90 rue de la Part Dieu,   69003  LYON

This is the story of T.A.L., which operated along two corridors out of Lyon.

The first was Lyon to Chazelles via Yzeron, which despite many trials and tribulations, continues to exist in 2018. Nowadays, it is a trunk route 2EX which takes seventy minutes to run from LYON Gorge de Loup to CHAZELLES SUR LYON, which is 55 kms away and just across the border in the Loire département - a route which ran on a half-hourly frequency until recently, when budgetary restrictions in the Rhône caused a reduction in service. It is operated by Keolis-Planche.

The second was Lyon to Charbonnières. In 2018, Charbonnières has been swallowed up by Lyon Metropole, and services are provided by TCL (route 86).

But it all began in 1932 in the peaceful village of Yzeron – 545 inhabitants in 1931, 1,055 in 2015.

Yzeron village


Mr Jean Thollot was a garage owner (a Fiat agent) in Yzeron.  On 05/09/1932 he was proposing a route from Yzeron to Lyon via Vaugneray and Craponne.

Thollot letterhead

And on 22/09/32, the OTL made its usual objection – that this was in unfair competition with the Lyon – Vaugneray tram service – but the route seems finally to have been authorized on 30/12/33, over 12 months later.

Thollot then sold his rights to the route (which required three vehicles) to a Mr François Chabert, also of Yzeron, and it was the name of Chabert that appeared in the declarations made when registration was required in 1934, although a later reference on 29/01/37 hints that the Prefect subordinated this authorisaton to certain unspecified conditions.

But soon afterwards, on 22/03/1939, the concession was transferred once again, to Mr Robert Jeannin of Yzeron, born on 02/11/11 at Maisod, Jura, who had  bought Mr Chabert’s business. We know that Jeannin paid Chabert the sum of 55,000 FRF much earlier on 21/02/1938, of which 25,000 FRF was for goodwill.

The waters are further muddied by the existence of a sale contract dated 10/03/1939 where Mr Chabert purchased from Joseph Vernay – on behalf of Mr Jeannin – and for 1,000 FRF, the rights to transport between St. Martin en Haut and St. André la Côte.

1939 sale contract

The 1939 contract between Chabert and Vernay

During these seven years of change, prior to the war, the following vehicles were operated at various times, without it being possible to say for sure who operated which and when:

1 Rochet Schneider 22hp 32 seats, registration 44PF3

1 Rochet Schneider 20hp 13 seats 964C12

2 Cottin 16hp 17 seats each 8683PF4 and 8684PF4

1 Bernard 22hp 22 seats - 2928 PF

1 Renault 15hp 17 seats - 1883PF2

1 Fiat 17 seats 9601PF1

The routes authorised consisted of:

Lyon to Yzeron ; 2 daily returns plus one more on Wednesday and Saturday and four more on Sunday.

Yzeron  to Vaugneray ;  1 return on Tuesdays

Yzeron to St Martin en Haut ; 1 return on Mondays

Requirement : 2 vehicles and 1 reserve

Lyon to Ars:  seasonal  excursions from 1 March to 30 September using an 18 seater, and consisting of  an outing on four days of the week - Tuesday/Thursday/ Saturday/Sunday.

It is noted that after the sale to Chabert, Chollot retained his separate excursion activity through a business registered as Chollot et Cie that he set up using the trading name “Les Grandes Excursions Lyonnaises”.

A 1934 fleet list – of vehicles insured by Lloyds of London – also fails to identify the owner or owners:

Citroën        10 seats    1930        6605 PF 1

Citroën        16            1931        6135 PF 1

Citroën        16            1931        6136 PF 1

Citroën        21            1934        4227 PF 5

Saurer        20             1927

Saurer        26             1929        7865 PF

Saurer        28             1926

Rochet        32            1931        7032 PF 2

Rochet        32            1931        7033 PF 2

Cottin        26             1929        3969 PF 1

Cottin        20             1929        3970 PF 1

Laffly        32             1930        658 PF 2

Total seating capacity available 279

1940 War time     

Mr Jeannin’s authorisations were reduced to:

Yzeron to Vaugneray – 1 daily return with a second on Wednesday and Friday. Effectively, this journey plus a transfer to the Vaugneray to Lyon tram replaced the Yzeron to Lyon service over its whole length.

