MTA Gives The Gift Of Vintage Buses This Holiday Season

The MTA continues to be in a giving mood this holiday season. Fresh off the gift of the “Nostalgia Train” for the holiday season, the MTA will give the gift of vintage buses this holiday season. Here is the press release courtesy of the MTA:

Bus customers using the M34, M42 and M50 crosstown routes will have the opportunity to take a ride back in time this month when MTA New York City Transit places into service a fleet of vintage New York City Transit buses for the holiday season. Everything will be original except the MetroCard fare boxes.

In addition, double-decker buses dating from the 1930s will be available for inspection but, sorry, no rides. The double-deckers will be parked at Herald Square, Times Square, outside of Grand Central Terminal and other locations around the city.

The crosstown buses will be in operation from Monday, December 10th through Friday, December 28th, running on weekdays during morning and evening rush hours. With a little bit of luck and good timing you could catch a ride back in time on a classic coach for the price of a regular ride. And don’t forget, these modern buses are equipped with modern fare boxes, so they’ll accept your MetroCard or coins.

Housed in depots throughout the city, the historic fleet is appreciated by Transit’s top managers for their historic significance. “These buses are a living, breathing part of the city’s history and each has a unique story to tell about the era in which it operated,” says NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “When you examine this collection as a whole, the progression of motorized surface transportation in New York City really comes to life.”

The agency’s historic fleet contains 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.

“Riding on these buses is a fantastic counterpoint to the buses we operate currently,” noted Joseph Smith, Senior Vice President, Department of Buses. “It’s obvious that we have come a long way since the 1970s and, despite the charm of the older equipment, our customers are benefiting from the advances in bus design.”

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 fall of 1959) and “new look” models (buses with slanted windows and enlarged windshields built from the fall 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 out of the bus-building business.

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. It 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 style. 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.

This is yet another activity to add to my photography to do list!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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