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WB Bus Subway

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  1. By the time the oldest of FACCo and NYCO buses went to Surface Transit, NYCO had become Fifth Avenue Coach Lines, Inc. (effective June 1, 1956) and swallowed up STS (that Dec. 17). I know as for the 3301-3555 group when originally assigned, three of the depots to which they went were ex-STS (to replace the dilapidated fleet that still stayed on the roads even with FACL sending up surplus FACCo and NYCO rolling stock), with the other the ex-FACCo depot whose buses were very well-maintained - and from which the oldest of that batch was spread out amongst ex-STS depots (plus making up for what FACCo buses were spirited away by FACL to Westchester during the 1962 strike that led to the creation of MaBSTOA). I don't know if NYPL has in their branches old Motor Coach Ages, but I have been working to do my own piecing together of the bus history in NYC from old articles in The New York Times - which in their accuracy was sometimes wanting. There is online old NYCO annual reports (for years ending 1936-50 and 1952; nothing from 1951 or 1953-55 after which they became FACL, for that matter none of their annual reports are online and one has to seek them out in libraries). Google Books has snippets of 1962-67 transcripts of MaBSTOA proceedings which have also been a help in trying to uncover this maze. But yeah, one otherwise has to go to libraries to get all the skinny. If you've seen online on other forums, you may have stumbled on some days in history of the buses.
  2. Though the times have passed for each, better late than never to mention them: - June was the 55th anniversary of the debut, in 1963, on New York City streets of the first buses built by GM for the then year-old MaBSTOA, numbered 3301-3555 in model TDH-5303. They were the first buses for this agency (which only the year before had taken over the routes previously operated by Fifth Avenue Coach Lines and its Surface Transit subsidiary) to have one singular roll sign in front, as opposed to two split ones. Their layout copied (not specifically by the type sizes) that of 1959-62 5301's built for the TA, with route number at left, and at right two small lines of type with the route name on top and 'TO __________ [destination]' at bottom - the only group to have such signs so laid out. By this yardstick, we can gauge that the buses, when first delivered, were originally assigned to Kingsbridge and West Farms in the Bronx, and Amsterdam and 132nd Street in Manhattan. I've not seen pics of bus runs with these or later models of routes from either Kingsbridge or Coliseum, but one pic exists "out there" from 1970 of a Bx-42 run (out of West Farms) with a vintage sign of that layout grafted onto one of the 1965-66 group of buses (numbered 6541). Most pics with these types of signs were predominantly of Amsterdam-based M-104 Broadway and, to a lesser extent, M-100 Broadway-Kingsbridge; most from 132nd were of two of the key Fifth Avenue routes, 3 and 5 (though 4 photos with that type of layout exist, their type seems to be hand-painted as opposed to set by Transign, as 4 prior to September 1963 was assigned out of Kingsbridge in the initial MaBSTOA era). These buses later ended up going from garage to garage throughout the system, and lasted to about 1976. - July 1, in 1974, was the day of the big route renumberings in Manhattan, the Bronx, and some Queens routes. Four of five TA routes had their numbers changed (with only M15 First and Second Avenues retaining its designation); the Queens-oriented routes, QM15 and QM16 (which ended up duplicating the nomenclatures of two Green Bus Lines express bus routes to Manhattan, emanating from Lindenwood and Rockaway Park respectively), to M32 and Q89; Bronx routes with lettered suffices either combined into the source (i.e. Bx12A, Bx12B and Bx12C to Bx12) or assigned recycled numbers (Bx15C to Bx17, Bx15A to Bx6, Bx15B to Bx19) or started anew (Bx5A to Bx54); the TB routes split off into M34, M35 and Bx21; and other Manhattan routes also switched around in the nomenclature department (among them M15 23rd Street to M26, M20 57th Street to M28, M1 Madison-Chambers to M22). Plus M2A shortened to M2, and M101A becoming M102. Of the routes so changed back then, subsequent later renumberings were effected such as M26 to M23, M32 to Q32, M28 to M57, and M29 (ex M7 65th Street Crosstown) to M66.
  3. Forgot one other route numbering change of July 1, 1974: - M31 (York Avenue) - was actually the M-11, which nomenclature duplicated that of the Ninth and Amsterdam Avenues line which was bustituted under Eighth Avenue Coach in late 1935, transferred to New York City Omnibus in 1951 and Fifth Avenue Coach Lines from 1956-62. The once M-1 Madison-Chambers route was actually renumbered M22.
