MTA NYC Transit To Run Vintage Buses In December

Earlier today, MTA New York City Transit sent a press release via e-mail to announce that vintage buses would run on 9 routes in December. Here are the complete details:

For a period of five weeks between December 1st and January 2nd you won’t need a time machine to go back to the 1960s and 1970s. Bus customers on the M8, M14, M20, M23, M34, M42, M57, M79 and Q32 will have the opportunity to ride a fleet of vintage New York City buses for the holiday season. Everything will be original except the fare.

The buses will be running from Monday, December 1st through Friday, January 2nd, in service during morning and evening weekday rush hours. With a little bit of luck and good timing you could catch a ride back in time on one of MTA New York City Transit’s classic coaches for the price of a regular ride. And don’t forget, these Nostalgia Coaches are equipped with modern fareboxes, so they’ll accept your MetroCard or coins.

While all of the coaches will not be in service, the agency’s historic fleet consists of 19 buses, ranging in age from the Queen Anne – a 1917 wood-bodied double-decker manufactured in the shops of the old Fifth Avenue Coach Company – to bus number 1201, NYC Transit’s first General Motors RTS. Many of the vehicles have been deemed to have historical significance to the city, including bus number 3100, a 1956 GM which was the first air-conditioned transit bus manufactured, and 5227, the last non-wheelchair-accessible bus to operate for NYC Transit, pulled from service in 1993.

“Bus technology has come a long way since the 1960s and 70s and riding on these buses is a great contrast to the equipment we operate currently,” noted Joseph Smith, Senior Vice President, Department of Buses. “The older buses have a lot of charm but our customers are benefiting from tremendous advances in bus design, with improvements in comfort and efficiency.”

While most of the preserved and restored vehicles were ordered and operated by NYC Transit, the earliest buses belonged to predecessor companies, particularly the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. The historic fleet is made up largely of so-called “old look” buses (built prior to the Fall of 1959) and “new look” models (buses with slanted windows and enlarged windshields built from the Autumn of 1959 until the introduction of the RTS in 1977).

General Motors and Flxible are the most heavily represented manufacturers, though there is also a 1956 Mack in the collection. Interestingly, all three companies are now gone from the bus-building business.

You can also catch the Transit Museum’s Holiday Train Show at Grand Central Terminal through January 19, 2009. Visit the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights all year long to see and experience the history of NYC Transit and the MTA.

List and description of buses that will be in operation and on display:

Buses in service

Bus No. 5117 – 1964 Flxible. Retired from service in 1983.

Bus No. 7340 – 1973 Flxible. Part of a 267 bus order. This bus ran until 1990.

Bus No. 4727 – This 1969 Flxible was delivered as part of an order for 331 buses. It last saw service in 1988.

Bus No. 2151 – 1962 General Motors Coach. Model TDH 5301. Remained in service for 20 years.

Bus No. 100 – 1959 General Motors Coach. Model TDH 5301. This was the first model year of the GM’s New Look bus design. It was retired from service in 1973.

Buses on Display

Bus No. 2124 – 1938 Yellow Coach 735 (GM) double-decker ran until 1953 and was among the last of the fleet to serve.

Bus No 1263 – This 1931 Yellow Coach double decker was part of a 52 bus order for Fifth Avenue Coach Company.

Sorry for not getting this up sooner.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Wonderful idea….our “fishbowls” went out of revenue service in late 2000 in Milwaukee.

They were part of a shipment of orange and cream colored, then they were painted green and light green, and finally in the late 80’s to white and black.

Milwaukee County Transit System should have kept some of these buses for such an occasion.

The only one set aside that I know of from that fleet is number 2023.

Thank you City of New York, and for those who took the time to put video of this occasion on
the web.


I am looking for information on the 1931 FACCO Yellow coach #1263. I used to drive this bus in the 70’s .. I can prove this by asking someone to count the leaf springs on the right rear side. There will be more than on the left rear side. Also by looking at the picture of the bus in Time Square, it appears the original windshield wipers have been replaced since the 1980’s. Thanks for preserving this coach. We also had a Queen Mary (I think it was 2052), and who knows what happened to that..

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