|TRANSPORTS AUTOMOBILES LYONNAIS|
TRANSPORTS AUTOMOBILES LYONNAIS
90 rue de la Part Dieu, 69003 LYON
This is the
story of T.A.L., which operated along two corridors out of Lyon.
Mr Jean Thollot was a garage owner (a Fiat
agent) in Yzeron. On 05/09/1932 he was proposing a route from
Yzeron to Lyon via Vaugneray and Craponne.
And on 22/09/32, the OTL made its usual objection – that this was in unfair competition with the Lyon – Vaugneray tram service – but the route seems finally to have been authorized on 30/12/33, over 12 months later.
Thollot then sold his rights to the route (which required three vehicles) to a Mr François Chabert, also of Yzeron, and it was the name of Chabert that appeared in the declarations made when registration was required in 1934, although a later reference on 29/01/37 hints that the Prefect subordinated this authorisaton to certain unspecified conditions.
But soon afterwards, on 22/03/1939, the concession was transferred once again, to Mr Robert Jeannin of Yzeron, born on 02/11/11 at Maisod, Jura, who had bought Mr Chabert’s business. We know that Jeannin paid Chabert the sum of 55,000 FRF much earlier on 21/02/1938, of which 25,000 FRF was for goodwill.
The waters are further muddied by the existence of a sale contract dated 10/03/1939 where Mr Chabert purchased from Joseph Vernay – on behalf of Mr Jeannin – and for 1,000 FRF, the rights to transport between St. Martin en Haut and St. André la Côte.
The 1939 contract between Chabert and Vernay
1 Rochet Schneider 22hp 32 seats, registration 44PF3
1 Rochet Schneider 20hp 13 seats 964C12
2 Cottin 16hp 17 seats each 8683PF4 and 8684PF4
1 Bernard 22hp 22 seats - 2928 PF
1 Renault 15hp 17 seats - 1883PF2
1 Fiat 17 seats 9601PF1
The routes authorised consisted of:
Lyon to Yzeron ; 2 daily returns plus one more on Wednesday and Saturday and four more on Sunday.
Yzeron to Vaugneray ; 1 return on Tuesdays
Yzeron to St Martin en Haut ; 1 return on Mondays
Requirement : 2 vehicles and 1 reserve
Lyon to Ars: seasonal excursions from 1 March to 30 September using an 18 seater, and consisting of an outing on four days of the week - Tuesday/Thursday/ Saturday/Sunday.
It is noted that after the sale to Chabert,
Chollot retained his separate excursion activity through a business
registered as Chollot et Cie that he set up using the trading name “Les
Grandes Excursions Lyonnaises”.
Citroën 10 seats 1930 6605 PF 1
Citroën 16 1931 6135 PF 1
Citroën 16 1931 6136 PF 1
Citroën 21 1934 4227 PF 5
Saurer 20 1927
Saurer 26 1929 7865 PF
Saurer 28 1926
Rochet 32 1931 7032 PF 2
Rochet 32 1931 7033 PF 2
Cottin 26 1929 3969 PF 1
Cottin 20 1929 3970 PF 1
Laffly 32 1930 658 PF 2
Total seating capacity available 279
Mr Jeannin’s authorisations were reduced to:
Yzeron to Vaugneray – 1 daily return with a second on Wednesday and Friday. Effectively, this journey plus a transfer to the Vaugneray to Lyon tram replaced the Yzeron to Lyon service over its whole length.
Yzeron to Saint Martin en Haut – 1 daily
return on Mondays
JEANNIN’s 1941 request on
his headed notepaper – note the reference to
At the end of the war, the involvement of Mr Jeannin ceased. A handwritten note, unsigned, says he sold to TAL with effect from 01/11/45 although the sale deed was dated 13/11/45.
In the sale deed itself, T.A.L. is described as a company only just registered on 06/11/1945 with a capital of 300,000 FRF and Head Office at 214, rue Vendôme, Lyon.
The purchase price of 1 million FRF included 300,000 FRF of goodwill and a Rochet Schneider type 420 registered 3724PG2.
Curiously, there was also the obligation to pay a “rente viagère” of 23,000 FRF per year to Mr Jeannin as long as he lived, and 21,000 FRF on a similar basis to his wife, Francine Curt.
The business declarations of Mr Jeannin were:
1942 Turnover 123,195 FRF Profit 26,020 FRF
1943 Turnover 140,840 FRF Profit 83,004 FRF
1944 Turnover 171,590 FRF xxx
The relationship between the new owners TAL, a long way away in Lyon, and the local municipalities, seems to have been tense in the immediate post-war period.
In 1947, the Syndicat d’initiative d’Yzeron was complaining that the TAL had not restarted its Sunday service, finding it more profitable to use the vehicle on excursions. Earlier in 1946 the TAL was complaining that it needed an authorization for more than one vehicle, which was insufficient for the crowds on Saturdays and Mondays (these being the “weekend’ passengers leaving Lyon for their secondary residences or family homes in the countryside, then returning for the working week.) An increase was agreed in July 1946, giving 1 daily return plus a second on Saturdays and Mondays.
