Beautifully engraved certificate from the Brooklyn and Queens Transit Corporation
no later than 1940. This historic document was printed by the Quayle & Son Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman with her hand on a globe and an allegorical man holding a hammer. This item has the printed signatures of the company’s president and secretary and is
over 61 years old.
In 1898 the five boroughs were administratively united as the City of New York. At that time the Brooklyn Bridge was the only physical connection between Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan. In the above view of the Brooklyn Bridge we see (center) a train of cable railway cars heading toward Manhattan. The trackage joining at the right is for electric powered elevated trains.
Although MTA New York City Transit is in charge of all subway service and most bus service in New York City today, rapid transit routes and surface lines were originally managed by private companies. Local public transportation debuted for America in 1827 when Abraham Brower began operating a twelve seat stage-coach along Broadway from the Battery to Bleecker Street. The city's first elevated railway was operated in regular service on February 14, 1870. The El ran along Greenwich Street and Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. On September 24, 1883 a Brooklyn Bridge cable powered railway was opened between Park Row, New York City and Sands Street in the City of Brooklyn.
New York City's first official subway system opened in Manhattan on October 27, 1904.
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) operated the 9.1-mile long subway line which consisted of 28 stations from City Hall to 145th Street and Broadway. IRT service was extended to the Bronx in 1905, to Brooklyn in 1908 and to Queens in 1915. The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company (BRT), began subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan in 1915. The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT) took over BRT operations a few years later.
Private companies also operated the city's earliest motor buses. On July 13, 1907, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company began passenger service between Washington Square and 90th Street with gasoline-powered buses and open-top double-deckers.
In 1932, the city's Board of Transportation completed construction of the Eighth Avenue line and created the Independent Rapid Transit Railroad (IND), the first city-run subway service. When the city purchased the BMT and IRT in 1940, it became the sole owner and operator of all New York City subway and elevated lines. In addition to bus and trolley routes formerly run by the BMT, the city acquired three other bus companies in the late 1940's which had served Queens and Staten Island.
In 1940, the City of New York acquired all of the assets of the Brooklyn and Queens Transit Corporation.
On June 15, 1953, the New York State Legislature created the New York City Transit Authority (now MTA New York City Transit) as a separate public corporation to manage and operate all city-owned bus, trolley and subway routes.
June 15, 1953 The New York City Transit Authority establishes its headquarters at 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn.
July 25, 1953 Tokens debut in the subway.
October 30, 1954 A track connection opens between Brooklyn's Church Avenue and Ditmas Avenue stations. This establishes single-route service (on the D) from the Bronx at 205th Street to Brooklyn's Coney Island.
May 12, 1955 The Third Avenue "El," the last elevated line in Manhattan, closes.
December 1, 1955 A track connection opens between the 60th Street tunnel and the Queens Boulevard line, linking former BMT and IND lines in Long Island City, Queens.
June 28, 1956 Subway service to Rockaway Park and Wavecrest in Queens begins.
October 31, 1956 New York City Transit's last two full-length trolley lines (along Brooklyn's McDonald Avenue and Church Avenue) are discontinued.
January 16, 1958 Subway service is extended to Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue in Queens.
March 19, 1962 The New York State Legislature forms the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA), a non-civil-service subsidiary of New York City Transit, to take over bus service for the bankrupt Fifth Avenue Coach routes.
November 26, 1967 The Christie Street connection opens, enabling BMT lines that cross the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges to stop at Broadway-Lafayette (an IND station). The Grand Street station also opens to serve trains using the Manhattan Bridge (B D and Q routes).
March 1, 1968 The New York State Legislature creates the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee transportation operations in 12 counties. The MTA becomes New York City Transit's parent agency.
July 1, 1971 After the city purchases the Staten Island subsidiary of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority (now called Staten Island Railway) is created to operate New York City Transit-managed rail service on Staten Island.
July 1, 1976 The Transit Exhibit (now called the New York Transit Museum) opens in the former Court Street shuttle station in Downtown Brooklyn.
