The origins of public transport in Gdynia date back to the years of 1927/28, when the private company Wł. Szandrach and Czarnowski launched a bus connection to Oksywie, and then expanded its operations on the basis of concession, received from the Senate of the Free City of Gdańsk, for a service of a Gdynia – Sopot route.
The obtained concession was valid for three years starting from September 3, 1928. Later it was extended for further two years, i.e. until June 14, 1933. On Oksywie and Sopot lines, the company Szandrach and Czarnowski, operated with low frequency using buses of Komnick, Opel, Chevrolet, and later - Büssing. These cars were painted in ivory color. The first stop was at Kaszubski Square.
Buses made by Brockway with a “TKA in Poland” sign, Chylonia – Railway Station – Molo Pasażerskie line, at the bus stop by Kościuszko Square.
For the sake of development of the city and having regard to the need to connect peripheral districts with the city centre and the port, Gdynia’s magistrate began making efforts to create public bus transport. As a result of those actions and based on the offer made to Ministry of Industry and Trade by the Association of Automobile Communication, located in Poznań, a limited liability company was established, which guaranteed 50% stake in the company to the city.
In the same year of 1929, in September, TKA started regular public bus transport within the Gdynia city limits. The connection to Oksywie was a priority. The line was operated by the Renault buses, directed to Gdynia from Poznań Electric Railway (than MPK Poznań), and Brockway trucks marked “TKA in Poland”.
On January 1, 1930 the newly formed company changed its name to Municipal Transport Association (abbreviated in Polish as MTK) in Gdynia. Its vehicles were painted in the colors of ivory (top) and red (bottom). The governing bodies of the company were the Supervisory Board and the Board. Attorney Ewert Krzemienicki was the President of the Supervisory Board, the members on behalf of TKA – former governor, Dr. Wachowiak and Eng. Konstanty Massalski, on behalf of the magistrate – counselor Łobocki and att. Roszczynialski. The position Director of the Board was held by Eng. Jakub Goldhar.
The crew of the Municipal Transport Association in 1930
Three bus lines were launched:
No.1 Railway Station – Oksywie
No. 2 Port – Railway Station – Oksywie
No .3 Gdynia –Orłowo – Sopot
The fleet of the company consisted of 10 buses, which had their depot at ul. Gdańska 29 (now corner of al. Zwycięstwa and Harcerska). That was also location of repair shops, warehouse, gas station and the management offices. Employment status reached a total number of 40 employees.
The total length of the bus lines was 36 km. The frequency of circulation was planned at 10 mins. In the summer, the company intended to establish a connection with Jastrzębia Góra via Puck with the planned frequency of four services daily. For a trial period a connection from Railway Station to Spa House on Kamienna Góra was opened, operated by a small GMC bus.
In its early years, the MTK Board had an intention to implement an electrification project, aiming (starting with Railway Station – Oksywie line) to introduce trolleybuses, than called “trams without the rails, on the tyres”. However, after a series of consultations the project was abandoned, opting instead for the purchase of new, less expensive to operate, buses with diesel engines. In order to achieve their objectives, the company took out the loan of 1 million Swiss francs (then the equivalent of 1 732 284 zł), purchasing seven Saurer buses with diesel engines.
Previously mentioned company Wł. Szandrach and Czarnowski was operating in parallel with the municipal communication company, serving only on Gdynia – Sopot line. Competition between those companies resulted in disputes, even on personal level. Drivers of both companies sometimes raced in betweens stops to be the first one to pick up the passengers.
Saurer Bus operating theGdyniaPort– Oksywie line, seen in front of the MTA depot at ul. Gdańska 29 (1931)
Between 1932 and 1934 MTK experienced a difficult period: the state of the fleet deteriorated considerably and the worn out Brockway buses were in a bad technical condition. The company was indebted and there was no equipment. The threat of property seizure, primarily the fleet, was real.