And in March 1946 the TAL was asking to be allowed to run on Sundays. This kind of increase in service levels was hampered by a ministerial decision to restrict any increase in mileage to a maximum of 5% of the existing mileage – an edict designed to limit fuel requirements when petrol was still in scarce supply.
finally agreed to Sundays and TAL said they would start up on 29
September 19 46. Some subsequent requests for further increases were
refused because the Lyon – Vaugneray tram provided a satisfactory
TAL 1946 timetable Part 1
TAL 1946 timetable Part 2
Why TAL bought the Jeannin business is not clear, but maybe they rapidly felt they were too far away and unable to exercise sufficient control.
So on 23/12/49 a “contrat de gérance”
was signed between Gustave MAULET, representing the SARL Transports
Automobiles Lyonnais, 90, rue de la Part Dieu, Lyon (note the Head
Office address had changed), and Claude (real name Claudius) JACQUIER
of Yzeron. The rental was 90,000 FRF per year, payable monthly from
01/01/1950. The contract was renewed annually until 1954.
But on 20/10/54, Claudius Jacquier advised
the authorities that he was ceasing his involvement as of 15/11/1954.
The local Yzeron office would transfer to the café “Au Relais du
Tourisme”, and this information was duplicated to Mr Bertrand,
Transports en Commun , Chazelles s/Lyon (owner of La Flèche Bleue).
This episode had ended in tears and recriminations, as we shall see a
Charbonnières (population 1,317 in
1931 and 5,000 in 2015) has been home to a famous Casino since 1882.
This is not the place to enlarge on that story, but at only 13 kms from
the centre of Lyon, it has been part of Lyon’s night life for years,
and required transport – indeed luxury transport for the type of client
Claude GUERIN, of route de Paris,
Charbonnières (Garage du Méridien – agence Citroën), supplied that
transport and had done so since 1921, with an ordinary stopping service
Lyon Quai Vincent to the Casino, and a direct service with no
intermediary stops, that ran from 15 April to 30 October daily, and
Sundays all the year round, with an average of 15 journeys on
Sundays. The service was marketed as “Super-cars”!! Twelve
vehicles were required.
An appropriate “super car” adorns Mr Guerin’s notepaper in 1960
The Casino was reopening on 23 March 46, after the war, and the Société des Eaux Minerales de Charbonnières les Bains was putting pressure on Mr Guérin to resume transport. In 1946, clients did not have cars. Only 1 train ran from Lyon St Paul to Charbonnières and inconveniently it left Lyon at 12.00 and returned from Charbonnières at 13.56! There had been 16 trains daily in 1939. The mayor of Charbonnières added his support. Guerin wrote to the Ponts & Chaussées who agreed on 15 March to 4 returns per day, which anyway was as much as Guerin could do with 4 vehicles and 1 more expected shortly.
27/11/48. The Casino was now closed for an unspecified time. The mayor was willing to subsidise Guerin to the tune of 10,000 FRF to provide a Saturday evening service into Lyon (20.00) and back (24.00), at a return fare of 80 FRF, so that his constituents could visit the theatre and other forms of entertainment. A short trial period proved that the whole project was not financially viable, and by February 1949 it was abandoned, without Guerin holding the municipality to their promise to cover the deficit.
On 01/01/60 Guerin sold out to the TAL. Included in the deal were:
Charbonnières to Lyon - 2 return journeys on weekdays
Lyon – Casino – direct service
Two licences for excursions – incidentally he had other excursions licences that he sold to VFD, to La Flèche Bleue, and to Mr Nuzillard based at Montluel, Ain. Licences were quite valuable at the time, and it was not the practice to sell them to operators outside of the département, as this gave them a competitive foothold and advantage, so the sales to VFD and Nuzillard, in the Isère and the Ain, were much criticized. But it was not illegal.
TAL increased its capital from 6.2 million FRF to 8.7 million FRF, and valued Mr Guerin’s business at 10 million FRF. Mr Guerin was allocated 500 shares of 5,000 FRF each.
Next, comes a short digression to the village of Montromant - 471 inhabitants at the time.
1946 The mayor and municipality wanted their route to Lyon. TAL was willing to accept but what service could be proposed at an economic price?
The first suggestion was a Thursday market service from Yzeron to Ste Foy l’Argentière via Montromant, giving passengers the opportunity to travel into Lyon and back in the afternoon on the regular Lyon Yzeron route. This idea was abandoned.
The second suggestion was to extend the Lyon - Yzeron service to Montromant once a week (!), but with journeys booked at the town hall 24 hours in advance – according to the number of reservations, TAL would provide a bus or a car/taxi.
Map of services in the Montromant (or Montromand) region
Finally, the municipality decided on a shuttle service that would be operated by Mr Mercier, a village councillor, using his personal car – a Peugeot registered 5259 PF 2, between Montromand and Yzeron. The service was to begin on 15/05/47, and there is written evidence that it did start. How long it lasted is unknown, but in any case, it was no longer a responsibility of TAL.
Back now to Yzeron -
On 9 APRIL 1954, Claudius Jacquier advised the authorities that he was in talks with Mr Bertrand with a view to operating his Chazelles – Lyon route under licence, with a modification of the itinerary to take in the village of Duerne.
