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lilbluefoxie

Bus route number question

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I was wondering, how did they pick what routes would get what numbers? I know that some of em are done by street, such as the M14,23,34,42, etc. Nassau does it geographically with lower numbers to the west and higher numbers to the east, and the 90s as shuttles. Who decided that the B1 is the B1 instead of some other number?

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I was wondering, how did they pick what routes would get what numbers? I know that some of em are done by street, such as the M14,23,34,42, etc. Nassau does it geographically with lower numbers to the west and higher numbers to the east, and the 90s as shuttles. Who decided that the B1 is the B1 instead of some other number?

 

 

On SI, they do it by the area (S4x is North Shore, S5x is Cross-Island, S6x is Victory Blvd, S7x is South Shore, and S8x/S9x are limiteds)

 

In the other boroughs, I don't think there's really any pattern (except for Manhattan with the crosstown routes). I do notice a small patterns. For instance, the B1-10 tend to serve Southern Brooklyn, the B40-49 tend to serve Central Brooklyn (East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Canarsie, etc), and a few other little patterns.

 

I think it might have to do with the order in which the MTA (or the city back when it ran the transportation) took over the routes. (So the B1 might've been taken over before the B49), but I'm not sure.

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Queens Pattern

Q1-Q9: Buses originating from Jamaica to Southern Queens and/or Brooklyn

Q10-Q11: Buses originating from Queens Blvd to place south

Q12-Q17: Buses originating from Flushing to Areas west of the Van Wyck

Q18-Q19 : Buses originating from Astoria to points east of the BQE

Q20: Buses originating from Jamaica-College Point

Q21,Q23,Q25-Q28, Q34,Q40-41,Q47: Buses originating from Northern Queens or the Bronx to points south of Route 25.

Q24, Q54,Q55, Q56,Q58,Q59: Buses from Queens to Brooklyn from points East of 86 street

Q29,Q33, Q49: Buses from Jackson Heights to points west of Junction Blvd.

Q50-Q53,Q58LTD: Limited stop bus service

Q60,Q64,Q66-88 Buses heading west to Eastern Queens: Connector Routes from or along Route 25

Q100-Q104: Buses originating from points in Northwestern Queens to intermediate points

Q110-Q113: Buses originating in Jamaica Going to subway routes or the LIRR as "feeder routes"

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Queens Pattern

Q1-Q9: Buses originating from Jamaica to Southern Queens and/or Brooklyn

Q10-Q11: Buses originating from Queens Blvd to place south

Q12-Q17: Buses originating from Flushing to Areas west of the Van Wyck

Q18-Q19 : Buses originating from Astoria to points east of the BQE

Q20: Buses originating from Jamaica-College Point

Q21,Q23,Q25-Q28, Q34,Q40-41,Q47: Buses originating from Northern Queens or the Bronx to points south of Route 25.

Q24, Q54,Q55, Q56,Q58,Q59: Buses from Queens to Brooklyn from points East of 86 street

Q29,Q33, Q49: Buses from Jackson Heights to points west of Junction Blvd.

Q50-Q53,Q58LTD: Limited stop bus service

Q60,Q64,Q66-88 Buses heading west to Eastern Queens: Connector Routes from or along Route 25

Q100-Q104: Buses originating from points in Northwestern Queens to intermediate points

Q110-Q113: Buses originating in Jamaica Going to subway routes or the LIRR as "feeder routes"

 

Why is the Q30 the Q30?
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lol..... Q23 is reaching hard w/ that little list, not to mention there's a few routes missing on it....

[off top, the Q32, Q48, Q76, Q22, Q35]

 

Checkmate is right....

Just face it, SI is the only borough w/ a real borough-wide pattern as far as route enumeration is concerned.....

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lol..... Q23 is reaching hard w/ that little list, not to mention there's a few routes missing on it....

[off top, the Q32, Q48, Q76, Q22, Q35]

 

Checkmate is right....

Just face it, SI is the only borough w/ a real borough-wide pattern as far as route enumeration is concerned.....

 

 

I know SI is the only route with a boroughwide pattern.

Q22/Q35 are clerly rockaway routes, Q48 is a feeder, and Q32 is a feeder

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Q30/Q31: Service from Jamaica to points north of the Long Island Expressway

 

Interesting. Although the Q30 is really just along the LIE, not really north of it.