  4. I am curious as to whether, at that point, in Manhattan the 2 - Fifth and Seventh Avenues route was still out of 132nd Street; I know upon the January 1966 one-way conversions of Fifth Avenue to southbound and Madison Avenue to northbound, it was moved to 146th Street as MaBSTOA operationally combined it with 2 - Park and Madison Avenues via 116th Street which was there already, and set up a Seventh Avenue branch (which was summarily designated 2A through 1974) and a Lenox Avenue branch. And also, after the March 1969 startup of 101A - Third, Lexington and Lenox Avenues, how side signs of that would have read. I've yet to see a photo from the early '70's period of 101A being read on side signs of 'batwings', either '101 3RD-LEX-AMST AVES' or, in one extreme case, '2 5TH & MADISON VIA LENOX'. I also have info on most farebox codes, but what would have been the code for 12th Street depot?
  5. In 1974, M8 was Avenue B and East Broadway's Grand Street route, absorbed (along with M9) by MaBSTOA in 1980 and discontinued in 1988 - which is how M13 - 8th Street Crosstown was renumbered M8 in 1993.
  6. The M103 was merged with M28 on Sept. 10, 1989 into the M57. It was from that that the 57th Street Crosstown's western terminus was shifted from 54th Street and 12th Avenue to 73rd Street and Broadway (traveling along 11th and West End Avenues between 57th and 72nd Streets). On that same 1989 day the M5's transition point in both directions was shifted from 57th Street to 59th Street/CPS.
  7. On a 1976 Manhattan bus map, the B15 was listed as going over the 'Manny B'. This apparently alternated with B63 prior to the creation of B51.
  8. 'R' signified the Borough of Richmond, as which Staten Island was known until 1975. The whole bit was for buses to bear the initials of the boroughs on which they ran before the number. It wasn't until after the borough renaming that SI buses began bearing 'S' prefices. As well, the map on that link was poorly scanned and badly edited, leaving some to mistakenly assume the M12 ran alongside the B39 over the Williamsburg Bridge to Williamsburg Plaza. In fact, the text at the end of the Willy B - which clearly showed only B39 going over there, and to which B## buses to transfer - was cut off. But this map was issued after a series of route numbering changes in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx effective July 1, 1974, which saw over the years many route number duplications and, in a few cases, even triplications. By their new (as of 1974) numbering, I give the history: - M2 - the former Fifth and Seventh Avenues line of Fifth Avenue Coach - was known from 1966 to 1974 as (M)2A, owing (at the time of the 1966 one-way conversions of Fifth Avenue to southbound and Madison Avenue to northbound) to there being another Route 2 (Fourth and Madison Avenues) of New York City Omnibus, which traveled as far north as 146th (later 147th) Street and Lenox Avenue via 116th Street. At the time Fifth and Madison each became one way, MaBSTOA, for operational purposes, merged both lines into one singular route with two different branches (the Seventh Avenue to 168th Street, and the Lenox Avenue to 147th Street), structured a la the St. Nicholas and Convent branches of the M3, and the Avenue A and Avenue D branches of the M14. (The Lenox Avenue branch folded in 1969, its northernmost route path north of 116th and Lenox salvaged for a new branch of the M101 as will be detailed below.) - M26 (now M23) was once (M)15 of NYC Omnibus, duplicating the designation of NYCTA's First and Second Avenues line. - M27 (now M50) had been the M-3, duplicating the nomenclature of said Fifth-Convent and Fifth-St. Nicholas routes. - M28 (now M57) had been FACCo's (M)20, the numbering identical to ex-NYCO M20 116th Street Crosstown (today's M116). - M29 (now M66) was the M-7, which was a triplication case as of 1974: the ex-NYCO Broadway, Columbus and Lenox Avenues line, and Avenue B & East Broadway Transit's 110th Street-Wall Street express route that, upon the demise of AB&EB in 1980, was folded into MaBSTOA's own X23. - M30 (made superfluous upon the startup of M72 in 1989, and discontinued in 2010) was ex-FACCo (M)6, duplicative of ex-NYCO Broadway-7th-Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) route which was also discontinued in 2010 and its southernmost route incorporated into M5. - M31 had been M-1, which number was the same as the Fifth and Madison Avenues line whose ancestry goes back to the city's first streetcar route that launched in 1832, and had run under Madison Avenue Coach beginning in 1935 (then NYCO from 1951-56, and Fifth Avenue Coach