route from Lyon to Tignieu
Lyon – Decines – Meyzieu – Jonage was served by several longer routes: Lyon to La Balme, Lyon to Montalieu and Lyon to Yenne
Lyon – St. Priest – Mions was served by routes from Lyon to Artas and to Roybon.
Registered on 13 June 1979, we learn more about the ‘location gérance’ contracts entered into by Vienne Voyages.
Les Cars Lyonnais A. Balaye et Cie, SA with a capital of 501,120 FRF, 55 boulevard Sampaix, 69190 SAINT FONS, RCS B955508379 represented by Annie-Charlotte Verney signed over the location-gérance to Vienne Voyages, SA with a capital of 480,000 FRF RCS B653 680 405, represented by Jean Michel Verney.
This was valid for 1 year renewable from 01/01/79, but limited to 30/09/84, the date of expiry of the commercial lease on the premises. So Vienne Voyages runs the business and pays an annual rent of 1.3 million FRF to LCL for the use of the assets (routes, vehicles, premises).
A superb list of 53 vehicles is included (see annex 1 below).
Lyon Givors via Vernaison 4 daily, 2 Sundays
Givors Grigny 1 daily, 1 Sat reserved for schools
Lyon Vienne via Brignais 27 weekdays, 3 Sundays
Mornant Lyon via Brignais 5 daily
Taluyers Lyon via Brignais 3 daily, I Sundays
Mornant Lyon via Brindas 4 daily
Lyon Chaponost 12 daily
Taluyers Mornant via Orliénas 1 on Fridays
Rontalon Mornant 1 on Fridays
The second contract in favour of Vienne Voyages was from CFIT, SA capital 47 204 900 FRF, 3 rue Paul Beldant 72000 Le Mans RCS B 309 046 514 represented by Marc Verney. The annual rental was 600,000 FRF.
The list of vehicles appears as annex 2 below and the routes were:
Le Creusot Lyon
St Etienne Valence via Givors
Lyon Macon via Thoissey
Lyon Clermont Ferrand
Lyon St Etienne
Lyon Valence via Vienne
Lyon Romans Bourg-de-Péage
Lyon Vienne via St Symphorien
It was officially published in the Moniteur Judiciaire on 14 July that Vienne Voyages had modified its business name (article three of the Memo & Arts) to “CARS DU LYONNAIS” (C.D.L.), 55 boulevard Lucien Sampaix, 69190 St. Fons.
On 26 March, the employees (237 staff) had been on strike for 2 days, complaining of the impossibility of respecting the new rostering. The restructuring of routes was creating problems with the customers.
On 18 June, there was an official inspection by the Ministry of Transport, following a fatal accident at St. Laurent de Mure on 26 April. The principal objective was to control that drivers had respected their rest periods, but the report included a lot of ancillary information:
Apart from the interurban network, the company was operating:
- Urban services in Gisors
- 3 sub-contracted routes (affrêtés) for TCL for Vernaison, Solaize and Feyzin - Convention CFIT/ TCL signed on 7/02/79
- 29 schools services in Isère and 15 in Rhône
- A lot of factory transport for companies including RVI, SNAV, Camping-Gaz, CALOR, Rhone-Poulenc etc
- 59 excursions licences (and 20 new applied for as the company wished to develop that business)
The inspectors described the fleet as very mixed and a bit old.
Depot premises existed at Vienne and Solaize as well as the principal site at St. Fons
The inspectors appended a fleet summary as at 31/01/1980, showing for each vehicle:
Make and model
Seats or tonnage
VIN chassis number
Kms on the clock
Date into service
Date of allocation to Lyon
The CDL had been on strike since 05/11/1981. This ended on 19/11/1981. Verney management stated that 35 new vehicles had been added to the CDL fleet in the previous 2 years and 7 more RVI buses were ordered and due the next month. Route 79 Lyon – St Symphorien – Vienne would have 4 of these, leaving routes 101 and 105 with the oldest vehicles, that CDL intended to replace within the next 18 months.
By 1982, routes 78 (Perrache to Feyzin) and 79 were unreliable (see 1979) and had led to falling passenger numbers. Vehicles allocated were 3 urban CBM to the 78 (31 seats, 58 standing) and 6 or 7 two door S53 to the 79 (43 seats and 18 standing). As an example in January 1982:
Timings not run: 28 on the 78, 17 on the 79
Journeys up to ten minutes late: 22 on the 78, 6 on the 79
Journeys more than 10 minutes late: 5 on the 78, 5 on the 79.
