Until 1956, the West Towns Bus Co. was the Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. In 1963, West Towns Bus Co. acquired Leyden Motor Coach Co. Leyden Motor Coach Co. began operations in 1926 as River Forest-North West Motor Coach Co., renamed by 1930 to Leyden Motor Coach Co.
In addition, Wilcox Transportation Co. in 1925 introduced a route from Maywood to Des Plaines via 5th Ave., and in 1926 introduced routes on Grand Ave. and on Irving Park Rd., and in 1929 connected the Grand Ave. and Irving Park Rd. routes via Mannheim Rd. But that company apparently ceased operations in 1930.
In the mid 1970's, RTA assigned universal numbers to all suburban bus routes, usually adding 300 to the West Towns route numbers.
302 - Ogden-Stanley - was West Towns route #2. Was a streetcar route, introduced by Ogden Street Railroad in 1893, completed in 1897. Company merged into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co. in 1899, sold to County Traction Co. in 1910, sold to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. in 1913. Streetcar route operated as far west as Lawndale Ave. in Lyons. bus extension to La Grange introduced 8/28. Streetcar route converted to buses west of Harlem Ave. 10/26/33, converted to buses east of Harlem Ave. 11/30/41.
303 - Madison-19th Ave. - was a branch of West Towns route #10. Was a horse car route, introduced by Cicero & Proviso Street Railway Co. between Crawford (now Pulaski) Ave. and Harlem Ave. in 1890. Electrified in 1891, and extended in 1895 from Harlem Ave. west to 19th Ave., and a short distance north. Company merged into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co. in 1899, sold to County Traction Co. in 1910 except for segment east of Austin Blvd., and sold to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. in 1913. Converted to buses 2/15/47, and subsequently extended north to North Ave. Also, bus service subsequently introduced west to Mannheim, which along this route became RTA and Pace route #310. Effective 1/29/84, this 19th Ave. segment of route #310 renumbered #303, and changed to operate south on Desplaines Ave. to Forest Park/Desplaines Ave. CTA terminal. Pace route #320 was then created east of Desplaines Ave. to Austin Blvd. Effective 6/12/2011, route extended north of North Ave. to Rosemont, replacing a portion of discontinued route #325. Effective 11/22/2015, revised to operate via Van Buren St. between Forest Park CTA terminal and Madison St. In addition, West Towns operated a route #3 via 17th Ave. south of Madison St., ending at Ogden Ave./Prairie Ave. in Brookfield. Bus route was introduced 4/22/41. Route #3 was later extended north via 19th Ave. to North Ave., duplicating route #10. That route was discontinued 4/11/80.
304 - La Grange - was West Towns route #4 Was a streetcar route, introduced by Suburban Railroad Co. in 1895. Company sold to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. in 1913. Converted to buses 4/10/48. Throughout most of its history, continued east via Cermak Rd. into Cicero, connecting with CTA rapid transit. Effective 6/13/2011, service discontinued west of North Riverside Park Mall.
305 - East Roosevelt - was West Towns route #5. Was a streetcar route formed out of various segments from all three original streetcar companies, formed after the separate city and suburban streetcar companies were formed in 1910. Line originally began at Chicago Ave. and Cicero Ave., operating west via Chicago Ave. to Harlem Ave. Service split at city limits at Austin Blvd. in 1910. This segment on Chicago Ave., along with the segment on Harlem Ave. from Chicago Ave. to Madison St., was opened in 1894 by the Cicero & Proviso Street Railway Co. That company also built the segments via Madison St., Desplaines Ave., and Roosevelt Rd. west of Harlem Ave. East of Harlem Ave., the Roosevelt Rd. segment was constructed by the Ogden Street Railroad. The Suburban Railroad Co. in 1897 constructed the segment on Laramie Ave. south to 25th St., and the Ogden Street Railroad constructed the segment on Laramie Ave. south of 25th St. to 36th St. The Cicero & Proviso Street Railway Co. and the Ogden Street Railroad were merged into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co. in 1899, and sold to County Traction Co. in 1910. In 1913, County Traction Co. and the Suburban Railroad Co. were sold to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. In 1929, route extended on 35th St. from Laramie Ave. to Austin Ave. Route converted to buses 7/7/40, and Chicago Ave. segment discontinued in 1981. Segment on Division St. and Thatcher was originally a branch of the West Towns Harlem route, becoming separate route #6 around 1948, and consolidated in 1969 into West Towns route #5. Effective 11/22/2015, route restructured with service discontinued north of Forest Park, route #305 becoming a Roosevelt Rd. route, and the Laramie Ave. segment becoming new route #316.