Yzeron to Saint Martin en Haut – 1 daily return  on Mondays

27/03/41 - Jeannin had converted his vehicles to “gaz de ville” and asked to be allowed to run into Lyon Vaise, where he would find refueling easier. Agreement was given on 21/04/41.

1941 request by Jeannin

JEANNIN’s 1941 request on his headed notepaper – note the reference to
former owner “Ancienne Maison CHABERT”

At the end of the war, the involvement of Mr Jeannin ceased.  A handwritten note, unsigned, says he sold to TAL with effect from 01/11/45 although the sale deed was dated 13/11/45.

In the sale deed itself, T.A.L. is described as a company only just registered on 06/11/1945 with a capital of 300,000 FRF and Head Office at 214, rue Vendôme, Lyon.

The purchase price of 1 million FRF included 300,000 FRF of goodwill and a Rochet Schneider type 420 registered 3724PG2.

Curiously, there was also the obligation to pay a “rente viagère” of 23,000 FRF per year to Mr Jeannin as long as he lived, and 21,000 FRF on a similar basis to his wife, Francine Curt.

The business declarations of Mr Jeannin were:

1942 Turnover    123,195  FRF    Profit    26,020 FRF
1943 Turnover    140,840  FRF    Profit    83,004 FRF
1944 Turnover    171,590  FRF        xxx

1946 - 1947

The relationship between the new owners TAL, a long way away in Lyon, and the local municipalities, seems to have been tense in the immediate post-war period.

In 1947, the Syndicat d’initiative d’Yzeron was complaining that the TAL had not restarted its Sunday service, finding it more profitable to use the vehicle on excursions. Earlier in 1946 the TAL was complaining that it needed an authorization for more than one vehicle, which was insufficient for the crowds on Saturdays and Mondays (these being the “weekend’ passengers leaving Lyon for their secondary residences or family homes in the countryside, then returning for the working week.) An increase was agreed in July 1946, giving 1 daily return plus a second on Saturdays and Mondays.

And in March 1946 the TAL was asking to be allowed to run on Sundays. This kind of increase in service levels was hampered by a ministerial decision to restrict any increase in mileage to a maximum of 5% of the existing mileage – an edict designed to limit fuel requirements when petrol was still in scarce supply.

The authorities finally agreed to Sundays and TAL said they would start up on 29 September 19 46. Some subsequent requests for further increases were refused because the Lyon – Vaugneray tram provided a satisfactory alternative.

TAL 1946 timetable part 1

TAL 1946 timetable Part 1

 TAL 1946 timetable part 2

TAL 1946 timetable Part 2

Why TAL bought the Jeannin business is not clear, but maybe they rapidly felt they were too far away and unable to exercise sufficient control.

So on 23/12/49 a “contrat de gérance”  was signed between Gustave MAULET, representing the SARL Transports Automobiles Lyonnais, 90, rue de la Part Dieu, Lyon (note the Head Office address had changed), and Claude (real name Claudius) JACQUIER of Yzeron. The rental was 90,000 FRF per year, payable monthly from 01/01/1950. The contract was renewed annually until 1954.

Yzeron - Lyon route map when operated by M. Jacquet

 The Yzeron – Lyon route when operated by Mr. Jacquier

But on 20/10/54, Claudius Jacquier advised the authorities that he was ceasing his involvement as of 15/11/1954. The local Yzeron office would transfer to the café “Au Relais du Tourisme”, and this information was duplicated to Mr Bertrand, Transports en Commun , Chazelles s/Lyon (owner of La Flèche Bleue). This episode had ended in tears and recriminations, as we shall see a little later.

But for the moment, let us transfer our attention to the route from Lyon to Charbonnières les Bains, and to Mr Guérin.

