One of the two main country bus operators in the Indre-et-Loire of yesteryear

In the 1960s there were two main country bus operators in the département of Indre-et-Loire.  One was the Verney group subsidiary STAO Société es Transports Automobiles de l'Ouest with a network based on Tours, the other was Les Rapides de Touraine, similarly based on Tours.  Local services within the town of Tours were operated by TRT (Syndicat des Transports de la Région Tourangelle); trolleybuses were operated from 1949 until 1968 when the motor bus took over.  Tours is on the banks of the Loire - one of the great rivers of France - and the valley of the Loire is world renowned for its fine chateaux.   

In 1964 Les Rapides de Touraine had a fleet of nearly forty buses, including thirty Chausson with seating capacities between 41 and 45 passengers.  There were also nine smaller buses seating 27 from Floirat-Saviem.  Livery of the buses was yellow with black waistband. Destination blinds were not used but instead signs of red lettering on a white background were clipped to the front of the luggage rack. In common with many French country bus operators there was a significant parcels traffic ('messageries') accommodated in the external roof rack.  Additionally there were ten coaches in the fleet at the time.  In contrast the STAO vehicles from Tours were mainly in a light blue livery with dark blue waistband.  As befits a Verney subsidiary company their vehicles were of that same manufacture.  Many of the STAO routes were based on the former local light railways in the area. 

There was little overlap between the routes of the two interurban companies, and both operator's routes departed from the Gare Routière in the Place de la Gare at Tours railway station.  From the 1967 timetable illustrated alongside the routes with the higher levels of service were lignes 1, 4, 5 and 10.

Other 'independent' operators working regular bus routes into Tours in 1964 included Cars Coudert from Loches, some twenty five miles to the south.  From the north came Société Grosbois et Cie of Savigny-sur-Lathan and Transports I. Pivoin of Chateau-la-Vallière (all still running into Tours in 1990). 

Les Rapides de Touraine (along with Rapides du Poitou, Rapides de Sud-Est and Rapides de Bourgogne) were originally part of the Transports Citroën group in pre-war years; being known in 1934 as "Tourangelle des Transports Citroën".  The nearby Poitiers-based operation changed from Transports Citroën de Poitou to Rapides de Poitou in April 1933.  The Rapides companies then became subsidiaries of STAM - whose buses had a common  yellow and black livery - and were acquired by the Progécar group in 1975.  The livery was then changed to white with red and blue stripes.

1990 saw the creation of the Transdev holding with 99% of its capital belonging to the C3D (Caisse des Dépôts).  Transdev manages the passenger transportation department of the C3D and thus merged all the activities of the Transcet SA and Progécar SA companies and their subsidiaries. By 1990 the longer routes to Blois and Saumur had ceased.

Les Rapides de Touraine were acquired from Transdev by the Verney group (which already owned STAO) in September 1994 and then merged with STAO Touraine. This new company was named Compagnie des Autocars de Touraine (CAT). They also aquired Touraine Autocars, an independent company in Indre et Loire.

However when the Conseil Général d'Indre et Loire requested a tender for the whole interurban Fil Vert network in 1999 CAT lost all their lines. The winner was another independant company Alphacars. The Verney group was sold to the Connex group (now Veolia Transdev), and CAT and Touraine Autocars were merged in Connex Ligéria. In 2008 Connex regained the tender and ran the Fil Vert network. Some lines are subcontracted to Keolis, which had acquired Alphacars (now Keolis Touraine).

On the 1st September 2017 the Fil Vert name disappeared to be replaced by "Réseau de mobilité interurbaine", known as Rémi. This was in consequence of the transfer of responsibility for transport passing from the department to the region under the NOTRe legislation. The Tours urban network is now Fil Bleu.

cover of timetable

Il s'agit d'un site d'archives historiques et ne contient pas de données actuelles

Dans les années soixantes il y avait deux principaux opérateurs des autocars dans le département de l'Indre-et-Loire. L'un était la filiale du groupe Verney STAO Société des Transports Automobiles de l'Ouest avec un réseau basé sur Tours, l'autre était Les Rapides de Touraine, également fondé sur Tours. Les services locaux au sein de la ville de Tours ont été opérés par la TRT (Syndicat des Transports de la Région Tourangelle); trolleybus ont été opérés à partir de 1949 jusqu'en 1968, lorsque l'autobus a repris. Tours est sur ​​les rives de la Loire, l'un des plus grands fleuves de la France - et le Val de Loire est reconnue mondialement pour ses châteaux.

En 1964, Les Rapides de Touraine avait une flotte de près de quarante bus, dont trente Chausson avec des capacités pouvant accueillir entre 41 et 45 passagers. Il y avait aussi neuf petits autobus pouvant accueillir 27 à partir de Floirat-Saviem. La livrée était jaune avec ceinture noire. En commun avec de nombreux opérateurs français de bus du pays il y avait un trafic important colis ('messageries') logé dans la galerie de toit externe. En outre, il y avait dix autocars de luxe dans la flotte à l'époque. En revanche, les véhicules STAO de Tours ont été principalement dans une livrée bleu clair avec ceinture bleu foncé. Comme filiale Verney leurs véhicules étaient de cette même fabrication. Beaucoup des routes STAO étaient fondées sur les anciens chemins de fer départementaux de la région.

Il y avait peu de chevauchement entre les routes des deux sociétés, et leurs routes faisaient départ de la Gare Routière de la Place de la Gare à la gare de Tours. De l'horaire 1967 illustré les lignes avec les niveaux supérieurs de service étaient 1, 4, 5 et 10. 

Les Rapides de Touraine ont été acquises de Transdev par le groupe Verney (qui détenait déjà STAO) en septembre 1994 puis ont fusionné avec STAO Touraine. Cette nouvelle société a été baptisée Compagnie des Autocars de Touraine (CAT).

1967 route map for Rapides de Touraine
Plan des lignes 1967 Rapides de Touraine

1967 map of routes

=== information is from a 1965 article in Buses Illustrated by R G Harman with 1990 updates from Malcolm Chase ===

We would be pleased to learn more about this operator if any French readers of this page have further information!

Si les lecteurs français de cette page pouvaient m’apporter des informations complémentaires à propos de de cet autocariste, je leur en serais reconnaissant!

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