In this difficult situation for the company, director Golghar left and his position was taken by Eng. Jan Kawecki. One of the first acts of the new director was an agreement with Saurer, which, as a result of negotiations, agreed to reduce claims which also could be paid in installments. By administrative discipline and organizational and technical moves the operating costs were reduced and the fleet condition was improved. Cost-effective management and better equipped workshops enabled the improvement of operational results.
During this period the companies’ formal and legal matters were sorted out. Thanks to confidence that banks had in the new management and its improved financial situation, MTK bought out shares that belong to TKA, which was not formally correct but as a result the company became totally owned by the city ofGdynia. The value of the shares acquired from TKA was 350,000 zł.
In 1935 MTK purchased the assets of Szandrach and Czarnowski, taking over its fleet of 3 buses, made by Komnik and Büssing, thus eliminating the competition. A large amount of work was put into arrangement of matters related to public transport not only by director Eng. Jan Kawecki but also by the vice commissioner of Government, Eng. Włodzimierz Szaniawski.
Minister Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski visits the MKA Depot: first from the left – Director of MTK Eng. Jakub Goldhart
In 1934, the Municipal Transport Association (MTK) operated the following bus lines:
No.1 Komisariat Rządu (Commissariat of Government) – Oksywie
No. 2 Komisariat Rządu (Commissariat of Government) – Chylonia
No. 3 Kaszubski Square – Orłowo – Sopot
No.4 Kaszubski Square – Grabówek
No.5 Komisariat Rządu (Commissariat of Government) – Grabówek
No.6 Kaszubski Square – Port – Railway Station
No. 7 Kaszubski Square – Witomino
During summer, the line Gdynia – Władysławowo – Jastrzębia Góra – Karwia was launched.
In subsequent years, the public transport in Gdynia visibly developed; the number and length of bus lines increased and the frequency of services grew.
Lines differed significantly in terms of profitability. The Sopot line was the most profitable (114 541 zł of profit). The deficit lines were: Kaszubski Square – Port – Railway Station and Kaszubski Square – Witomino.
Ticket prices for rides on the MTA vehicles were relatively high and ranged from 0.20 – 1.5 zł, depending on the length of the line. For example in 1930, the ticket price to Oksywie was 0.80 zł, to Obłuże – 0.60 zł, to Orłowo – 0.80 zł and to Sopot – 1.50 zł.
On January 1, 1934, a new pricing system was implemented, based on zones (than referred to as sections). The ticket prices depended on the number of zones:
|for 1 section -||0,15 zł|
The length of one zone (section) was about 1000 m. In the morning (until 8:30am) and in the afternoon, from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm everybody could use the reduced fare tickets in the form of 10 ticket set. In addition, bearer season tickets were sold for 60 zł and personal season tickets for 40 zł, valid on all routes. School ticket cost 5.00 – 6.00 zł depending on the line.
Change of tariffs, improvement of technical condition of vehicles and reduction of expenditures produced a profit of 207 076 zł in 1934. After taking amortization into account, the net profit totaled 28 153 zł, which was important after permanent losses in the years 1931 – 1933, amounting to an annual average of 108 000zł.
In 1938, revenues from one serviced kilometre were 0.99zł with a cost of sale at 0.63zł. As the statistics show, in 1938 the functional costs were the lowest since the beginning of MTA; they amounted to 1 089 299 zł with incomings of 1 702 065 zł resulting in a profit of 612 736 zł.
In 1938, the company’s fleet consisted of 31 buses of different types:
7 GMC buses T-43 type
7 GMC buses T-33 type (including 1 with a diesel engine)
7 GMC buses T-33 type H
4 Saurer buses 3 BLD type
4 Saurer buses 4 BLD type
2 Bussing buses
and 1 GMC chassis F-23 type
In 1938 the first step to building a new own modern bus depot was made with a purchase from the Association of Housing Construction of 20 000m2 land parcel at the intersection of Gdańska and Sportowa streets for the amount of 235 128 zł.
Maciej Gwiazda, Powstanie i Rozwój Komunikacji Miejskiej W Gdyni, Rocznik Gdyński Nr 4 i 5