Damaged on 9/11, NYC Transit Bus a Restored Phoenix of Red, White and Blue

MTA New York City Transit express coach 2185 is a living tribute to 9/11 responders and the MTA's determination to rebuild in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Photo of MTA New York City Transit express coach 2185

The 1998 MCI express coach was one of several buses caught up that morning on the streets of Lower Manhattan. While most buses were quickly returned to service after the attacks, a small number were total losses. But then there was coach 2185, a Brooklyn express coach assigned to Ulmer Park Depot. The roof was damaged by falling debris and the exterior was coated with a thick layer of dust and ash, but the coach remained structurally sound. The interior, however, was filled with ash and debris, the wiring was damaged and a small fire scorched the rear driver's side.

Unable to move under its own power, the bus was towed to the Zerega Maintenance facility in the Bronx, where the damage was assessed. Aside from rewiring, the transmission and roof were repaired and the bus underwent a thorough cleaning inside and out. Damaged windows were replaced and at that point nearly everything was complete.

The last piece of work that would have to be completed before the bus could be returned to service was the paint job. It was decided early on that it should be something that allowed the coach to stand out, both in the depot and on the street.

It was determined the employees should have a say in the new design and through a collaborative effort, a 9/11 tribute based on the American flag was developed and applied to coach 2185.

The coach, still assigned to the Ulmer Park Depot, ferries customers to Manhattan and home again each day and with its distinctive red, white and blue paint job is truly a phoenix raised from the ashes of Ground Zero.