Whilst the problems are well documented, the remedial action taken is not specified.
These problems led to frequent Inspections of CDL – vehicle information extracted:
Date Place Route
14/09/1982 Ouillins 105 6838 HS 69 Saviem S53RLX7
105 6850 HS 69 Saviem S53RLX7
15/09/1982 Brignais 105 2676 GE 69 Berliet
105 1174 TN 38 Saviem S53M
12/10/1982 Ouillins 6846 HS 69 Saviem S53RLX7
101 2059 FK 69 Saviem S105M
9861 GS 69 Saviem
105 21 EP 69 Saviem
103 3854 HP 69 Berliet
101 2062 FK 69 Saviem S105M
101 6828 HS 69 Saviem S53RS4BP
101 9861 GJ 69 Saviem S53
13/10/1982 Vienne 101 6848 HS 69 Saviem S53RLX1
101 8873 HR 69 CBM
18/10/1982 Perrache 101 1279 JT 69 Saviem S53
103 7646 LA 59 Saviem S53R
19/10/1982 Brignais 105 6858 HS 69 Saviem S53R
20/10/1982 St Genis Laval 101 3044 FM 69 Saviem S105M
21/10/1982 Perrache 78 9860 GJ 69 Saviem S53
25/10/1982 Perrache 101 6655 JE 69 Saviem S53M
101 1175 TN 38 Saviem S53M
26/10/1982 Lyon 101 9591 HR 69 CBM LMB12
29 September – Saviem S53 413DY69 new 06/10/1970, normally allocated to Péage de Roussillion depot but on loan to St. Fons, was destroyed by fire in the Grande Rue at Oullins. This was 8 days after a similar incident involving another company vehicle.
Was it sabotage? Or a series of accidents?
On 27 September and on 6 October Saviem S53 s on the Lyon Vienne service caught fire when running through Oullins.
Then a three year old CBM, 2405HS69 on the 78 Perrache Feyzin, similarly suffered an engine fire at Feyzin.
These days that might be considered par for the course, but at the time, the management genuinely believed in the possibility of arson.
By this date, all operations were carried out under the trading name CDL (Cars du Lyonnais).
Operations in the Vallée de Brevenne had seen the axing of services on the 17, but one Sunday service was reinstated, leaving Clermont at 14.30 and Lyon at 14.40. Along the route, at Boen, vehicles, or drivers, or maybe both, were exchanged. At the time, Genin & Viallon (Rapid’s Bleus) also operated a Boen to Lyon route. They ceased all operations in 1992, and one of their last vehicles (a Berliet PAK) was preserved by the Retrobus Association in Lyon. A history of the business was published in Charge Utile numbers 214 and 215.
As at 28 May 1982, when the new timetables for the period 28/06/82 to 04/09/82 for routes –
8 Lyon – Valencewere unveiled, the company was in a poor financial state. The Managing Director writes that without subsidies, neither these timetables, nor those for routes 17 (Clermont-Ferrand) and 18 (Beaurepaire), can be maintained in the future.
9 Lyon – Romans
10 Lyon – Roanne
Already on 13/04/82, timings have been cut – on the 8 & 9, the 08.15 St. Vallier – Valence, 13.15 Valence – Lyon and 17.00 Lyon – Valence have gone. On route 10 it is the 08.00 Lyon departure and the 17.35 Roanne departure.
Reliability of school services is poor – LEP Brignais complained formally
And the company gives the reason. Costs the previous year were 2,316,000 FRF, income was 1,860,000 FRF.
Our study stops at this point. The CDL operations are now integrated into what is TRAI – Transdev Rhône Alpes Interurban.
