Warren-Bisbee Bus Line #8

24 passenger, 1938 Yellow coach Model 1204, Serial 234

The late 1920’s through the 1930’s was a time of great transition in the development of transit buses. Originally all buses were built on a truck chassis in the conventional style with a hood out front. As purpose built buses began to appear, manufacturers experimented with the placement of the engine, trying both mid-bus and engine-forward with the body built over the engine. Both provided more inside room, but the engine next to the driver was too hot and noisy to endure all day long, especially during summer months. Thus, once an angle drive was perfected, the engines typically were moved to the rear where they have stayed in most transit buses ever since. In June 1936, Yellow Coach (owned by General Motors) introduced the Model 733, a 21-passenger, front-engine bus.

Tucson Rapid Transit photo

Tucson Rapid Transit Company’s four Yellow Coach Model 733’s c. 1938.

Although Yellow continued to sell 733’s, two years later, in July 1938, they introduced the 24-passenger rear-engine Model 1204. It had essentially the same body as the 733 with the entrance door moved forward and the front axle moved back.




Arizona Historical Society


Warren Bisbee Railway car 102 proceeds down Main Street

 On June 1, 1928, the company name was changed to the Warren Bisbee Bus Line when two 40-passenger Twin Coaches (#1-2) and four 21-passenger Studebaker buses (#3-6) were substituted for the streetcars. Ten years later the Studebakers were replaced by two 24-passenger model 1204 Yellow Coaches (#7-8).




The Motor Bus Society


Warren Bisbee Bus Line #7 & 8 new at the factory in Pontiac, Michigan







Mansell Visiick Collection

 The driver’s pose in front of a Yellow Coach in their forest green uniforms


   They served through World War II. Their aluminum bodies made them light-weight, thus fuel efficient, while their standard Chevrolet 216 engines made them very reliable. They stood up well throughout the stress of dramatically increased ridership during the war.


Bisbee Historical and Mining Museum Museum

Bus #8 winds its way down Tombstone Canyon in 1950







The Motor Bus Society

One of the Yellow Coaches proceeds up Main Street








A 20-minute headway was provided all day until 6 p.m., and a 40-minute headway after 6 p.m. until the last bus from Bisbee to Warren about 11:20 p.m. The round trip was 40 minutes so two buses were required during the day and one in the evening. 

During the time bus 8 was in service, regular fares were 5 cents and student fares 4 cents per zone. These tokens provided a discount on each fare type. There were two fare zones, one token from Warren to Lowell and one token from Lowell to Bisbee, so 2 tokens for the whole trip from Warren to Bisbee.

    Regular Token 6 for $.25           Student Token 8 for $.25