A brief history of CARRIS
1872 - The Beginnings
CARRIS as a company was founded on 18 September 1872 (as 'Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa') in Rio de Janeiro and has expanded relative to Lisbon’s growth. Throughout the years it has been providing services to meeting the population's needs. On 17 November 1873 it inaugurated the first mule tram line between the North and East (Santa Apolónia) and the extreme west of Aterro da Boa Vista (Santos). The installation was referred to as the 'Carro Americano', the cars having been purchased from John Stephenson of New York.
A large depot and stables were built at Santo Amaro in 1875 on the site of an orphanage. In 1888 the company was granted a 99 year exclusive tramwat concession for the city.
A new company, 'Lisbon Electric Tramways Ltd' was incorporated in London in July 1899 to provide the necessary capital. The company was registered at 4 London Wall Buildings, Blomfield Street, London EC2.
1900 - Electricity
At the beginning of the century, trials were made with cable traction, ideal for the hilly streets of Lisbon. However, on 31 August 1901 the first electric tram service began, stretching from Cais do Sodré to Ribamar (Algés. The following years were marked by the complete electrification of the existing network, the appearance of new routes and fleet growth with vehicles that were bought initially from the United States. From 1924 they were built in the company’s depots.
1937 - Trams
In the following years, Lisbon saw more trams appearing, acquired in the United States or built in the company's garages. Worthy of note are the following: the building of the Graça line, considered as impractical, due to the lie of the land, and the Amoreiras Depot, inaugured in 1937 not only to serve tram network, but also the bus network, which was inaugurated on 9 April 1944.
1944 - Buses
Prior to this in 1940, to bolster the number of transport options for visitors to The Exhibition of the Portuguese World in Belém, CARRIS acquired its first six buses.
By the end of the 1940s there were big changes in the tram fleet, due to traffic conditions and to ensure economical and social viability. This led to a gradual decrease in the number of vehicles and routes. In the meantime, the bus fleet was renewed, diversified and improved to suit the demand and specific requirements of the routes.
1950s - Expansion
During the 1950s company decisions led to considerable cuts in tram network, new ideas for its improvement were sought, which included new technologies (for higher running speed), increase in capacity and better operational environment. Buses were bought from British companies, a relationship that lasted into the 1970s.
1960 - Changes
The 1960s brought profound changes to the overall picture of Lisbon overground mass public transport system. The company policy was to phase out the trams within short time, replacing them by buses. The increasing use of private transport and the arrival of the Lisbon Metro were decisive factors in the disappearance of the tram from many parts of the city - Rossio, Benfica, Carnide, Lumiar. Along with this came an improvement in the bus network through the creation of new routes and changes to existing services.
1974 - 'Laranjas'
By 1974, it was clear that the fleet was in urgent need of renovation. A tender was, therefore, opened to furnish the fleet with 200 new vehicles. The first buses were delivered by the following year and due to their colour they were nicknamed "Oranges".
1981 - Construction
In 1981, the Amoreiras garage was closed. The renovation and the increase in the fleet meant that new premises, strategically located, had to be built. The resulting garages were at Pontinha (opened in 1975), Musgueira (1981) and Miraflores Complex, which had the honour of welcoming the President of the Republic to the opening cerimony on 19 June 1983. This was the first official visit by a Portuguese head of state to Companhia Carris premises.
1990 - Renovation
Over recent years, new types of buses have been brought in to service (standard, articulated and minis) and there has also been renewed interest in the trams. This led to the acquisition of 10 new articulated vehicles which combine state-of-the-art technology, a high level of comfort and excellent passenger-carrying capacity. There are also 45 traditional trams which have been renovated, creating a happy medium: the original lines are still kept but they are served by up-to-date electro-mechanical equipment.
2004 and 2005 – Fleet Renovation
Carris regenerated it's bus fleet over two years to improve their environmental impact and continues to make improvements both socially and environmentally.