And indeed Mr Aimé Bertrand signed a “promesse de vente” in favour of Claudius Jacquier, for a Lyon via Duerne route, valid for 2 months and 15 days from 3 April 1954, with no vehicles involved.
Declared FRF turnover for the route in its existing form was:
On 06 May 1954 It was informally noted that a project of association between Gillet (representing the TAL) and Bertrand was a possibility if Jacquier did not obtain the financial backing necessary to purchase the Bertrand route.
On 8 July 1954, the CTD (Comité Technique Départemental) noted that:
They had examined this dossier on 20/02/54
The “promesse de vente” in favour of Mr Jacquier had expired on 18 June 54
They were concerned that they were not being kept informed of what was happening.
Subsequently Mr Jacquier advised that the talks with Mr Bertrand had failed. This is undoubtedly why Mr Jacquier severed his contract with TAL in 1954. The impression was given that the TAL and Mr Bertrand had decided long before that they would undertake this project themselves.
In July 1954 a huissier in Villeurbanne was employed to produce legal documentation for a new company that would be set up jointly by TAL and Bertrand.
In August 1954 the TAL and Mr Bertrand requested the CTD to authorize what was basically the same project as that begun by TAL and Jacquier.
The new company – “Société de Participations Bertrand – TAL” was to have an initial life of 10 years, with its head office at 2, place du Petit Change, Lyon.
Mr Bertrand would bring to the business his Chazelles – Lyon route, and the vehicles
The TAL would bring their Yzeron – Lyon route.
Mr Bertrand would be named gérant.
In September 1954, the proposed legal entity was changed to an SNC, valid for 12 years, and with a salary for the gérant of 50,000 FRF per month.
A problem arose – the validity or not of a ban on picking up passengers in the greater Lyon area. The CTD confirmed no local traffic was allowed from St Martin en Haut to Lyon on Bertrand’s existing route. This was not what the business wanted. The banned area appears to have been shortened to Croix-Blanche – Lyon.
3 Nov 54 Authorisation for the new route
14 Nov 54 end of Jacquier’s involvement in the business
15 Nov 54 operation by the SNC.
The act of constitution was signed by Camille Chometton, Gustave Maulet, Edmond Ginier-Gillet (the existing associates of TAL) and by Bertrand (the new associate).
The route was valued at 2.6 million FRF and Bertrand received 120 shares of 5,000 FRF. The capital was increased to 3 million FRF held by–
Gillet 192 shares
T.A.L. notepaper in 1954
1955 summer timetable
Route map Chazelles to Lyon
In July 1955 both TAL and OTL were
authorized to divert some summer Sunday and Thursday timings by the
picturesque Route de la Crête, which gives splendid views from the Col
de la Luère and the Col de Malval.
Chazelles- Duerne - Lyon,
Charbonnières – Lyon
Casino de Charbonnières - Lyon
were leased to
La Flèche Bleue, which took the commercial risk.
suddenly discover that La Flèche Bleue has ceased running the route
because of unacceptable losses.
The Venet timetable
The results were:
Saturdays 975 km
operated Fare income 1.169,80 FRF
Venet continued operating, because he produced statistics in subsequent years:
July 1977 to April 1978 (9 months) – Income
14.978,15 FRF - Km operated 11,500.
Venet was regularly dissatisfied as he
considered the route needed to produce 3 times the kilometres run in
order to be profitable. On 09/07/78 he complained to his MP that
he was losing 20,000 FRF a year, and the route became a political
A financial analysis (Etude de rentabilité) was undertaken for what was a 364 day service with 2 returns on weekdays, 3 returns on Sundays and Bank holidays.
All the mayors wanted the service to be
maintained, but with the subsidies paid by the département.
La Flèche Bleue must have agreed to continue, since only much later, on 23/02/1987 did Mr Roche cancel the contract with effect from 16 March 1987.
TAL then asked the DDE for time to examine
alternatives for Lyon Charbonnières.
18/07/85 Registration of TAL Voyages (B332 507 896), an SARL, capital 50,000 FRF, address 90 rue de la Part Dieu 3e. Gérant Jacques Benoist. This business no longer exists.
01/09/86 TAL Head Office moved to 108-110 rue Moncey, Lyon 3e
17/03/87 Pierre Ginier-Gillet replaces Edmond Ginier-Gillet (deceased) as administrateur.
The president is now Mrs J. Ginier-Gillet.
TAL Vehicles identified – known to be operating in the year mentioned:
9099 CY 69 MB 45 seats
Nominally, Transports Automobiles Lyonnais
(RCS 954 505 152) still exists. After a few years based in Bron,
it’s Head Office moved to Valencin in the Isère, and since 2004 it
forms part of the Faure Group (Cars Faure). But it has long ceased to
operate buses – it is classified as a property administrator, and
receives what must be rental income of 37,000 euros (in 2004) rising to
47,000 euros in 2017.
Clive D’EATH - 25/05/2018
The story of another Rhône operator can be found here - Cars Sivignon
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