Charbonnières  (population 1,317 in 1931 and 5,000 in 2015) has been home to a famous Casino since 1882. This is not the place to enlarge on that story, but at only 13 kms from the centre of Lyon, it has been part of Lyon’s night life for years, and required transport – indeed luxury transport for the type of client concerned.


The Casino
                         The Casino

Claude GUERIN, of route de Paris, Charbonnières (Garage du Méridien – agence Citroën), supplied that transport and had done so since 1921, with an ordinary stopping service Lyon Quai Vincent to the Casino, and a direct service with no intermediary stops, that ran from 15 April to 30 October daily, and Sundays all the year round, with an average of 15 journeys on Sundays.  The service was marketed as “Super-cars”!!  Twelve vehicles were required.

Mr Guerin's notepaper

An appropriate “super car” adorns Mr Guerin’s notepaper in 1960

The Casino was reopening on 23 March 46, after the war, and the Société des Eaux Minerales de Charbonnières les Bains was putting pressure on Mr Guérin to resume transport. In 1946, clients did not have cars.  Only 1 train ran from Lyon St Paul to Charbonnières and inconveniently it left Lyon at 12.00 and returned from Charbonnières at 13.56! There had been 16 trains daily in 1939. The mayor of Charbonnières added his support. Guerin wrote to the Ponts & Chaussées who agreed on 15 March to 4 returns per day, which anyway was as much as Guerin could do with 4 vehicles and 1 more expected shortly.

27/11/48. The Casino was now closed for an unspecified time. The mayor was willing to subsidise Guerin to the tune of 10,000 FRF to provide a Saturday evening service into Lyon (20.00) and back (24.00), at a return fare of 80 FRF, so that his constituents could visit the theatre and other forms of entertainment. A short trial period proved that the whole project was not financially viable, and by February 1949 it was abandoned, without Guerin holding the municipality to their promise to cover the deficit.

On 01/01/60 Guerin sold out to the TAL. Included in the deal were:

Charbonnières to  Lyon -  2 return journeys on weekdays

Lyon – Casino – direct service

Two licences for excursions – incidentally he had other excursions licences that he sold to VFD, to La Flèche Bleue, and to Mr Nuzillard based at Montluel, Ain. Licences were quite valuable at the time, and it was not the practice to sell them to operators outside of the département, as this gave them a competitive foothold and advantage, so the sales to VFD and Nuzillard, in the Isère and the Ain, were much criticized. But it was not illegal.

TAL increased its capital from 6.2 million FRF to 8.7 million FRF, and valued Mr Guerin’s business at 10 million FRF. Mr Guerin was allocated 500 shares of 5,000 FRF each.

Next, comes a short digression to the village of Montromant - 471 inhabitants at the time.

1946 The mayor and municipality wanted their route to Lyon. TAL was willing to accept but what service could be proposed at an economic price?

The first suggestion was a Thursday market service from Yzeron to Ste Foy l’Argentière via Montromant, giving passengers the opportunity to travel into Lyon and back in the afternoon on the regular Lyon Yzeron route. This idea was abandoned.

The second suggestion was to extend the Lyon - Yzeron service to Montromant once a week (!), but with journeys booked at the town hall 24 hours in advance – according to the number of reservations, TAL would provide a bus or a car/taxi.

map of services in the Montromant region

Map of services in the Montromant (or Montromand) region

Finally, the municipality decided on a shuttle service that would be operated by Mr Mercier, a village councillor, using his personal car – a Peugeot registered 5259 PF 2, between Montromand and Yzeron. The service was to begin on 15/05/47, and there is written evidence that it did start. How long it lasted is unknown, but in any case, it was no longer a responsibility of TAL.

Back now to Yzeron -

On 9 APRIL 1954, Claudius Jacquier advised the authorities that he was in talks with Mr Bertrand  with a view to operating his Chazelles – Lyon route under licence, with a modification of the itinerary to take in the village of Duerne.

And indeed Mr Aimé Bertrand signed a “promesse de vente” in favour of Claudius Jacquier, for a Lyon via Duerne route, valid for 2 months and 15 days from 3 April 1954, with no vehicles involved.

