Public transportation services in the White Rock/South Surrey area grew slowly over the years. However, the major service suppliers came into being after World War II.
The first bus that made up the Semiahmoo Stage Lines was a dodge/fargo and carried 24 passengers.
In 1945, after the Second World War, a local bus service was started by R.L. (Reg) Taylor, R.D. Hawthorne and Jim Ferguson. This was run in conjunction with Taylor's Taxis. A small building just west of the GN depot served as a bus depot as well as a stand for Taylor's Taxis and ambulance service.
The first bus service operated out of a small Taxis office just west of the GN depot. This office not only served the bus line but Taylor's Taxis and ambulance service as well.
In 1949 Johnny and Ruth Taylor in partnership with J. D. MacMillan bought the service which became known as Semiahmoo Stage Lines. Jim Ferguson and Johnny Taylor were the drivers in the early years. In time, long time White Rock residents, Jim and Vi (Viola) Ferguson took over the local bus service, and renamed it White Rock Bus Lines, but later sold out to Vancouver interests.
Joe Shortman joined White Rock Bus Lines in 1953. He was a very colourful personality, and had a gregarious temperament. He would often stop the bus at east beach in order to have his lunch at Coney Island fish and chips.
Joe Shortman joined the company as a driver in September of 1953. Service was provided along the front street to Stayte Road and up to the growing commercial community of five corners. Most of the roads were gravel in those days. The bus service also carried the mail to Crescent Beach and Ocean Park. As the community grew the name of the bus service was changed to White Rock Bus Lines to reflect the name of the community.
Through out most of the 1950s and early 1960's two buses operated as the White Rock Bus Lines. Joe Shortman and Jim Ferguson were the drivers.
Ralph Wyborn was an apprentice mechanic at Walton's Shell Service at the foot of Oxford Street. From 1959 to 1964 Ralph owned and operated the Shell Station (Crescent Heights Service) on Crescent Road. He began to service the two local buses. In December 1964, Ralph and Joyce Wyborn purchased the bus firm from Dick Baker and Jim Draggon who owned the Vancouver Bus Lines and Metro Bus Lines. There were only two local buses in operation at that time and the new company became known as Surrey Bus Service Ltd.
Surrey Bus Service operated out of their depot at Sunnyside (24th Ave.) and King George Highway. Within five years (1970) the operation had expanded to a fleet of 11, with two new Bluebird coaches having a seating capacity of 49.
Local service was expanded from White Rock to Crescent Beach, Ocean Park, and Elgin. Runs also connected Sunnyside and Hazelmere. Service to Sullivan, Fleetwood, Guildford and Port Kells was initiated. Regular Wednesday service to Blaine became a popular event. For seniors a regular Monday afternoon trip to Surrey Fine Arts center at Bear Creek Park was provided free of charge courtesy of the Surrey Recreational Commission. For students a $1 pass allowed a student a total of 11 rides on the Surrey bus. This service took pressure off the school bus system and provided needed transportation to both students and local residents.
Surrey Bus Service Ltd.
Local Schedule: January, 1970
Daily except Sundays and Statutory Holidays
Operating from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm
In addition to the local service a charter bus service was initiated with new deluxe highway cruisers. Trips to Vancouver Island, hockey games, ski trips, and special Reno Tours became part of the Surrey Bus Service operation.
Ralph Wyborn was the Surrey Bus Service owner along with his wife Joyce, who served as secretary treasurer. Brian Perry was the manager who held the responsibility for dispatching of the drivers, scheduling, and answering hundreds of inquiries. In 1970 the bus drivers included; Joe Shortman, Ken Sargeant, Bob Bowery, Ab Baron, Bob MacDonald, Randall Peacock, Roland Phillips, and ex-Pacific Stage drivers' Dave Boyle, Bob Chester, Harry Selkirk. Maurice Patch was in charge of cleaning maintenance.
Kenmar was the first company to provide charter bus and van service for the special needs students in the local school district. Surrey Bus Service took over the contract from them. The purchase of 12 new buses and vans was necessary to fulfill the contract.
In 1974 BC Transit took over the operation of the local bus service. After the Provincial take over, Surrey Bus Service became primarily a charter and school bus service. By 1979 two thirds of the operation was the school bus contract.
By 1974 Surrey Bus Service was primarily a school bus service, providing transportation for special needs and wheel chair bound students. Two thirds of the operation was the school bus contract.
The fleet significantly expanded to meet the local needs. 16 new buses were added; 4 vans with wheel chair lifts, and 12 smaller 36 passenger buses. Later 6 of the 36 passenger buses would be converted to wheel chair lift buses.
In 1986 Century Coach Line Limited was founded to provide on-call service to Vancouver Airport from the Lower Fraser Valley. On call service to Vancouver Airport was provided from Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Clearbrook, Aldergrove, Langley, Cloverdale. This service had been formerly Totem service.
These are the shoulder patches worn by the Surrey Bus Service drivers and by the Century Coach Line drivers.
Whalley Bus Lines was operated by George and Loretta Long. This was primarily a school bus operation. In the early 1980's Whalley Bus Lines was purchased by Surrey Bus Service, but continued to be operated as a separate company. With the combined companies, Surrey Bus Service, by 1992, had up to 49 buses in the fleet. The service remained primarily a school bus operation along with the charter bus services.
In the summer of 1993 Cardinal Bus Lines (an Alberta firm) won the school district school bus contract. This forced Ralph Wyborn to down size his operation and eventually sell it.