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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
West Bloomfield in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Sharing the Ride

on the Westacres Community Bus

 
 
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, June 22, 2021
1. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker
Inscription.  
They turned on their porchlights to signal the bus
to pick them up for the ride to work at the Chrysler plant in Highland Park. In 1939 nine Westacres residents bought a used bus to share the cost of commuting to work. They formed the Westacres Chrysler Employee Transportation Association (WACETA) which grew to 25 workers paying dues for the purchase and operation of a series of buses over the years. They issued stock, elected officials, and shared maintenance and driving duties. Over its 50 years, this program gained national attention as America's longest-running, privately-funded ride share program.

"Oh, we loved that old bus the same as a brother;
It grieves us to cast her aside for another..."
From "An Ode" written honoring the first bus.

You Auto Know
Gas rationing during WWII motivated the men to continue their cost-effective solution.
 
Erected by MotorCities National Heritage Area, National Park Service.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — top left and middle left images image. Click for full size.
Top: Courtesy of the Robert L. Aflen Collection. Middle: Courtesy of Westacres Historical Society.
2. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — top left and middle left images
Top and middle left images: Top: Illustration shows WACETA members maintaining the original bus. Middle: The Braendel family by their Westacres home, about 1945. Family members occasionally rode along on the bus to doctor visits, shopping and errands available only in the city.
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Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1939.
 
Location. 42° 35.484′ N, 83° 25.674′ W. Marker is in West Bloomfield, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker is at the intersection of Commerce Road and Elder Road North, on the right when traveling east on Commerce Road. Marker is in the parking lot behind the Westacres Branch of the West Bloomfield Public Library. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7321 Commerce Road, West Bloomfield MI 48324, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Westacres Community (here, next to this marker); Westacres (within shouting distance of this marker); Walter Flanders / Flanders Garage (approx. 0.9 miles away); Four Towns Methodist Church (approx. 2 miles away); Orchard Lake Chapel (approx. 2.1 miles away); An Advocate for Parks (approx. 2.4 miles away); Settling the Dust (approx. 2.4 miles away); WB Parks Kiosk (approx. 2.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Bloomfield.
 
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — bottom left image image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Westacres Historical Society.
3. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — bottom left image
Westacres Chrysler Employees Inc. stock certificate.
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — center left image image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Westacres Historical Society.
4. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — center left image
The ride on the bus to work offered opportunities for socializing and snoozing.
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — center right and right middle images image. Click for full size.
Photos courtesy of the Westacres Historical Society.
5. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — center right and right middle images
Left: The first bus, a Chrysler, was retired with a party in 1946. Right: Martha Kurzweil, daughter of WACETA co-founder Charles Kurzweil, posed by the second bus in 1951.
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — top right image image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Westacres Historical Society., June 22, 2021
6. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker — top right image
The "bus boys" enjoyed gatherings like this beer party in the Westacres Clubhouse, about 1945.
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker— bottom right image image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Westacres Historical Society.
7. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker— bottom right image
"The Westacres Weekly" newsletter, dated September 20, 1945.
Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, June 22, 2021
8. Sharing the Ride on the Westacres Community Bus Marker
Marker at the back of the library parking lot as seen from Commerce Road.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 23, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 91 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on June 23, 2021, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Mar. 25, 2023