307 - Harlem - was West Towns route #7. Bus route was introduced by 5/16/27. After 1969 included some service west on Grand Ave. to Rose St., and north on Rose St. through Franklin Park to O'Hare Airport, replacing former Leyden Motor Coach route #14. And included some former route #14 service into downtown Chicago via Madison St. and Washington Blvd. At one time, the downtown service terminated at the Greyhound Terminal. Downtown service discontinued in mid 1970's, and service on Rose St. replaced 6/18/79 by new route #325.
308 - Medical Center - was West Towns route #8. Bus route was introduced 9/9/21 by Speedway Auto Bus Co., sold in 1930 to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Route included service north of Hines Medical Center via 5th Ave. to Lake St. In late 1960's, 5th Ave. segment transferred to new route #6, now Pace route #331.
309 - Lake St. - was West Towns route #9. Was a horse car route, introduced by Cicero & Proviso Street Railway Co. between Cicero Ave. and Harlem Ave. in 1890. Electrified in 1891, and extended in 1896 from Harlem Ave. to 5th Ave. Company merged into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co. in 1899, sold to County Traction Co. in 1910 except for segment east of Austin Blvd., and sold to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. in 1913. Extended west to 25th Ave. in 1930, and converted to buses 3/30/47. An extension bus route into Elmhurst had been created by 1936, subsequently combined into route #9 after conversion to streetcars. Originally, most trips through Elmhurst operated west via North Ave. and south via York Rd. In 1969 route #9 added a branch operating south of Elmhurst via York Rd. and 22nd St. to recently opened Yorktown Mall, replacing a segment of former Leyden Motor Coach route #19. At the same time, route added the St. Charles Rd. service, formerly West Towns route #13. Effective 4/2/78, route took basic present form, with Wheaton service discontinued, St. Charles Rd. service becoming a separate route #313 again, and York Rd. and 22nd St. segments becoming parts of newly created routes #332 and #322.
310 - Madison-Hillside - was West Towns route #10. Original streetcar route evolved to present Pace bus route #303, operating north via 19th Ave. Some time after conversion to buses, branch created operating further west to Mannheim Rd./Washington Blvd. After West Suburban Transit Lines ceased operations in 1973, including its Washington Blvd. route #2, West Towns route #10 extended to Hillside Shopping Center. West Suburban Transit Lines had acquired Bluebird Coach Lines in 1965, Bluebird had introduced bus service in this area in 1946. Effective 1/29/84, 19th Ave. segment of route #310 renumbered #303, and both routes #303 and #310 changed to operate south on Desplaines Ave. to Forest Park/Desplaines Ave. CTA terminal. Pace route #320 was then created east of Desplaines Ave. to Austin Blvd. Effective 11/22/2015, revised to operate via Van Buren St. between Forest Park CTA terminal and Madison St.
311 - Oak Park Ave. - was West Towns route #11. Service north of what now is Eisenhower Expressway was introduced 9/21/21 by Northwestern Transit Co. Effective 7/1/24, Northwestern Transit Co. service discontinued south of Lake St., when Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. was permitted to introduce its own bus route, south from Lake St. initially to 39th St. Northwestern Transit Co. was sold in 1935 to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Route #11 also eventually included the Ridgeland segment, also introduced by Northwestern Transit Co., and connected via North Ave. Ridgeland segment transferred in late 1960's to route #15.
312 - Ogden-31st - was West Towns route #12. Bus route was introduced 6/15/24, operated between Cicero Ave. and Harlem Ave. Discontinued 3/19/2007.
313 - St. Charles Road - was West Towns route #13. A bus route was introduced 11/29, operating from Hines VA Hospital north via 5th Ave. to St. Charles Rd., and west via St. Charles Rd. to Taft Ave., and south via Taft Ave. to Electric Ave. in Berkeley. In 1941, Leyden Motor Coach Co. introduced a loop route from Roosevelt Rd and York St. via York St., St. Charles Rd., Poplar Ave., Niagara Ave., Tuxedo Ave., and Vallette St. to York St. And in 1945, Leyden Motor Coach Co. introduced a route on St. Charles Rd. from Berkeley to Westmore Ave., along with a branch via Villa Ave., Washington St. and Ardmore Ave, to St. Charles Rd. In 1957 after the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad ceased operations, some service extended west of Elmhurst via St. Charles Rd. and Crescent Blvd. to Wheaton. After the 1963 merger with Leyden Motor Coach Co., one route #13 formed extending from Oak Park to Wheaton. In 1968 extended to newly opened Yorktown Mall, and in 1969 became a branch of #9 bus route. Became separate route again #313 effective 4/2/78.
