|Rollsigns from Bermuda
|This linen route rollsign is dated
March 1969. It has 29 exposures.
Its manufacture stamp and a YouTube
video of the sign are seen to the right.
|By the choice of residents and legislators, all early transportation in Bermuda was limited to boats, carts, horses and carriages. Early island
tourism was billed as a location of peace and relaxation away from the stresses of life. Tourism was increasing though and produce exports
due to their year round climate was increasing. In 1905, a rudimentary omnibus operation called the "Scarlet Runner" began operation from
Hamilton to Tuckers Town or the South Shore. It wasn't popular though with residents saying it was dangerous to cyclists and frightened
horses. It was later discontinued. This was followed by the passing of the Motor Car Act of 1908, petitioned by author Mark Twain and soon to
be American President Woodrow Wilson, which banned any private motor vehicles from the island. It preserved the quality of life, but left a
lingering problem of public transportation. Pro and anti vehicle clashes continued, and in 1922 the House of Assembly commissioned a study
to see if a railway might be a proper solution to Bermuda's internal transportation problems. A proposal for a railroad line was presented in
December of 1922. After several alternate proposals were proposed, the House of Assembly passed the Bermuda Railway Company Act,
1924, giving permission for the founding of a company to build a railway from one end of the island to the other. Building the railroad was slow,
taking over seven years to construct it's 22 mile length. Continued backlash from residents forced the line to take a coastal route, requiring 33
trestles along its length. It finally started running on December 13, 1931. It suffered from poor construction in some aspects, so rail and
infrastructure updates were enacted. Fine tuning of service and beautification programs were done. It kind of integrated itself, but behind the
scenes it continued to struggle, including financially. Capital loans were not paid back, and any money made continued to be funneled into
repairs and maintenance. The coming of World War II increased the use of the railroad with the forming of British/Canadian and American
bases on the island, but it also stretched the railroad's resources very thin. The extra use quickly took its toll on already poorly performing
rolling stock, and a lot of personnel weren't available to perform the work because they were deployed. By the end of the war, the railroad was
in operating and financial shambles and the infrastructure was in bad shape. The company petitioned the Bermuda government to buy them
out, which they did on January 26, 1946. Consultants were brought in to asses the condition of everything and try and come up with a plan.
Later in 1946 though, the Motor Car Act passed, allowing residents to own private automobiles. By April of that year, the first public bus route
began operation, serving an area the railroad did not go. Finally in early 1947, the decision was made to close the rail system all together, in
favor of a bus system. The line to Somerset closed on January 1, 1948, while the line to St George closed on May 1, 1948, due to delays in
road improvements and importing delays of the bus fleet. A government entity called the Bermuda Public Transportation board was created to
operate, manage and integrate the bus and ferry services across the island, and continues to do so to this date. The modern bus fleet with
their unique looking pink and blue livery are specially designed with narrow bodies to operate on a network of routes around the island year
round. Nearly every route on the island terminates at the main bus station in downtown Hamilton. Outbound bus stops are marked with blue
poles, while inbound bus stops are marked with pink poles. The fare system is zone based and is determined on distance travelled.
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