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JV Editorial

Letters to the Editor



Annual Bus Festival Brings Back Memories

Dear Editor:

The NYC Transit Museum 26th Annual Bus Festival showing off a fleet of vintage buses was a great trip down memory lane. Up until 1969, bus drivers had to make change and drive, at the same time. No one dared bring any food on the bus or leave any litter behind. In the mid 1960’s, air-conditioned buses were just becoming a more common part of the fleet. You had to pay separate fares to ride either the bus or subway. There was no Metro Cards affording free transfers between bus and subway along with discounted weekly or monthly fares. Employee transit checks to help cover the costs didn’t exist.

This older generation of buses did not include air conditioning we take for granted today. They were non-existent during the 1964-65 New York Worlds Fair. Air conditioned buses were still a novelty. In 1966, NYC Transit purchased 600 buses with this new feature. Subsequently, all future new buses would include air conditioning. By the 1990’s, 100% of the bus fleet was air conditioned.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of NYC Transit bus drivers no longer having to use a coin collector to make change for riders. August 31st, 1969 was the first day that bus riders either had to deposit a subway token or the exact amount in coins directly into the fare box. Drivers would no longer be required to make change. They could concentrate of driving instead of multi-tasking. It became the passenger’s responsibility to deposit the exact fare in cash or subway token directly into the fare box when boarding the bus.

All the driver had to do was look through the upper portion of the fare box and make sure that the fare was paid. Previously, drivers had to deal with potential robbery while in service due to carrying cash. Safety increased for drivers, passengers, and buses. There were fewer traffic accidents involving buses. Bus operators spent more time concentrating on driving and less making change for riders. On‐time performance improved as passenger boarding time sped up.

Drivers no longer had to deal with money when returning to the bus garage. Other transit employees known as “Vault pullers” would unlock the bottom of the farebox and empty the contents. Coins and subway token revenue would be sorted, counted and wrapped within the safe confines of a secure money room within the garage.

Fast forward to today, and you can see how MTA public transportation is still one of the best bargains in town.


Larry Penner

(Larry Penner is a transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus, NYC DOT, New Jersey Transit along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)

Judge Greg Lasak for Queens DA

Dear Editor:

How often do you see both the New York Daily News and New York Post agree and endorse the same candidate? If they both agree, Judge Greg Lasak must be the best qualified of all the candidates running for Queens District Attorney. He is the voice of reason and common sense. All the other candidates in the race are pandering to the most liberally politically correct. They all support closing Rikers Island, eliminating cash bail, protecting illegal alien rights over citizens, who are already here, shutting down ICE and reopening old cases.

They are more concerned about those who commit crime rather than the victims such as murdered Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano. Their collective extreme views are too far to the left for most more moderate Queens residents. The worse comment was made by State Assembly member Rory Lanceman who said “if Donald Trump was President when my Iranian born wife came to America, she would have been put in a cage.” Truer words could not have been spoken when Judge Lasak told several rivals that you need to “do your homework” first.


Larry Penner

Broadway Under the Stars

Dear Editor:

Just wanted your readers to know that Tony Award nominee, Ethan Slater, will return to the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on Thursday, July 11 at 8 p.m. for a rooftop concert featuring his original music. Performed with a band of musical collaborators, the music is informed by Slater’s influences, including Simon and Garfunkel, LCD Soundsystem, Broadway, and more. The unique concert is a chance to see your favorite Broadway star in a new and intimate way. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door and can be purchased online or by calling 646.505.5708.

Slater previously appeared at the JCC for a high-profile reading of “Significant Other” featuring a who’s who cast of Broadway sensations.

Most recently, actor/writer Slater starred as SpongeBob in “SpongeBob SquarePants on Broadway,” directed by Tina Landau, for which he won multiple honors, including Drama Desk, Critic’s Circle, and TheaterWorld awards and earned a Tony nomination. As a writer, he has a number of pieces in development, including the film, “Write Me In,” and the musical, “Edge of the World.” His work has been seen in Washington, D.C. at 1st Stage, the Kennedy Center, the Capital Fringe Festival, and at Vassar College. Slater lives in Brooklyn.


Allison Rosen

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