314 - Ridgeland - was West Towns route #15. Service on Ridgeland Ave. north of Lake St. was introduced by Oak Park Motor Transit Co. in 1921, sold later that year to Northwestern Transit Co., and sold in 1935 to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Service on Ridgeland Ave. south of Lake St. was introduced 7/15/24 by Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Service on Ridgeland Ave. eventually became part of route #11 and connected with the Oak Park Ave. segment via North Ave. In late 1960's, the Austin, Ridgeland, and former Leyden Motor Coach Co. route #18 on North Ave. combined into a single bus route #15, later RTA and Pace route #315. Austin and Ridgeland segments were connected via Pershing Rd. Effective 1/29/84, North Ave. became separate route #318, service south of Lake St. continuing as Pace route #315. At that time, Service on Ridgeland Ave. between Lake Street and North Ave. was assumed by a route change for CTA route #86. Effective 11/22/2015, Austin and Ridgeland routes split into two separate routes, with Austin route retaining #315, and both routes terminating at Morton College.
315 - Austin - was West Towns route #15. Austin bus route #1 was introduced 1/13/25. In late 1960's, the Austin, Ridgeland, and former Leyden Motor Coach Co. route #18 on North Ave. combined into a single bus route #15, later RTA and Pace route #315. Austin and Ridgeland segments were connected via Pershing Rd. Effective 11/22/2015, Austin and Ridgeland routes split into two separate routes, with Ridgeland route becoming #314, and both routes terminating at Morton College.
316 - 16th St. - was West Towns route #16. Bus route was introduced 12/15/32, operated between Cicero Ave. and Harlem Ave. Discontinued 5/6/82.
316 - Laramie - created 11/22/2015, with route split off from route #305.
317 - Westchester - effective 2/2/92, when CTA discontinued weekend service on its #17 Westchester, Pace created identical route #317 to operate on weekends. Effective 4/26/98, Pace replaced CTA for weekday midday service. Effective 12/16/2012, Pace assumed the remaining weekday rush hour service. And effective 11/22/2015, revised to operate via Van Buren St. between Forest Park CTA terminal and Madison St.
318 - North Ave. - was West Towns route #18, which had been a Leyden Motor Coach Co. bus route. Operated west to Lombard until early 1970's, when combined with #1 Austin and #15 Ridgeland bus routes into one route #15, later RTA and Pace route #315. Became a separate route #318 again effective 1/29/84.
319 - Grand - was West Towns route #19, which had been a Leyden Motor Coach Co. bus route. First bus route on Grand Ave. was introduced in 1926 by Wilcox Transportation Co., from Harlem Ave. to Mannheim Rd. River Forest-North West Motor Coach Co., which became Leyden Motor Coach Co., also introduced bus service on Grand Ave. in 1926, but was not permitted to carry passengers locally over the Wilcox Transportation Co. segment. In 1931, because of complaints about the Wilcox Transportation Co. service, restrictions were lifted against Leyden Motor Coach Co. providing local service. And Wilcox Transportation Co. ceased operations shortly after. Leyden Motor Coach Co. route eventually operated west of Wolf Rd. to Elmhurst, and south to Oakbrook Shopping Center, segment transferred to West Towns Bus Co. route #9 in 1969. And segment transferred to new route #332 on 4/2/78. Bensenville route variation created 3/15/87, originally as a rush hour extension of route #307, became part of route #319 effective 9/20/93.
320 - Madison - created 1/30/84, when main Madison route #310 was rerouted to serve Forest Park/Desplaines Ave. CTA terminal. Effective 11/22/2015, revised to operate via Van Buren St. between Forest Park CTA terminal and Madison St.
322 - Cermak Road-22nd Street - from 10/17/46 until 1948, a route existed west to 17th Ave., later west to Wolf Rd. Present route introduced 4/2/78 west of Harlem Ave./North Riverside Park Mall, extended east of Harlem Ave. 9/11/82. Service between York Road and Yorktown Mall had previously been part of what was West Towns route #9, which had operated via York Rd. between 22nd St. and Elmhurst.