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I know SI is the only route with a boroughwide pattern.

 

 

I'm sure you do..... Even going as far as to attempt a borough-wide list for Queens.....

 

Interesting. Although the Q30 is really just along the LIE, not really north of it.

 

 

lol.....

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There was no plan to the bus numbering, just as there was no plan to the routes. They just evolved over time. Every one thinks there must have been some sort of a plan. Even the borough prefixes is relatively new starting in the1960s. (Staten Island was originally R for Richmond before it ws changed from Richmond County to Staten Island County. By that logic the Bronx should have been B and Brooklyn K. But that wasn't even consistant.) Express routes originally had the borough prefix and an X suffix and were later given an X prefix. B27x, B28x and B29x were chosen because those local numbers were vacant. (The old local 27 and 29 were combined as the 27/29, then renumbered as the 30.) Private Companies used the boroughs being connected as the prefixes. MTA Bus never even renumbered routes to use one convention since they are now all MTA.

 

Routes numbers were originally assigned by the Bureau of Franchises, I believe. The trolleys came before the buses and they just had names. Then numbers were assigned but not used (like when the BMT and IRT had numbered subway routes) or displayed on the trolleys. They were mainly for guidebooks like geographia (the red book) and maps so they could distinguish between the different lines. I remember reading that Church Avenue had 2 numbers, the 8 and the 13. One started from McDonald and Cortelyou and the other from First Avenue. The Cortelyou branch may have been extended to Coney Island in the summer. (The trolleys had flex routing all over with three or four routes using the same tracks sometimes.)

 

In Brooklyn, there were no east-west trolleys in the southern half since it was sparsely populated. The first buses were called the 1a, 1b, and 1c routes. and began operation in the following order: (1a) From Sheepshead Bay Station via Sheepshead Bay Road, Emmons and West End to Oriental Blvd and Oxford Street. the (1c) route from Ocean Parkway and Avenue Z via Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue to Coyle St. and the (1b) from Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue to Oxford St via Oriental Blvd.

 

The 2 went from Flatbush and U to where the Marine Parkway Bridge would begin. The 3a went from 25th Av and Av U to Flatbush Ave. The 3b from the Ave U Brighton Station to Gerritsen Beach. The 4 from its current terminal in Bay Ridge to 25th and 86th St. The 5 from Bay Parkway and 86th Street via Kings Highway to Ryder St. The 6 from same start point as 5 but along Bay Parkway to 60th via current B9 route to E 16 Street. (Signs said Dorman Square.) The 7 pretty much same as today. The 8 from Bay 7th only to Nostrand Av subway. The 9 from Bay Ridge Av and Shore Rd to Bay Parkway and 60th St. The 10 from Bay Pkway and 60th Street via current B6 route but up Bedford to Newkirk to Nostrand. The 11 from 1 Av and 49th Street to 18th Ave. The 12 similar to current route but used NY Av and Winthrop instead of Clarkson and minor changes to today's route to Atlantic and ENY Ave. The 13 as it was before it was extended to Gateway and combined with 18. The 14 from Utica to Linwood Street without the loop down to Dumont.

 

The 15 over the Manhattan Bridge which originally was a cable car I believe. (Yes we had a few of them. Another ran along Montague St.) The 16 from Shore Rd and 86 St via current route to Woodruff and Ocean Av. The 17 both ways on Utica and Remsen to Seaview. Old 18 via Wyckoff and Cypress. Old 19 from LIRR Terminal to the Navy Yard. The 20 similar to today.

 

The 21 was the first revision to the original Brooklyn bus routes. The 10 was split in half. The 21 went from 60th St and Bay Parkway via the current B6 route to Utica Avenue and later to Ralph, then Rockaway Parkway. The 8 was extended from Nostrand to Kings Highway and Avenue D. Later extended around Brooklyn Terminal Market, then rerouted to Brookdale Hospital. The 9 was extended from Bay Parkway to replace the eastern end of the 6 and the 6 was combined with the 21 and kept the 6 designation. The 9 was later extended to Flatbush, then summers to Riis Park, then cut back to Kings Plaza. The 11 was extended in 1978 from 18th Ave to Rockaway Parkway and later cutback to Flatbush.

