Racine Motor Coach Lines (RMCL)

Explore the rich history of Racine Motor Coach Lines (RMCL), an integral part of Racine’s transportation heritage. Journey through its inception, expansion, and the pivotal role it played in providing essential bus services to the community. Discover how RMCL has remained a reliable transportation partner throughout the years.

Racine, WI, Main Street, Monument Square, Venetian Theater, Racine Motor Coach Lines, Road to Zanzibar, April 29, 1941

It’s springtime on Monument Square. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope headline the Venetian Theater marquee in Road to Zanzabar. Racine Motor Coach Lines purchased the Racine transit operations from TMER&L in 1940. Orange and cream-colored buses from routes 3 and 4 pause for north side transfer passengers on April 29, 1941.

Racine, WI, Racine Motor Coach Lines paint scheme, Brooks Stevens, 1940

Brooks Stevens, a famous pioneer in the field of modern industrial design, created this streamlined styling for Racine Motor Coach Lines buses in 1940. From top to bottom, the colors were: silver roof, orange roofline swoosh, maroon windows, orange lettering, cream sides, and maroon skirt stripes and wheels.

Racine, WI, Racine Motor Coach Lines, Main Street, Monument Square, Fredric March, Badger Theater, Brooks Stevens, Racine Dry Goods, May 2, 1941

Racine native, Fredric March, headlines the marquee at the Badger theater as a Racine Motor Coach Lines bus painted in the new Brooks Stevens design passes through the busy 500 block of Main Street on May 2, 1941.

Racine, WI, Racine Motor Coach Lines, Main Street, Monument Square, Venetian Theater, Rialto Theater, Roxie Hart, My Favorite Blonde, Castle in the Desert, American Red Cross, Brooks Stevens, May 2, 1941

Racine Motor Coach Lines buses brought people from all parts of the city to the movie palaces along Main Street. The Venetian and Rialto theaters formed the heart of the entertainment district in downtown Racine. In March of 1942 a moviegoer had the choice of seeing Ginger Rogers in Roxie Hart at the Rialto or Bob Hope in My Favorite Blonde at the Venetian. The Racine County Chapter of American Red Cross set up a storefront for volunteers and servicemen in this view taken only months after the U.S. entered World War II. Journal Times photo.

Racine, WI, Johnson’s Wax Administrative offices, Frank Lloyd Wright, 16th Street, Racine Motor Coach Lines, Kenosha Motor Coach Lines, Brooks Stevens, 1955

The stylish lines of this Racine/ Kenosha Motor Coach Lines bus are from the same era as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Administrative offices and research tower on the Johnson’s Wax campus along 16th Street in Racine.

Racine, WI, Monument Square, Main Street, Racine Motor Coach Lines, 1950

Monument Square was the central transfer point for bus passengers traveling around Racine. During the 1950’s the rush hour buses ran 10 to 12 minutes apart. They met at Monument Square to transfer passengers before spreading out to the outer edges of the city.

Racine, WI, Main Street, Racine Motor Coach Lines, GM TDH36, Brooks Stevens, SS Kresge, dime stores,1950

More than 13 million passengers rode the bus in 1948. This GM diesel-hydraulic 36-passenger bus was one of 12 new buses purchased to carry the traffic. It pauses in front of the dime stores in the 500 block of Main Street while passengers transfer between routes. But personal car ownership and the popularity of television meant fewer passengers traveling downtown and around the system. By 1955 bus traffic in Racine had dropped to just over 5 million passengers. Jack Gervais photo.

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