Last time we looked at some GM (later GMC) New Look “Fishbowl” buses from the New York City Transit Authority and the Toronto Transit Commission. This time around we are going to look at some random ones from the East Coast. I don’t know the exact year and model numbers of all of these, so think of these more as a look at liveries. There will be several more of these posts since there are a lot I have drawn up and want to draw up. The hard part is finding good references. We start back in New York with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority which serves the greater Buffalo and Niagara Falls area.
The Capital District Transportation Authority, logically serves the area around Albany, New York.
This is from the Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority from Long Island. It later became MTA Long Island Bus and is currently a privatized operation called Nassau Inter-County Express.
The New York Bus Service was a private operator of buses that provided express service as a franchisee to the City of New York. It was taken over by the MTA in 2005.
Command Bus was another private operator franchisee to the city providing local and express service. It was also taken over by the MTA in 2005.
The Commission de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal (CTCUM) was one of the predecessor agencies to the current Société de transport de Montréal. This is the late 1960s-early 1970s livery.
The Commission de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal (STCUM) was the previous agency before the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) was created when there was governmental consolidation on the island of Montréal in 2002. This livery was used from the mid-1970s onward.
D.C. Transit was one of the private bus operators in the Washington D.C. area that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) took over in 1973.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provides transit service to the Washington D.C. area. They operated fishbowls until 2000.
The Maryland Mass Transit Administration, now the Maryland Transit Administration, is a state agency that provides bus service to the Baltimore-Washington area. It took over from the private Baltimore Transit Company in 1970. This livery was used in the 1970s-1980s.
I love the little detail of wjz TV station on the last bus. Marty Bass comes to mind (when will that guy ever retire?)
Or Bob Turk for that matter. ;o)
You’ve made it in the local TV news business when you have your face on the side of a bus.
Nice to see the MTA represented here. I grew up here in Baltimore and remember the New Look buses fondly. That blue and green cheat line reminded me of the many airplane liveries from the era.
Now our busses have the whole “Maryland Pride” thing going on that became all the rage a few years back about the time that the Terps changed their uniforms to look like our state flag. Now you see it everywhere, including on the side of the MTA Busses.
Even our license plates are not immune from this treatment…
More on topic…
Similar MD color scheme on the new Route 1 Ride buses in Prince George’s county that replaced TheBus route 17. There’s also the University of Maryland Shuttle-UM around here, which used awesome wood-paneled Mercedes minibuses when I was a student there.
Because nothing says American Pride like wearing the livery of an hereditary aristocrat.
I grew up in Maryland, near D.C., and have no recollection of D.C. Transit but do remember the oldest Metrobus buses in use (1970s) still having the light-green and silver livery. I forgot about that iced-over looking “air conditioned” lettering; it was under the fishbowl windshields too. The newer buses starting around 1974 had the red, white, and blue livery (the U.S. bicentennial was around the corner, I remember around that time *everything* seemed to be red, white, and blue). Or maybe they were older buses that were repainted. No indication of A/C anymore since it was expected by then. GM fishbowls were the most common, but there were also some of the Flxibles that looked like the GM buses but with flatter front and rear windows, and AM General (then owned by AMC, same logo even) buses that had much taller, straighter side windows than the other two. The Flxible and AM buses all had the new red/white/blue livery. I don’t remember ever seeing old-look buses in use.
I rode on all three. Metrobus tried to upgrade their image by outfitting the AM General buses with plush cloth seats and carpeting on the walls, floors, and even ceiling, but all of that proved impossible to keep clean and wound up looking nauseatingly grungy. It was later ripped out and replaced with plain old linoleum and vinyl. The other thing I remember about the AM General buses was that they rattled and squeaked way more than the other two brands.
Some GM RTS buses joined the fleet late in the decade and they looked incredibly futuristic to me; I was a bit disappointed that the inside didn’t look as ultramodern as the exterior set me up for. These must not have been too reliable because they didn’t stick around long.
In Northern Virginia, we had AB&W (Arlington Baltimore Washington, I think) GM buses until Metrobus took over. They were also the school buses (smoking section in the rear) for grades 7-12 in Alexandria.
After the suburban metrorail stations opened, bus service declined so badly, the city of Alexandria started their own (moneypit) line with smaller vehicles that were usually nearly empty. In ’79-80, I could get a metrobus 100 yds from our door that went directly to the Pentagon metro station. Four years later, my brother could watch the bus go by, walk a half mile to Shirley Highway (I-395), and catch the same bus to the Pentagon.
They were incredibly loud at street level when accelerating.
Thanks for the memories of DC Transit. I loved that color scheme, there’s something about the green, turquoise and orange that evoked Howard Johnson’s to me. And who – from that time – didn’t like HoJos?
Likewise, for anyone growing up in DC and riding the buses during the DC summers like I did, that frost-dripping-“Air Conditioned” logo was no small matter. Unfortunately, often the logo promised more cooling than the buses actually provided.
You’re right…HoJos. I knew it reminded me of something familiar.
After we first moved to Towson in 1965, HoJo’s was our regular Sunday dinner locale. How many tons of all-you-can-eat clam strips did I put away in that year or two?
Apparently not enough, since there are still Ipswich clams-a-plenty.
Although, we now go to Woodman’s actually in Ipswich for them. They did, after all, “invent” the fried clam.
And who – from that time – didn’t like HoJos?
We didn’t, and we ate out a lot in different parts of the country, but as the youngest I don’t know why. Hot Shoppes was our preferred slow food in NoVa. McD’s was avoided, too, probably because of the required pickles and mustard.
I’ve long hated medium blue and orange in buildings (hope Lowes and Home Depot don’t merge), although my bedroom in the 70’s was dark orange and purple with palest blue walls.
I like this series of illustrations. They remind me of the vehicle illustrations found in the Athearn Model Train web site.
I remember when the livery shown in your first image was introduced on the buses serving Buffalo in the early 70’s. The Niagara Frontier Transit Authority NFTA replaced the privately run Niagara Frontier Transit System (NFT). The NFT’s colors were red and beige anthe new authority wanted a new image, thus the yellow and black. These colors were placed on all the existing GM new look bused from the previous system. Soon hundreds of AM General buses were bought followed by the GM RTS buses
The Baltimore MTA and DC Transits are quite familiar to me. I spent more time on the pre-MTA buses, which were a two-tone green and a white upper body, IIRC.
I rather liked the DC Transit livery.
Thanks for this series; it’s a fun trip back in time.
I enjoy seeing the various liveries and colors on these vehicles. They remind me of also colorful (but more creative) liveries used on then contemporary airliners (including that Eastern 727-200 ad on one bus). The aviation schemes are all now seemingly retired for the white euro look; I don’t know about bus livery now but I bet it is quite boring too.
The text is interesting because it indicates how frequently what had been private bus companies were (or had to be) absorbed into public operations. This reinforces my belief that public ground transit is a hopelessly unprofitable enterprise in the USA that can only be provided by unaccountable governments needlessly spending tax revenue.
While not part of a livery my favorite component to bus advertising graphics is the perforated see through window film. The first time I saw it years ago I stopped in my tracks. How the he’ll can anyone see outside I thought. Eventually I was able to get a close-up view and see the perforations. Absolutely ingenious idea.