Lines to 1962); the old FACCo Rt. 1 had been discontinued upon the 1962 TWU strike that led to the end of Fifth Avenue Coach Lines' and Surface Transit's control of the bulk of bus lines in Manhattan and the Bronx. (Knowing to some extent how MaBSTOA operated, I wonder if they'd clandestinely merged the FACCo Rt. 1 with NYCO's upon the Fifth and Madison one-way conversions [from what I'd heard about Fifth Avenue Coach Lines maneuvering to have MaBSTOA legally prohibited from resuming FACCo Rt. 1], but for operational purposes kept it 100% NYCO Rt. 1.) - M32 (now Q32) had been the FACCo Jackson Heights Rt. 15 - or, as shown on some runs after c. Jan. 1, 1973, QM15 . . . which unwittingly duplicated the designation of a Green Bus Lines express bus route that ran from Lindenwood, Queens, to Manhattan (and is today under MTA Bus aegis). - M34 and M35 - as well as Bx21 - had been the TB route started in 1936 by NYCO (and as such, was their only route not to have been a converted streetcar line or acquired from other companies). The M34 designation was ceased on March 21, 1976, upon which its route path would be combined with M35 (ironically, the Manhattan-Wards Island leg is the only one surviving today; the Manhattan-Astoria branch was discontinued on Sept. 10, 1995). Bx21 (which would be discontinued Feb. 18, 1984) was the second use of this route number, previously applied to a Pelham Bay Park bus that had been discontinued on Feb. 15, 1970 and combined with Bx22 - Country Club-Spencer Estates. - M102 (another recycled moniker, originally used for a very short-lived 125th Street crosstown route that only ran from June 29 to July 1, 1947) had been known as M-101A since this Lenox Avenue branch of the Third and Lexington Avenues line was inaugurated on March 2, 1969, replacing the Fifth-Madison-Lenox Rt. 2. Queens (the particular route in question) was also affected: - Q89 (discontinued 1988) had been the FACCo Elmhurst Crosstown Rt. 16, known beginning c. Jan. 1, 1973 as QM16 - no doubt to avoid duplicating the TA's Q16 - Clearview-Fort Totten route, but unwittingly duplicating another Green Bus express route designation, QM16 Rockaway Park-Manhattan (running today to Neponsit under MTA Bus). It should also be noted that the 106th Street branch of the M19 96th Street Crosstown was begun on Jan. 7, 1974, replacing the M107 106th Street Crosstown. That branch is today the M106, while the main line is M96.
  9. Way back before Manhattanville, the prior 132nd Street depot was OTS while 126 was MAN (signifying the TA's Manhattan Bus Division). This is probably outside the scope of this thread, but when Avenue B & East Broadway's M8 and M9 bus routes were acquired by the city in 1980, a) would they have been MaBSTOA or TA, and b) to which depot would they have been assigned? I saw on the list here, M9 was out of HUD, which would suggest MaBSTOA . . .
  10. Given photos around the web of MaBSTOA buses - both "batwing" and non-"batwing" - during the 1960's and '70's, and how the side signs were laid out, I have a few questions that some may or may not have an answer to: - On the "batwing" signs, what would have been the order of the routes from first to last (I would count "Special" and "No Passengers") - especially given the route duplications ("6 Bway-7th Ave of Americas"/"6 72 Street Crosstown," "15 Fifth Ave Jackson Hts"/"15 23 Street Crosstown" etc.)? - After the 1969 elimination of the "2" (Fifth/Madison/Lenox) upon the startup of the "101A" (Third/Lexington/Lenox), were any "batwing" signs made up with the new route, and if so, would it have looked something like this: . . . being as I haven't seen such a sign on batwings plying that route in the 1969-74 period . . . but apparently non-batwing signs had it (in smaller fonts, of course) . . . - This is more detailed: Besides the M10 (8th Avenue/Central Park West) route, there was another "10" - an upper Broadway (from 135th Street to Fort George) pull-in and pull-out route run by Fifth Avenue Coach since 1921 (so sporadic and unofficial, it wasn't on any bus maps or even dispatcher's maps) and carried over by MaBSTOA to at least 1973. Would anyone who has side rollsigns saved from 1974 Flxible 53102-6-1's built for MaBSTOA advise as to what route number, if any, the "M10 Broadway" would have been changed to at the point of the massive 1974 route renumberings that saw the (QM)15 (Jackson Heights) route become M32, M6 (72nd Street Crosstown) turning into M30, and so on?
  11. And here's an example. First the 1970 colors: Then with the light blue lightened, and the green darkened, from 1972: Which set can be easier told apart, I ask?
