Weekday M42 Customers Can Catch a Ride and Travel Back in Time

Bus No. 9098. Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin

Fancy a ride to the 1950s and ‘60s? A swipe of the MetroCard during the holiday season can help longtime customers remember (or newer customers see for the first time) what it felt like to ride an MTA New York City Transit bus half a century ago.

From December 5 to 21, NYC Transit rolls into the holiday spirit with its annual tradition of vintage rides by running a fleet of historic coaches from river to river along 42nd Street in Manhattan. The buses make stops on the M42 route between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, offering a variety of rides through the decades.

The fleet is comprised of buses that were in use from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, providing a time capsule for customers who may be more accustomed to the MTA’s modern fleet of low-floor, climate-controlled vehicles. The vintage fleet is available only if weather permits; they will not be in service during rainy, snowy or icy weather.

“Customers who come out for a ride on one of our vintage buses can see for themselves how far our fleet has come and see how our bus designs have evolved over time. Our buses from the 1950s, for example, were the first to have some amenities that customers may recognize, such as push type rear exit doors and fluorescent lighting, or comforts they might take for granted, such as air conditioning and air-ride suspension for smoother rides like the ones we still provide,” said Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of NYC Transit Department of Buses. “Our next generation of buses builds on that legacy of improvement, with high-tech amenities such as digital screens and USB charging ports.”

The vintage bus fleet represented the forefront of surface transit design at the time of their manufacture, and the vehicles were built by two major firms that no longer produce buses: General Motors and Mack. Some highlights of the fleet include Bus No. 2969, a GM model TDH 5101 designed in 1949 that is known as the Jackie Gleason bus for its resemblance to the one driven by Gleason’s character, Ralph Kramden, in the television show “The Honeymooners.” Another vintage GM bus, No. 9098, is a model TDH 5106 that longtime New York residents may remember for its distinct two-tone green color scheme and its fiberglass seats, a change from earlier buses with cushioned seating that were prone to vandalism.

For more information, visit http://web.mta.info/metrocard/promos/RideVintage/RideVintageSubwayBus2016.htm.

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