Philadelphia is the new home of its first black owned bus company, S-T-S-C Transportation Services. The company was founded by black attorney, Jeremy Walker, and a few other investors. The busline had it’s grand opening on June 27th. The new black-owned business comes after the U.S. Dept of Transportation shut down 26 bus operators last year for safety issues. Walker and the other owners of STSC plan to give extra safety training to their drivers to handle all types of situations. With 40 employees, the STSC Transportation Company hopes to bring a host of new jobs to the Philadelphia community.
Philadelphia’s history of segregation in the transit system left a significant historical mark in the mid 1940’s. President Franklin Roosevelt had to order the Army into the city to stop a sizable strike of thousands of white transit workers who protested against the federal order, which stated that the Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC) hire black trolley and bus drivers in 1944. With the president’s new War Manpower Commission taking effect, eight African American employees were named trolley car drivers, which angered the white workers. The city’s transit system was left paralyzed on August 1, 1944.
The strike against hiring and promoting black transit workers effected the production of WWII materials, since Philadelphia was one of the biggest cities for production. The president sent 5,000 troops to enforce the new law and end the strike. The Major General on command stated that he would enlist striking workers into the Army if they didn’t return to work. The NAACP worked with the white and black residents to end the strike peacefully. Within six days, the transit system was up and running again. The eight black employees were hired and a month after their first trolley run, more blacks were operators were hired.
Decades later, as STSC Transportation, the new African-American owned transit company begins its services, the community welcomes ownership of a business that was once under heavy scrutiny for providing opportunity to blacks to simply operate the equipment.