After 115 years of service, the Compañía de Tranvías de La Coruña is a real symbol of the city. Its buses form part of the city’s landscape almost as much as its more representative monuments. The history of the company runs parallel to the modern history of the city – a century of existence in which technology has been evolving at a frenetic rhythm, making our lives progressively easier and easier, while making the city smaller and more comfortable.
Our journey begins on 1 January 1903; the grand opening of the first mule-drawn tram, covering the route from Puerta Real to the train station, with branch lines to Riazor and the depot.
A Belgian company took control of the company in 1907, but did not last long. The company went bankrupt in 1909 and the Compañía de Tranvías recovered the control it had lost.
The electrification of the tram was approved in 1913 and the service was considerably improved. A speed of 20km/hour was reached and an interurban tram route was planned from A Coruña to Sada – it was built in 1922.
These were years of ongoing technological improvement and line extensions, but at the same time they were also conflictive times with numerous labour protests and demonstrations.
The Spanish Civil War and the Second World War led to a great general crisis that had a considerable effect on the Compañía de Tranvías; there was a loss of profits. One of the consequences of the isolation suffered by our country in these years was a shortage of spare parts.
The trolleybus was much more mobile thanks to its rubber wheels and was the solution to constant problems. Despite the fact that 1947 holds the record for the number of tram passengers, the first trolleybus came into service in 1948, covering the route from the Plaza de Pontevedra to Monelos.
Trolleybuses and trams lived together until the beginning of the 1960s. 18 new double-decker trolleybuses were incorporated into the fleet in 1961 and definitively took the place of the trams.
Trolleybuses dominated the landscape of A Coruña, but not for long. The Compañía de Tranvías was awarded the first buses in 1965 and so Route A was born, from the Plaza de Pontevedra to the Puente del Pasaje.
The new buses gradually replaced the trolleybuses. Autobuses Urbanos de La Coruña and the Compañía de Tranvías merged into a single company in 1978. One year later the trolleybuses stopped working after 31 years of service.
A descent in the number of passengers was evident in the 1980s due to the increase in the number of private vehicles. In order to reduce the effect of this decrease, in 1989 a number of routes were reformed and restructured.
In 1997 the Mayor implemented an idea that he had been thinking about for some years; the recovery of the tram for tourist use. Little by little the line was extended until it covered a great part of the promenade.
The centenary of the company in 2003 brought in a new satellite control system, a technological improvement that implies a great step forward for passengers. Smart bus stops were introduced one year later and the company received the award for the best public transport company in Spain.
The company was 110 years old in 2013. The great fleet of buses is provided with the latest technology and for the first time ever is present on the social networks.