Jan. 1, 1982 To rescue the nation's largest public-transit system from years of
undercapitalization and deferred maintenance, New York City Transit launches the first of its five-year Capital Improvement programs.
December 11, 1988 The Archer Avenue line opens, consisting of three stations and linking the Jamaica (J) and Queens Boulevard (E) lines in Queens. Six southeast Queens bus routes are rerouted to serve the city's first modern intermodal (bus-rail) transfer facility at the new Jamaica Center (Parsons-Archer) station.
May 12, 1989 New York City Transit succeeds in its five-year goal of establishing graffiti-free bus and subway fleets as the last graffiti-covered train is taken out of service.
October 29, 1989 Service begins to the 63rd Street Extension's three new stations: Lexington Avenue, Roosevelt Island (Manhattan) and 21st Street ( Long Island City ).
October 30, 1992 The installation of Automated Fare Collection (AFC) turnstiles begins.
December 5, 1993 New York City Transit introduces Request-a-Stop on Staten Island buses for safety and convenience (customers can get off along a route between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.). The program grows to include every New York City Transit bus route in the five boroughs.
January 6, 1994 Automated Fare Collection (AFC) turnstiles go on-line at the Wall Street (4 5) and Whitehall Street (N R) stations.
September 22, 1994 Construction begins on the 63rd St. tunnel connector, which will link the 63rd St. line to the Queens Blvd. line in Long Island City, Queens.
March 8, 1995 New York City Transit's bus fleet becomes 100% accessible to customers with disabilities.
April 2, 1995 The New York City and Transit Police Departments merge.
September 28, 1995 New York City Transit buses in Staten Island start accepting MetroCard. MetroCard is accepted on all New York City Transit buses by year's end.
November 12, 1995 Subway and local bus fare becomes $1.50. A "Five Borough," token replaces the "bulls-eye" design.
January 7, 1996 The largest blizzard in almost 50 years dumps 20 inches of snow on New York City. Underground sections of subway routes continue service.
July 2, 1996 The Transit Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary.
September 19, 1996 Two reconditioned buses begin touring the city to promote and sell MetroCard. MetroCard buses help senior citizens and people with disabilities get Reduced Fare MetroCards, travelling to community centers, shopping centers and other neighborhood locations.
May 14, 1997 The entire New York City Transit bus and subway system accepts MetroCard, as the last AFC turnstiles go on-line.
July 4, 1997 MetroCard Gold debuts, allowing customers to transfer free bus to subway, subway to bus, and bus to bus.
January 1, 1998 A new MetroCard offer lets customers get 11 rides for the price of 10.
July 4, 1998 First sales day for Unlimited-Ride 7-day and 30-day MetroCards, which let customers take as many trips as they want for a fixed price.
September 1, 1998 First hybrid-electric buses enter service.
October 12, 1998 Lenox Avenue Invert completed. The $82 million project rebuilds the flooded invert (floor) of the Lenox Ave (2 and 3) line between 110 and 116 Sts and restores the 116 St. station. Work finishes in less than eight months.
January 1, 1999 Fun Pass introduced. This unlimited-use, One-day MetroCard is priced at $4.
January 25, 1999 MetroCard Vending Machines (MVM) debut in two subway stations. By the end of the year, 347 MVMs are in service in 74 stations.
June 7th, 1999 A Compressed-Natural-Gas (CNG) fueling station opens at the Jackie Gleason Depot to fuel CNG buses. The new station can fuel a bus seven times faster than the station it replaced.
October 18th, 1999 The Franklin Avenue Shuttle re-opens after a $74 million rehabilitation, three months ahead of schedule. The 15-month major reconstruction of the 113 year-old, 1.4-mile line rebuilt the Franklin Avenue and Park Place stations virtually from scratch and restored the Prospect Park and Botanical Gardens stations. Other improvements include: new roadbed, track signals, bridges, installation of an elevator and escalator, a new passageway to the A and C lines at the Franklin Avenue station, P.A. systems, and closed-circuit TV equipment.