Peter Pan Bus Company

The company’s founder, Peter Carmine Picknelly, began his love for transportation in the early 1900’s as a chauffeur. In 1920, he went out on his own and started a small transit company called Orange Valley Bus Company in East Orange, NJ. Then, in 1925, Peter and three other Jitney operators decided to pool their resources and relocate to New England to start a larger transportation service in Hartford, CT, named Interstate Buses Corporation. After successfully launching and establishing that company, in 1932 he sold his interest in Interstate Buses Corporation to his partners and formed his own bus company in Springfield, MA … Peter Pan Bus Lines… in 1933. Peter Pan Bus Lines got its name from our founder’s children’s favorite bedtime story, Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie.

1933 JitneyPeter Pan started with just four 1933 Buick Jitney vehicles. Peter Pan’s first route, Northampton to Boston via Stafford Springs, CT, was a circuitous route that took over 3 1/2 hours with a round trip fare of $3.50!

After years of battling with the State of Massachusetts, in 1940 Peter Pan finally won approval from the State to operate from Springfield direct to Boston via Route 20, cutting travel time to under 2 ½ hours.

In 1942, Peter’s younger brother, Bill Picknelly, joined the bus company; followed by Bill’s son, Carmen Picknelly, who took over the management of Peter Pan’s Maintenance Department. Today, Carmen’s son, Tom Picknelly, is our Senior Vice President of Maintenance; and Tom’s son, Joe Picknelly, the 4th generation of the Picknelly family to enter the business, is Manager of Inventory Control & Fleet Maintenance.

In 1957, when the Massachusetts Turnpike opened, the company gained authority to travel on this new express route between Springfield, MA and Boston, decreasing the travel time to less than 2 hours… as quick as the automobile and faster than the train… giving birth to the concept of affordable, convenient mass transit. During this time, the company’s routes expanded to include many more communities throughout Massachusetts.

1963 marked a milestone for Peter Pan Bus Lines as the company achieved $1 million in annual sales. At this point, Peter Pan’s fleet consisted of 28 buses.

In January of 1964, founder Peter C. Picknelly died leaving the company’s helm to his 33-year old son, Peter Louis Picknelly.

The next few years brought tremendous success and growth to Peter Pan, particularly due to the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City. Peter Pan offered “all-expense-included” tours from western Massachusetts and Connecticut to the New York World’s Fair. The tours were a phenomenal success for the newly formed Peter Pan World Travel Service, a division that brought substantial financial growth to the company.


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