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Greenville’s transit history


Provided by Greenville Journal

If you’ve lived in Greenville for any amount of time, you know how proud we are of our city + its history. Our team recently had the opportunity to learn more about the transition of transit throughout Greenville’s past, so buckle up, and come along for the ride. 🚍

So, how is transportation in Greenville now different from what it used to look like with horses and walking paths?

Greenville welcomed its first transportation railway in 1853 called the Greenville/Columbia Railway. It connected different cities + towns down the east coast and reached far into the mountains of NC. After this railway was created, transportation was in high demand + it would soon change the way of life in Greenville into what it is today.

Eventually, there were five railways in the Upstate which, at the time, had a population of about 7,000 people. In 1904, the first automobiles came to Greenville.By 1915, Greenville had grown immensely, and the city was quickly looking for a solution to the new-found traffic as over 1,000 cars had come to town in over 11 years.

It was Jan. 11, 1901 when Greenville’s first electric trolley made its rounds. The first journey went from Main and Washington Streets to Poe Mill. The trolley cars carried 20 passengers + traveled at 8 miles per hour. Greenvillians embraced the modernization of transportation by having “trolley parties.” This form of transit became an important way of travel in the city and still is today.

In 1924, Greenville installed its first stoplight, and it was around this time that the city started to see its first buses. These buses mostly traveled around low-income areas but, as more people moved into town, there was an increase in demand to further the scope of the bus routes. Today, we call this bus system the Greenlink of Greenville.

Greenlink has changed over the years and modified how to be user friendly to Greenville riders. With new signage around town + mobile apps that can be accessed anywhere, Greenlink gives over 1 million rides a year. With the mobile app, you can see where a bus is in real time and find a convenient bus stop near you. New electric Proterra buses have also been purchased to make Greenville as green as possible.

So, what can we do to engage in transportation in Greenville? Grab some coffee, hop on one of Greenville’s transit options, and take the scenic route to work. You won’t regret getting to see our city from a different view.