If you're a lover of the city's surface transportation history or just looking to take a ride back in time, come on over to 42nd Street starting this Monday as the MTA continues its holiday tradition of placing into service units from its historic bus fleet.
"Putting these buses back out on the street at this time of year is a great way to highlight the history of bus transportation in New York City," said Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus/SVP of MTA Bus. "I began my career here as a bus operator and when you ride these buses it's easy to see how far we have come in the areas of delivering service to our customers and improving conditions for the men and women who operate and maintain today's vehicles."
This season's vintage fleet ranges from 1949 to 1968 and represents models that served New Yorkers from 1949 through 1984. A Mack bus will hit the road as well as a 1956 General Motors bus that, if it could talk, would boast of being the first air-conditioned bus to operate in New York City. Staten Islanders will get a special treat riding one of the first Staten Island express buses. A nice bus for the day, but it's a far cry from our modern MCI and Prevost coaches in terms of comfort and efficiency.
All of these vintage buses will operate along the M42 (42nd Street Crosstown) Monday through Friday, departing from 42nd Street and 12th Avenue at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and again in the afternoon at 2:30 p.m. The fare is $2.25 in cash or swipe a MetroCard, just like our more modern, but far less interesting buses.
Aside from the in-service buses, a static display will be on view between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at 6th Avenue and 35th Street and 14th Street at Union Square. Buses will be parked at these locations for the viewing and picture-taking pleasure of New Yorkers who rode them and New Yorkers too young to remember them.
It is important to note that the vintage service depends on equipment availability and weather conditions. Hey, you don't run as fast as you used to. Would you really want us to bring these beauties out in the rain or snow?