  12. The 3 and 8, from my recollections, by 1972, would have been PMS 311 (a lighter blue than the PMS 312 that was mandated in the 1970 Graphics Standards Manual - and that was later used for the JFK Express) - and the SS, PMS 355 (a bit darker than PMS 354 which was also cited by the same Manual). It made sense in terms of telling such routes apart in dim light, I figure (the color scheme of Broadway-East New York station of the A line was always delft blue, but it only seemed olive green because the light was so dim prior to the station getting fluorescent light around 1990). And I cross-checked the two 1972 maps (especially the second) with Pantone swatches I have from 1966 and 1973. The properties of the SS color matched 355 more than 354, likewise the color of the 3 and 8 had more in common with 311 than 312. So if they did use 312 and 354 in connection with the Vignelli coloring standards, it would have been for a short time. Wonder how A Division rollsigns with the routes and their colors for the right side front sign, laid out a la the 1969 rollsigns of the B Division lettered routes, would have looked like. Especially with Transign's in-house type (which they actually called Transign Standard) for the numerals, 'SS' and 'S'.
  13. For pre-printed maps - especially those who refer to the colors mandated in the 1970 NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual - it would appear that by the time the first Vignelli maps were published in 1972, two of the colors - turquoise and green - were modified along the way. The 1970 manual had these colors listed: - PMS 130 Yellow - PMS 165 Orange - PMS 185 Red - PMS 239 Magenta - PMS 300 Blue - PMS 312 Blue - PMS 354 Green - PMS Black . . . but by the time of the two 1972 Vignelli maps, and cross-checking against Pantone swatches of the era I have (1966 and 1973), the 3, 8, E and M would have been PMS 311 Blue (a shade under PMS 312), and the CC, GG, RR and SS PMS 355 Green (a bit darker than PMS 354). Here's why this may well be the case, besides my putting swatches next to the colors in question: - When the ultimately ill-fated JFK Express was launched in 1978, its turquoise blue was a shade darker than the 3, E and M - and per the 1980 Graphics Standards Manual, PMS 312 was designated for "The Train to the Plane." - When the route color formula was overhauled in 1979 (and first codified in 1980), PMS 355 - not 354 - was what was designated for use on the Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 lines. And the consistency of the green was matched in the 1972 maps with CC, GG, RR and SS. As well, there would appear to be an alternate color to PMS Black for the 5, B, QJ/J and LL lines: PMS 400 or 401 Gray. It would also have made sense to lighten the turquoise routes to PMS 311 and darken the green routes to PMS 355 - because there was little if no distinction between PMS 312 and PMS 354 in either dim light (a lot of outer-borough underground stations well into the 1980's), or among color-blind people. I would thus, for Vignelli "bullets," recommend PMS 311 for 3, 8, E and M, and PMS 355 for CC, GG, RR and SS. As for the 1980 color scheme, here they are: - N, QB, RR - PMS 130 - B, D, F - PMS 165 - 1, 2, 3 - PMS 185 - 7 - PMS Purple - A, AA, CC, E - PMS 300 - JFK Express - PMS 312 - 4, 5, 6 - PMS 355 - GG - PMS 376 - J, M - PMS 154 - LL, S - PMS 430 . . . with the 8th Avenue lines changed around 1987 to PMS 286, and the BMT Broadway lines to PMS 116 likewise.
  14. Although all the pics put on here in past years are now gone due to Photobucket's recent changes in policy, I can say for sure that there were numerous sub-variants of the 1960's multicolored-by-borough street signage - and in some cases, variants in the tints. Many areas below 23rd Street, and above 61st Street, had signs installed mostly after 1969, whose layout was different from those whose pre-printed layout (i.e. Avenue of the Americas, and the numbered avenues whose layout was shifted more to the right and had an 'AVE' suffix) dated to 1965-66. Besides the four color combinations . . . . . . there was also the white background with black letters used for 'FASHION AV' signs, from after a stretch of Seventh Avenue between 26th and 40th Streets was co-named in 1972.
  15. The Hunter Illuminated Car Sign Company (which I.I.N.M., made those rollsigns for the single R33's and R36WF's) did not have any name designation for the type they used, that I know of. However, Transign, which made rollsigns for subway cars beginning with the R32 / R32A order of 1964-65, called their type family "Transign Standard" (per a 1984 Transign manual). There were, from what I could see, five (or six) "widths" of that font - extended, expanded, regular, condensed and extra condensed - although if they got real small, the extended version was replaced with Venus Bold Extended (as seen on so many '8th's, for example, on 25" wide rollsigns mentioning the lettered routes). I am much fonder of Transign's font family than, say, Hunter's or Teleweld's or Trans-Lite's. A shame there hasn't been an attempt to replicate those typefaces digitally, the way there has with, say, Group W's typesetting as used for their TV and radio stations starting in 1963. (There is a computer-type version of the Standard Medium typeface used for years starting in the late 1960's with the Vignelli coloring scheme - it's called AG Old Face Bold.)
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