 

My friend tells me that before WW 2, the BMT wanted to extend the B11 to meet with the B6 at Ocean Parkway; to extend the B23 to Brooklyn Avenue to meet with the B8 and extend the southern end to Bay Ridge Avenue and 13th Avenue to meet with the old B1. You see they were so mmuch more progressive than the NYCTA. Too bad those changes were never done. except for the B11 which I wanted to extend to Coney Island Avenue similar to the BMT's idea which I didn't know at the time. (It was extended to Rockway Parkway instead.)

 

When they started cnverting trolleys to buses, they didn't want to use the same numbers twice since 1 - 20 were used for both. So they renamed 1- 20 from the trolleys to be higher than 20 so Church Avenue was renumbered from 8 and 13 to 35 for example. Since 10 was no longer a bus route the 10 New Lots trolley was able to keep its number and was later changed to 15 when it was extended to JFK because the old 15 over the Manhattan Bridge had already been discontinued.

 

They also decided to drop the suffixes since only the 1 and 3 had them. So the 1A was extended to Ocean Parkway and Avenue Z and later to 86 Street and 25 Avenue.. The 1B and 1 C were combined along Ocean Parkway around 1946 to become the 21 since that number was not used anymore. The 3B became the 31 which was the next number available. It was rerouted in the 1990s to Kings Highway.

 

Other changes: the 2 was extended to Brighton Station in 1936, then later split in two routes at Avenue U. The southern portion became the 32. Not sure if the 33 and 34 were orginal numbers or renumbered from lower numbers since they were originally trolleys. 33 was Hamilton Avenue and 34 was old B1 before 1978 west of 25th Avenue. The 3 was extended to Avenue N and Utica. and the 82 ran from Flatbush to Bergen Beach via Ave U and was called the Bergen Beach route. It was later added to the 3. The 84 was added to the 6.

 

My friend tells me there were route consolidations in 1932 and extensions in 1936. Then routes were cut back for WW2 and re-extended after the war. So you see the system was much more flexible back then.

 

Staten Island bus numbers were renumbered in the 1980s so that's why there is some sense to them. There also was some Bronx renumbering in the 1980s. A lot of numbers were used more than once. The only convention was to pick the lowest vacant number in use around the geographic area where the new bus route was to be located. That's why they picked 82 when they combined the 5 and the 50 because it operated near the 83 and the old 82 no longer operated. (The original 50 was the McDonald Av trolley. 43 was the Holy Cross Shuttle. 47 was used to combine the 40 and 78 because the next route over is the 46 and since the old 47 was combined with the 62 to form the 43. Then 62 was reused when the 61 was split.)

 

At some point in time, routes that had not yet been taken over by the City and were still privately operated were given numbers starting at 100. There were numbers over 100 for privately operated routes in all boroughs. In Staten Island they were eliminated in the 1980s since the private companies no longer existed by then. I remember when Forest Avenue was 107.

 

In Manhattan they never bothered renumbering the former private routes so there was a gap from 16 to 99, then numbers over 100. Also, some numbers were duplicated and in one case triplicated. In addition to regular numbers 1 through 15, some routes used an M prefix. A few routes used the name Route in their title in guidebooks so you had Route 15, which operated along Chambers Street. The 15 along the Queensboro Bridge and the M15 along 1 Av. 1n 1974, they decided to get rid of the duplication and numerically filled in numbers in order above 20. Route 15 became the 22 and the 15 became the 31.. The 34 Street route became the 16. 42 Street was left 106 since it wasn't duplicated. etc.

 

I wrote a letter to the NY Times in 1974 which they printed, telling them how stupid they were that they could have renumbered the crosstown routes to match the street numbers instead of doing it arbitrarily the way they did it arbitrarily filling in blank numbers over 15. I also suggested they do the avenues 1 through 12. The First Avenue Bus would have been the M1 and it would have returned on 2nd Avenue as the M2. Fifth Avenue buses could have been the 5A 5B 5C and 5D instead of 1, 2, 3 and 4. Third Avenue would be M3 intead of keeping the old private company nomenclature of numbers over 100.