Clive D’EATH – 12/10/2019
Annex 1 – list of vehicles rented by Les Cars Lyonnais to Vienne Voyages 06/06/79
Kassbohrer 551/580 5183 GL 69
Saviem SC1 6982 BM 69
Saviem SC1 6405 CC 69
Saviem SC1 6406 CC 69
Saviem SC1 6407 CC 69
Saviem SC1 5485 CP 69
Saviem SC2 2536 CW 69
MB O302 7033 FD 69
MB O302 3436 FE 69
MB O302 327 R 5221 FE 69
MB O302 OM 4417 HE 69
Renault R2191 7050 EL 69
Saviem S105M 8038 FG 69
Saviem S105M 2059 FK 69
Saviem S105M 2062 FK 69
Saviem S105M 3044 FM 69
Saviem S105M 3046 FM 69
Saviem S105M 9860 GJ 69
Saviem S105M 9861 GJ 69
Saviem S105M 9863 GJ 69
Berliet PH10/100 1103 DH 69
Berliet PR3A/GMV6 452 EF 69
Eagle 04 Type orig 7745 GA 69
Eagle 04 Type orig 7748 GA 69
Eagle 05 6948 GA 69
Eagle 05 6950 GA 69
These would really appear to be the Kassbohrer vehicles built mainly for the US but also sold in Europe from 1966 to 1977
(model 04) and later (models 05 and 05E)!!
Saviem S45 2756 CR 69
Saviem S45 2757 CR 69
Saviem S45 2758 CR 69
Saviem S45 2759 CR 69
Saviem S45 2179 DJ 69
Saviem S45 270 DL 69
Saviem S45 271 DL 69
Saviem S45 272 DL 69
Saviem S45 273 DL 69
Saviem S45 N 9082 DH 69
Saviem S53M 1712 DR 69
Saviem S53M 1835 DR 69
Saviem S53M 154 DT 69
Saviem S53 1702 DW 69
Saviem S53 413 DY 69
Saviem S53 414 DY 69
Saviem S53 6756 EB 69
Saviem S53 6757 EB 69
Saviem S53 4583 EN 69
Saviem S53 4584 EN 69
Saviem S53M XL 9929 EN 69
Saviem E7L 2356 3221 GZ 69
Renault R2137 8160 FY 69 Van
Citroën AYCA 8538 FJ 69 Van
Renault R2105 7414 DE 69 Van
Renault R2382 3657 GC 69 Van
Scania 7798 CD 69 Tow Lorry
Annex 2 – list of vehicles rented by CFIT to Vienne Voyages 06/06/79
Citroën 60 DIP 6841 CG 69
Citroën 60 DIP 273 DE 69
Citroën 60 DIP 1305 DE 69
Citroën 350 PHLZ 7663 FZ 69
Citroën C35 3095 GK 69
Berliet PHN 8 2716 CS 69
Berliet PHN 10 2280 CS 69
Berliet PHN 10 1434 CT 69
Berliet PHN 10 1324 DG 69
Berliet PH 4 635 100 EF 69
Berliet PH 4 635 101 EF 69
Berliet PH 4 620 2635 GJ 69
Berliet PH 4 635 6582 GW 69
Berliet PR 100 PA 150 ET 69
Berliet PR 100 PA 15 EX 69
Berliet PH 3 620 816 DD 69
Berliet PH 3 620 272 DE 69
Berliet PH 3 GMV 6 200 DT 69
Berliet PH 3 L 620 6653 DW 69
Berliet PH 3 620 6161 EA 69
Berliet PH 3 620 300 EF 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 20 EP 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 21 EP 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 7022 ET 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 7286 FG 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 3523 FH 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 7641 FH 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 7646 FH 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 394 FK 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 2582 FK 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 7632 FK 69
Berliet PH 3 520 9971 GB 69
Berliet PH 3 620 9973 GB 69
Berliet PH 3 520 3240 GC 69
Berliet PH 3 L 620 9865 GC 69
Berliet PH 3 620 6506 GF 69
Berliet PH 3 620 2573 GM 69
Berliet PR 2 V 800 5304 RQ 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 1387 HC 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 2413 HC 69
Berliet PR 3 AV 800 1771 HD 69
Berliet PR 14 B 2676 GE 69
Berliet PR 14 5 B 258 GW 69
Scania BR 85 6149 FS 69
Verney TD 5 C 3640 FS 69
Verney TD 5 C 4777 GC 69
Verney TD 5 C 7035 HC 69
Magirus 120 R 80 4783 FA 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 333 EM 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 400 EN 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 7866 GE 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1385 HC 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1390 HC 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1772 HD 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1773 HD 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1774 HD 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 1776 HD 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 6640 HE 69
Magirus 230 TL 120 6650 HE 69
Saviem E 7 L 7942 GZ 69
Saviem S53R 6622 HE 69 – on lease from Renault-Bail
Citroën 11 AK 400 391 FK 69
Citroën HY 72 6256 WJ 75
Citroën HY Grillet 5743 FG 69
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