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What is AB&W?

The History of AB&W Credit Union.

Getting you from Point A to Point B

Staff members are frequently asked this question. And some of you have probably looked at the logo above the entrance to the credit union and asked same question to yourself. The answer to the question is almost a hundred years old.

On June 16, 1921, Mr. Robert Lee May, a former DC Police Officer, began operating a 12 passenger Reo Speed Wagon with seats arranged in "patrol wagon" style with steps at the rear. The route traveled by this single Reo Speed Wagon was between Bailey's Cross Roads and Washington. The one-way fare was 15 cents. Before long, because of the popularity of the service, a second “bus” was required. So, Mrs. Lulu B. May, who had been the bookkeeper for Robert's company, became the company’s second bus operator.

Over the next three years, Mr. May acquired the assets of the Alexandria Motor Bus Line, purchased 10 new Reo Speed Wagon buses and on July 1, 1924 named his operation the Alexandria, Barcroft and Washington Rapid Transit Company. AB&W was born. Between 1924 and 1934, service was added to Mt. Vernon, Hunter’s Station (Fort Hunt), Fort Humphrey (Fort Belvoir) and even Richmond for a short time. In December 1934, the company was incorporated as the Alexandria, Barcroft and Washington Transit Company. Most people simply referred to the operation as AB&W or "the Red Buses."

The company continued to expand and by 1973 AB&W was operating 344 buses to Washington, Alexandria, the Pentagon, National Airport, Fort Belvoir, Mt. Vernon, Springfield, Fairfax, Annadale, Seven Corners, Lincolnia, Arlignton Court House and even the Naval Research Lab across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. AB&W's Washington Terminal was in front of the Old Post Office Building which is now the Trump Hotel. At the Pentagon, the "bus stops" were in tunnels under the Pentagon. AB&W buses provided service between Washington and National Airport every 10 minutes.

On February 4, 1973, the assets of the AB&W Transit Company were sold to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). These assets included 344 buses and the Royal Street and Four Mile Run Garages. Thus, the AB&W Transit Company ceased to exist and Metrobus was born.

But the AB&W name continues to live on because in 1952, employees of the AB&W Transit Company chartered the AB&W Credit Union. The first office of the credit union was in the home of one of the founders, St. Elmo Kerns, at 3 West Cedar Street in Alexandria. The credit union then moved to 614 North Washington Street where it stayed until the move to the present location in 1993. And now you know what the logo above the doors of the credit union really means.

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