Declared FRF turnover for the route in its existing form was:

1951    5.167.000                   
1952    5.673.000
1953    5.704.000

On 06 May 1954 It was informally noted that a project of association between Gillet (representing the TAL) and Bertrand was a possibility if Jacquier did not obtain the financial backing necessary to purchase the Bertrand route.

On 8 July 1954, the CTD (Comité Technique Départemental) noted that:
They had examined this dossier on 20/02/54
The “promesse de vente” in favour of Mr Jacquier had expired on 18 June 54
They were concerned that they were not being kept informed of what was happening.
Subsequently Mr Jacquier advised that the talks with Mr Bertrand had failed. This is undoubtedly why Mr Jacquier severed his contract with TAL in 1954. The impression was given that the TAL and Mr Bertrand had decided long before that they would undertake this project themselves.

In July 1954 a huissier in Villeurbanne was employed to produce legal documentation for a new company that would be set up jointly by TAL and Bertrand.

In August 1954 the TAL and Mr Bertrand requested the CTD to authorize what was basically the same project as that begun by TAL and Jacquier.
The new company – “Société de Participations Bertrand – TAL” was to have an initial life of 10 years, with its head office at 2, place du Petit Change, Lyon.
Mr Bertrand would bring to the business his Chazelles – Lyon route, and the vehicles
The TAL would bring their Yzeron – Lyon route.
Mr Bertrand would be named gérant. 

In September 1954, the proposed legal entity was changed to an SNC, valid for 12 years, and with a salary for the gérant of 50,000 FRF per month.

A problem arose – the validity or not of a ban on picking up passengers in the greater Lyon area. The CTD confirmed no local traffic was allowed from St Martin en Haut to Lyon on Bertrand’s existing route. This was not what the business wanted. The banned area appears to have been shortened to Croix-Blanche – Lyon.

3 Nov 54     Authorisation for the new route
14 Nov 54     end of Jacquier’s involvement in the business
15 Nov 54     operation by the SNC.

The act of constitution was signed by Camille Chometton, Gustave Maulet, Edmond Ginier-Gillet (the existing associates of TAL) and by Bertrand (the new associate).

The route was valued at 2.6 million FRF and Bertrand received 120 shares of 5,000 FRF. The capital was increased to 3 million FRF held by–
Gillet         192 shares
Maulet       144
Chometon  144
Bertrand     120   

T>A>L> notepper in 1954

T.A.L. notepaper in 1954

1955 summer timetable

1955 summer timetable

 route map Chazelles to Lyon

Route map Chazelles to Lyon

In July 1955 both TAL and OTL were authorized to divert some summer Sunday and Thursday timings by the picturesque Route de la Crête, which gives splendid views from the Col de la Luère and the Col de Malval.

02/01/1960 All the TAL routes:

Chazelles-  Duerne - Lyon,
Charbonnières – Lyon
Casino de Charbonnières - Lyon

were leased to La Flèche Bleue, which took the commercial risk.
The contract was unlimited in time, with 6 months’ notice required to end it. The rental was 500,000 FRF per year (5,000 NF), adjusted for inflation every 3 years.

Bertrand advised that 1960 income on the market service from Yzeron to St Martin en Haut totalled 871, 31 NF, or 16.75 NF per journey. He would be ceasing operating it as of 06/02/1961.
The authorities recognized that this type of route was no longer viable, and classified it as a “ligne à faible traffic”. A national think tank was supposed to come up with ideas on how to provide transport in these remoter areas…………..
There is no record of what may have happened  between 1961 and 1977.

12/07/1977    We suddenly discover that La Flèche Bleue has ceased running the route because of unacceptable losses.
Venet  of Duerne (a coach operator who still exists in 2018) had accepted to take over with a Duerne – Yzeron – Lyon (St Paul) route on a three month trial. The route began on 09/07/1977, but on Saturdays and Sundays only.