325 - 25th Ave. - introduced 6/18/79 between Cermak Rd. and Lawrence Ave., primarily via 25th Ave. Service north of Grand Ave. had previously been part of route #307. Extended north to Rosemont 2/27/83 upon opening of CTA rapid transit line there. Discontinued 6/12/2011, with segment north of North Ave. transferred to route 303.
326 - West Irving Park - Pace route introduced 1/25/88. The first bus service on Irving Park Rd. into Schiller Park was introduced in 1926 by Wilcox Transportation Co., which apparently ceased operations in the 1930's. In 1941, Highway Bus Lines began operating a route on Irving Park Rd. But Irving Park Rd. into Schiller Park went without bus service for many years, until CTA route #80A was extended effective 4/7/75. This Pace route replaced the CTA extension. Under Pace, route for many years was operated by a contracting company. Originally operated by CW Transportation, operation during most years was by Keeshin Charter Service, although from 1993 to 1995 was operated by Mayflower Transportation. In 2003, operation assumed by by Colonial Coach Lines/Academy Coach Lines. And in 2010, operation assumed by Pace Northwest Division.
327 - Industrial Drive - rush hour route introduced 11/22/2015 between Forest Park CTA terminal and Industrial Drive.
330 - Mannheim-La Grange Road - from 5/1/44 until 8/1/49, a route existed from Lake St. south to 55th St., and east to the General Motors/Electro Motive Division locomotive plant. Route was then sold to La Grange-La Grange Park Transit Co., which eventually ceased operations. Present route introduced 3/28/77.
331 - Cumberland-5th Ave. - originally part of Medical Center route, now Pace route #308, operating north of Hines Medical Center via 5th Ave. to Lake St. Introduced 9/9/21 by Speedway Auto Bus Co., sold in 1930 to Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. In late 1960's, became separate route #6 and extended north to Triton College in River Grove. Effective 5/24/76, route was extended and renumbered, basically creating present Pace route #331. That route operated north to the Park Ridge train station until 2/27/83, when the CTA rapid transit extension was opened, serving Cumberland Ave. On that date, route #290 replaced route #331 between the Cumberland station and Park Ridge.
332 - River Road-York Road - introduced 4/2/78 between Oakbrook Shopping Center and Bensenville via York Rd., extended 8/27/78 north via York Rd. and Elmhurst Rd. to Randhurst Mall. Service between Oakbrook and Elmhurst was originally part of former Leyden Motor Coach route #19, becoming a branch of route #9 in the late 1960's. From 1927 to 1930, Du Page Motor Coach Line had operated a bus route between Elmhurst and Bensenville via York Rd., with a branch west via Lake St. into Addison. Cut back to Oakton St. on 6/13/83, replaced with extension of route #405, since discontinued. Effective 11/21/93, route #332 revised to present route operating into Rosemont CTA station, and also serving O'Hare Airport cargo area which had been relocated to the south side of the airport. This is another example of where a suburban bus route can have improved ridership when connecting with the city, rather than as a cross suburban route.
333 - Brookfield Zoo - existed during summers from 5/26/80 to 3/31/88, operating from CTA Harlem/Lake and Forest Park/Desplaines Ave. stations. Such dedicated service to Brookfield Zoo would not exist again until 2014, with route #770.
333 - Bensenville Industrial - reverse feeder rush hour route introduced 9/5/2000 between Bensenville Metra station and Bensenville Industrial Park, north of the station. Revised 2001 to instead operate south to Elmhurst Industrial Park. Discontinued in 2002.
336 - Dupage County Tour Bus - existed 7/6/80 to 8/24/80.
From 5/29/81 to 8/5/81, West Towns Bus Co. was shut down because of the RTA funding crisis at the time, when the RTA did not have the cash to pay to keep the company operating.
Western Springs - introduced by 1936 via 47th St. west of Harlem. Discontinued in 1948.
Itasca - a former Leyden Motor Coach Co. route introduced in 1941, originating at Grand Ave. and Harlem Ave., and operating via west via Irving Park Rd. west of Cumberland. Was West Towns route #22, discontinued late 1960's.
(The map image may take a while to download, with a dial-up connection.)
Click for Leyden Motor Coach Bus Map
(Map shows routes as of around 1950, in 1963 certain Leyden Motor Coach routes were acquired by West Towns Bus Co.)