With Mr Favier, we are looking at a personality of the bus industry in the Lyon area, always linked with the town of Millery, in the outer southern suburbs of Lyon, perched on a hill at an altitude of 300 m.

It is the kind of place that must have been a country village for many centuries, 20 kms away from Lyon, but has slowly been sucked into the Metropole as a result of which it now has a population of 4,500, many of whom commute to Lyon. So the town has some industry, notably Lafarge Granulats, part of the Lafarge group that has revenues of over 13 billion euros, but also several historic monuments, including the Château de la Gallée which was already recorded in the 12th century and was known for the quality of its vineyards.

coat of arms of Millery

Millery coat of arms

Château de la Gallée

Château de la Gallée

The name of Etienne Favier appears in 1933. In association with a Mr Guillot, he began his bus services on 11th April 1933 (the date according to official records). Three routes were started:

-        Millery to Lyon via Irigny, with 4 returns daily (6 on Sundays and Bank Holidays)

-        Millery to Lyon via St. Genis Laval, also 4 returns daily (6 on Sundays and Bank Holidays).

-        Millery to Givors – this rather discrete route seems to have been limited to one market trip on Fridays, plus a service on Fair Days (Jours de Foire).  That was certainly the case by 1953 when the bus left Millery at 08.00 and returned from Givors at 11.00.

Before the start of operations, in March, the Préfet and other operators were duly informed, with the OTL objecting as usual to operators encroaching on its urban territory. This will have undoubtedly been settled by a ban on carrying local traffic in Lyon. The terminus for the Lyon routes was Quai Rimbaud.

In 1936 Mr Guillot informed the Préfet that his association with Etienne Favier had been brought to an amicable end on 31/08/1936. Mr Guillot transferred all his rights to Etienne Favier, and disappeared from the scene.

On 16 April 1936  the CTD requested information on the vehicles authorised to carry ‘messageries’ (packets up to a maximum of 50 kgs). This produced an overview of the fleet:

823 C16                Saurer                    -                               1933      33+10 replaced by 2516 PF 7

585 PF 4                Berliet  22hp                                         1933      43+3

6111 PF 4             MLB (Léon Bollé)                                               29+12 replaced by 532 PF 6

8504 PF 5             Berliet 16hp      250 kg                          1934       27

2516 PF 7             Berliet 19hp      150 kg                                         30+10

532 PF 6               Bernard 19hp   200 kg                          1934      29+10

headed notepaper 1940

Headed notepaper 1940

Often, wartime files are sparse, but in the Lyon area, recorded complaints were numerous, mainly because the travelling public had not assimilated the need for economies. Here are some examples.

Overloading was commonplace, and frequencies very reduced.

An Inspector’s report on 17th September 1940 recorded that under the “Plan Armistice” (regulation of transport to ensure best use of resources) Favier was at that time allocated just two returns –

Departures from Millery at 06.45 and 13.00

Departures from Lyon at 11.00 and 18.30

But he was found to be operating an additional third trip on Sundays. The inspector deemed that that was necessary and it would be regularized shortly by an “arrêté préfectoral”.

The interurban buses had seating for 30 and in wartime were authorized to carry 10 standing. But Favier’s buses had a further 5 to 12 standing. The Inspector pointed out that this had to be tolerated on relatively short journeys. All operators were in the same position, and the alternative – to increase the number of vehicles – was unthinkable in view of the difficulties in obtaining tyres, diesel etc.

Passengers accused Favier of not issuing season tickets. In fact, Favier had wrongly continued issuing these and the Préfecture had had to call him to order. Only a very limited number of categories of persons had the right to a cheaper season ticket: passengers were blaming the operator for a decision taken by the authorities.

Finally, the public was angry that “mutilés de guerre” (war wounded) were refused free or reduced price travel. This was another bone of contention. Simplifying matters slightly, the law gave them the right to free or reduced price travel on nationally regulated transport (rail), but not on locally regulated transport (bus). Once again the operator was being blamed for obeying the law!

The calculations for allocation of fuel took up a lot of energy, as we have seen in other files.

Below is one dated 29/08/1940:

calculation of fuel allocation

You can read that the claim was for 150 kms per day (105 for the 2 Millery – Lyon returns, and 45 for 2 duplicates running Lyon – Irigny).

Three vehicles were allocated:

9144 PG               Saurer

2516 PF7              Berliet

3752 PG1             Berliet

After a further calculation based on the fuel consumption of the three buses, the claim for fuel is rounded up to 1,550 litres, presumably for one month.