Venet timetable

The Venet timetable

The results were:

13 Saturdays        975 km operated      Fare income  1.169,80 FRF
14 Sundays         1,950 km operated    Fare income  4.604,55 FRF

Venet continued operating, because he produced statistics in subsequent years: 

July 1977 to April 1978 (9 months) –  Income 14.978,15 FRF - Km operated 11,500.
Year 1980 – Income 19.000,57 FRF – Km operated 17,100

Venet was regularly dissatisfied as he considered the route needed to produce 3 times the kilometres run in order to be profitable.  On 09/07/78 he complained to his MP that he was losing 20,000 FRF a year, and the route became a political football.

A little earlier, TAL had intended to suppress the Chazelles route as of 01/04/77– the annual deficit was 127,800 FRF for the year 1976. Then a further month’s grace was given.

A financial analysis (Etude de rentabilité) was undertaken for what was a 364 day service with 2 returns on weekdays, 3 returns on Sundays and Bank holidays.

Running costs : 1,052 F per km (including 0,448 for diesel, oil and tyres)
Driver’s salary etc, depreciation of a Setra S150 over 7 years etc : annual cost 144.402 F
Total costs (including 5% profit margin) 239.660 F
Revenue -    111.860. F

All the mayors wanted the service to be maintained, but with the subsidies paid by the département.

For Charbonnières, La Flèche Bleue, through its president Mr Roche (Mr Bertrand has disappeared from the scene) advises the TAL that it will stop running. TAL is angry because one of the problems of leasing a route out is now exposed. Neither party has denounced the leasing contract, and if the lessee stops running, it is the lessor (TAL) who loses the rights to the route unless he is given time to find an alternative arrangement. The Charbonnières route was also closely linked to staff transport for the Institut Merieux.

La Flèche Bleue must have agreed to continue, since only much later, on 23/02/1987 did Mr Roche cancel the contract with effect from 16 March 1987.

TAL then asked the DDE for time to examine alternatives for Lyon Charbonnières.

1985  on 21 January,  Venet- still operating! - is back with more figures for Lyon -Duerne in 1984.
Income 30,835,05 FRF    Kms operated 16800 = 1.84 FRF per km.

1985  -  1987
There were various changes at TAL

18/07/85    Registration of TAL Voyages (B332 507 896), an SARL, capital 50,000 FRF, address  90 rue de la Part Dieu 3e. Gérant Jacques Benoist. This business no longer exists.

01/09/86    TAL Head Office moved to 108-110 rue Moncey, Lyon 3e

17/03/87    Pierre Ginier-Gillet replaces Edmond Ginier-Gillet (deceased) as administrateur.

The president is now Mrs J. Ginier-Gillet.

So, when the trail ends in 1987, we have a Lyon – Duerne service for which TAL still seems to have the rights, but which is – reluctantly – operated by Venet, and a Charbonnières service without an operator.


TAL Vehicles identified – known to be operating in the year mentioned:

1973    9099 CY 69    MB 45 seats
1972    6199 EH 69    Van Hool  24 seats
1969    8849 CD 69    Saviem 37 seats
1962    3639 AQ 69    MB 0321H VIN 04/06/1956 321 210 6 500 433 also recorded as 5659AQ69
1955    1289 AK 69    Citroën P45 VIN 850 308 (PM 4500, CU 2500)
1953    1785 AD 69    Berliet
1951    7316 V 69       Berliet 40 seats
1951    999 PG 7        Berliet 33 seats
1947    9229 PG 4      Berliet 35 seats

La Flèche Bleue (RCS  886 050 095) went into compulsory liquidation in 2002, and disappeared from the Companies’ register in 2008.

Nominally, Transports Automobiles Lyonnais (RCS 954 505 152) still exists. After a few years based in Bron, it’s Head Office moved to Valencin in the Isère, and since 2004 it forms part of the Faure Group (Cars Faure). But it has long ceased to operate buses – it is classified as a property administrator, and receives what must be rental income of 37,000 euros (in 2004) rising to 47,000 euros in 2017.


Clive D’EATH  -  25/05/2018


The story of another Rhône operator can be found here  -  Cars Sivignon

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