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Privately Operated Bus Service

History Of New York City's Private Bus Operators
The City of New York began subsidizing capital purchases for the private bus companies in 1974. In 1986, the Department of Transportation created a Surface Transit office to monitor the quality of franchised bus service and to manage the City, State and Federal subsidies. In 2002, the subsidies totaled $188,861,321 while fare revenue was $96,985,056. Below are brief histories of the companies that comprise the New York City Department of Transportation's bus system:

Green Bus Lines, Inc. (GBL) had its origins as an association of bus drivers who incorporated on April 3, 1925 to provide regular transit services in many areas of the five boroughs of New York City. Although many of the routes were feeder services to rapid transit terminals in outlying areas, there were also some Manhattan routes. In a deal consummated with the City of New York in 1936, GBL eliminated its Manhattan operation in exchange for new franchises in southeast Queens, thus establishing the core of today's GBL route network. In 1943, GBL acquired the Manhattan & Queens Bus Corp., which operated the Q60 Queens Boulevard route, thus providing GBL with a link into Manhattan via the Queensborough Bridge. Today, Green operates local and express service serving Queens and Manhattan with a fleet of 231 City-owned buses.

Salvatore Fornatora, who had been operating buses in Queens since 1919, incorporated the Triboro Coach Corporation (TCC) on April 10, 1931. The company served areas of Queens that were not well served by street railway or other bus lines, including the Woodside, Maspeth and Astoria. TCC received a 10-year franchise incorporating nine routes from the Board of Estimate on September 24, 1936. Ten years later, TCC found itself in financial difficulties and Mr. Fornatora sold the company to John Succa and William Cooper, owners of Green Bus Lines. Today, Triboro operates local and express service serving Queens and Manhattan with a fleet of 224 City-owned buses.

Jamaica Buses, Inc. is descended from the Long Island Electric Railway (LIERy), which was incorporated in 1894. This traction company, which operated routes in Nassau and Queens Counties, went bankrupt in 1926, and the segments of its routes in Nassau County were abandoned. The Queens segments, however, continued to operate, but under the Jamaica Central Railways, the company that emerged from the reorganization of the LIERy. Buses replaced the street railway service in 1933, which were then operated by a new company, Jamaica Buses, Inc. These are the local routes operated by this company today, which also operates one express route between Queens and Manhattan. The company currently has a fleet of 103 City-owned buses.

Command Bus Company, Inc. is the successor to the Pioneer Bus Corporation, which was formed from an amalgamation of three small school bus and charter service operators in 1954. Pioneer operated only school bus, charter, and racetrack service until 1960, when it secured a franchise for the B100 local route between Mill Basin and the Kings Highway station of the Brighton Line. Starting in 1972, Pioneer established several express bus services between outlying sections of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Pioneer was shut down by a long strike in 1979, which led to the termination of the company. Command Bus Company subsequently assumed Pioneer's routes. Today, Command operates local and express service serving Brooklyn and Manhattan with a fleet of 136 mostly City-owned buses.

New York Bus Service (NYBS) had its origins as a school bus operator under a different name in 1944. In 1949, New York Bus Tours (the present underlying corporate name) was established to operate racetrack service from the Bronx and upper Manhattan. After many years of operating school bus, racetrack, and charter service, NYBS inaugurated its first express service between the Bronx and Manhattan in 1970. Today, New York Bus Service operates six express routes between the Bronx and Manhattan with a fleet of 143 buses, most of which are City-owned.

Queens Surface Corporation is the successor to a long line of companies extending back to the inception of horsecar service in the Village of Astoria in the 1860s. In 1988, Queens Surface Corporation was formed to replace the Queens/Steinway Transit Corporation (Q/STC), which was established from the merger of the Queens Transit Corporation and the Steinway Transit Corporation in 1986. Q/STC was owned by the Salzberg interests, a scrap metal and short line railroad operator, since it acquired the old New York & Queens County Railway Company in 1932. This acquisition was made for the purpose of replacing the street railway operations with buses and selling the scrap steel. Although this was accomplished by the end of 1937, the Salzbergs retained control of the successor company, the Queens-Nassau Transit Lines, and its successor companies, until the Salzberg estate relinquished it in 1988. Today, Queens Surface operates local and express service serving Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan with a fleet of 305 City-owned buses.




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