 

In 1984, when they got a new head of Operations Planning, Howard Benn, I interviewed with him to get back into Operations Planning. I told him the bus numbering idea I thought of 10 years earlier. He pretty much told me it was a dumb idea. I didn't get the job and three weeks later he stole my idea without any acknowledgement or thank you and renumbered all the Manhattan Crosstown routes between 23 and 96 according to the street number. The 14th Street route was the only one that matched the street prior to 1974 with the 14A and 14D routes. He didn't take the part about the avenues and I still think it would work since the highest avenue is 12 and the lowest street number 14. There is no duplication.

 

(There are other Brooklyn numbers I didn't cover. There was a 66 on Court Street, a 72 in Downtown Brooklyn, which was reused on Junction Blvd as the B72 also. 80 and 81 for the World's Fair which probably was used before for something else. Also the 85 Army Base shuttle which I think only operated for about 6 months. 73 was in Coney Island. I never knew what the 79 was. There also used to be a 36 Sea Gate shuttle and a 77 shuttle along the southern end of Columbia St.)

 

Bottom line. Don't give the MTA credit for logic especially in Manhattan since they stole that idea from me and didn't think of it by themselves.

Edited by BrooklynBus
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He didn't take the part about the avenues and I still think it would work since the highest avenue is 12 and the lowest street number 14. There is no duplication.

 

 

The M8 runs along 8th Street.

 

Personally, I think it would be kind of confusing to do it that way, because you'd be waiting for one bus on one street, and another bus on another street, even if you're going along the same corridor (it's easier to remember one route than it is to remember that the bus up First is the bus down Second but with a different number). Aside from that, Lexington Avenue is more like 3.5 Avenue, and Madison Avenue is more like 4.5 Avenue (but I guess you could number them as 3 & 5 respectively, since 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue have numbers)

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The M8 runs along 8th Street.

 

Personally, I think it would be kind of confusing to do it that way, because you'd be waiting for one bus on one street, and another bus on another street, even if you're going along the same corridor (it's easier to remember one route than it is to remember that the bus up First is the bus down Second but with a different number). Aside from that, Lexington Avenue is more like 3.5 Avenue, and Madison Avenue is more like 4.5 Avenue (but I guess you could number them as 3 & 5 respectively, since 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue have numbers)

 

 

I forgot what I proposed for the M8, but it could have been renumbered to something else like 13. It would have been the only exception and the M1 and M2 would have been the only one direction routes. I don't think it would have been confusing at all, certainly no more confusing than having an M15 and an M15 SBS and they would have gotten rid of the numbers over 100,

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Why is the Q30 the Q30?

 

Short answer:

Because the "Q30" number was available in 1989 when the former Q17A was renumbered.

 

Long answer:

Once upon a year, the Q17A actually was a branch of the Q17. Both used Homelawn Street and Utopia Parkway from Hillside to the L.I.E., where one turned west and the other turned east. (By that logic, what we know as Q31 should have been called Q17B, but it wasn't.) Meanwhile, a separate route - the original Q30! - ran from Jamaica to 188th Street & 64th Avenue in Fresh Meadows. Some time during the 1940's or 1950's (I think), the Q17 was rerouted to 188th to absorb the Q30. For some reason, the Q17A wasn't renumbered at that time, even though it was no longer related to the Q17.

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I forgot what I proposed for the M8, but it could have been renumbered to something else like 13. It would have been the only exception and the M1 and M2 would have been the only one direction routes. I don't think it would have been confusing at all, certainly no more confusing than having an M15 and an M15 SBS and they would have gotten rid of the numbers over 100,

 

 

I don't understand, if you had a bus numbered to each avenue wouldn't you have had the M1, M2, M5, M6, M7, M8, M9, and M10 all running in one direction? Or would the numbers have only been like that for routes that already existed?

Edited by MHV9218

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It would not work for all the routes. The only one direction routes would be 1st and Second avenues, and Ninth and Tenth Avenues. Third / Lex would be M3, Fifth / Mad would be 5A 5B 5C and 5D, 10 and 20 could be 8N and 8S, 7 could stay 7, 5 could be 5E, M11 would be M9 and M10. The 5 could be the 5 R for Riverside.

 

It's not perfect but better than what we have now. There would be an expense to change the signage however.

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