Over 120 years of history
After more than 120 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.
From the mule-drawn tram to electrification
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 arrival of the trolley bus
The Spanish Civil War and World War II led to a severe general crisis that had a considerable impact on the Compañía de Tranvías. Spain’s isolation during this period resulted in a shortage of spare parts.
The trolley bus emerged as a solution to the constant difficulties, due to the greater mobility its rubber wheels provided. The first trolley bus ran in 1948, covering the route between Plaza de Pontevedra and Monelos. The network of trolley buses gradually expanded until the last tram was removed from service in 1962. The network grew to 34.2 km, covering much of the city.
The arrival of the bus
The first bus lines were introduced in 1965. The advantage of this technology was that it did not require any street infrastructures, and therefore the service could be tailored to cater for the needs of a rapidly growing city.
However, in the 1970s there was a drop in the number of users due to the rising number of cars, and the company experienced difficulties in replacing the last of its trolley buses. In fact, it was the last city to remove this service, in 1979.
In the 1980s, the lines underwent a process of renovation and restructuring and eventually the downward trend in demand was reversed.
The introduction of state-of-the-art technologies
Since the 1990s, the company has centred its efforts on continuously raising the standard of service, investing in the continued renewal of the fleet, as well as introducing cutting-edge technologies.
1998 saw the launch of a pioneering chip card payment system which is still in use today and provided the basis for later transport card systems. In 2003, when the company celebrated its centenary, a satellite control system was installed, together with the first panels providing real time information at the bus stops, positioning the company at the forefront of innovation. Indeed, the following year, it received the award for Spain’s best public transport company.
In 2013 Tranvías launched its itranvias app and also became present on social media. In 2015, the company received its first 6 quality and environmental management system certifications, and was among the first to receive road safety certification.
The company’s passenger per inhabitant ratio is currently the highest in Galicia and also ranks among the highest in Spain in cities of a similar size to La Coruña. The annual surveys also record a high level of satisfaction.