Everything was now controlled, and on 15/02/1941, Favier had to request a licence to purchase a Berliet with seating for 29/36 passengers.

By September 1942, the ‘Plan Armistice’ had become the ‘Plan Minimum’, with a certain amount of relaxation. Favier was now back to 6 daily returns Millery – Lyon, with two itineraries, one via St. Genis Laval and Vourles, the other via Pierre-Bénite and Irigny. It is recorded that the Irigny route had been run by Planier as from 1926, then by Mr Aubard from 1931 to 1933, when Favier took over.

Departures from Millery at   7h, 13h, 18h.

Departures from Lyon at  11h, 17h, 19h.

The vehicles used now were:

One bus operating on wood (gazobois), seating for 29, standing for 20, but regularly carrying 60

One bus operating on Gaz de Ville, seating for 19, standing for 10, but regularly carrying 50

One diesel bus of the same capacity, but used only as a reserve for duplicates.


We move on now to 1968.

Etienne Favier decided to incorporate his business as a limited company. Thus was registered as LES CARS FAVIER S.A. with a capital of 230,000 F, based at rue des Volontaires, Millery – RC Lyon 68B230. This enabled him to involve his family financially in the business,

Etienne Favier                          310  shares

Juliette Favier née Galland       10

Julien Pingon                            50

Francia Pingon née Favier        10

Henri Thomas                           50

Josette Thomas née Favier        10

Jean Favier                                10

The other shareholders would appear to have been his wife, son, daughters and sons-in-law.

For some reason, he did not transfer his excursions licences to the new company, but preferred to retain them in his own name (69 5401 to 69 5403 and B69 5404) and rent them to the company.

Much earlier, they had been issued to Favier-Guillot  for three vehicles

532 PF6                Bernard

8504 PF5              Berliet 

2516 PF7              Berliet

A provisional excursions licence in 1937

A provisional excursions licence in 1937

Vehicles transferred to the new company were :

4114 CV 69         Berliet PHN8                       15/06/1967       27/03/1964       valued at 40.000 F

8720 BM 69        Berliet PHC8                        10/04/1964                                valued at 25.000 F

8984 BX 69         Berliet PHN8                       12/02/1964                                 valued at 30.000 F

7856 BU 69         Saviem SC1                         29/01/1963                                 valued at 30.000 F

To comply with the law, the ‘sale’ document had to include three years’ figures.  In this case -

1964      Turnover 369.389 F        Profit     26.937 F

1965      Turnover 388.502 F        Profit     30.879 F

1966      Turnover 450.795 F        Profit     38.185 F

Headed note-paper in 1970

Headed note-paper in 1970

Headed notepaper 1972

Headed notepaper in 1972

By 1975, the catchment area for Lyon’s urban transport had been extended to correspond with the limits of the COURLY (Communauté Urbaine de Lyon). One consequence was a ‘forced sale’ of Favier’s Irigny-Lyon route to the Syndicat des TCRL. This entailed a restructuring of the remaining Millery-Lyon route.

These timings were tested for a month beginning on 1st June 1975. On the same day, TCL began running their replacement route 15 from Bellecour to Irigny.

As June is a quiet month for traffic, the trial was extended until the end of 1975, and formally adopted on 29th January 1976, with a few small modifications.

proposed timetable 1975

Proposed timetable 1975

In 1977 a contract previously signed to provide schools journeys on the VernaisonIrignyYvours corridor was extended to include a sixth vehicle at an additional daily cost of 988.02 F TTC.

By 1979, Sunday loadings were declining. On 20th December, the company said that operating costs for the day were around 950 F against fare income of between 250 F and 350 F. They wanted to reduce from 5 to 3 the number of trips each way by cutting the early morning journeys (06.45 from Millery, 07.45 from Lyon) and late evening ones (20.00 from Millery, 21.00 from Lyon), on a six month trial basis. If there was no improvement, then all Sunday services would be axed. On 23rd April 1980, the CTD authorised this.

September 1975 timetable

Headed note-paper in 1979

Headed note-paper in 1979

A new works contract was won in 1986 when Poulard SA signed up for staff transport at a contract price of 98,000 F.

In 1994, the Verney group bought Favier, but it continued to be run as a separate subsidiary for 10 years until in December 2004, it was finally integrated and the business was renamed Connex Rhodalia.

Clive D’EATH  -  15/05/2019 

Note  -  this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information
Nota  -  Il s'agit d'un site d'archives historiques et ne contient pas de données actuelles