Fifth Avenue Coach Company

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The Fifth Avenue Coach Company was a bus operator in Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Westchester County, New York, providing public transit between 1896 and 1954 after which services were taken over by the New York City Omnibus Corporation. In 1922, prompted by the Queensboro Corporation, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company launched a direct service of double-decker coaches to Jackson Heights. Fifth Avenue Coach ran the line between Jackson Heights and Manhattan.


A single-deck Fifth Avenue Coach bus operated in the late 1950s, running here in special holiday service in November 2009.

The company was founded in 1896 when it succeeded the bankrupt Fifth Avenue Transportation Company.[1] It initially operated existing horse-and-omnibus transit along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, with a route running from 89th Street to Bleecker Street. Fifth Avenue is the only avenue in Manhattan never to see streetcar service due to the opposition of residents to the installation of railway track for streetcars.[2][3] The company introduced electric buses two years later[2] and was acquired by the newly formed New York Transportation Company in 1899.[1]

They introduced a fleet of 15 of their own motorbuses in 1907 that operated along Fifth Avenue and on some crosstown routes.[2][4] The company became independent of the New York Transportation Company in 1912.[1]

In 1925, the year that they came under control of The Omnibus Corporation, the company purchased a majority share in the New York Railways Corporation.[5]

When the New York Railways Corporation started converting streetcar lines to buses in 1935–36, the new replacement bus services were operated by the New York City Omnibus Corporation,[6] which had been formed in 1926 and had shared management with The Omnibus Corporation.[7] New York Railways Corporation was dissolved in 1936.

The New York and Harlem Railroad trolleys were replaced by Madison Avenue Coach Company buses, and the Eighth and Ninth Avenue Railway trolleys by Eighth Avenue Coach Company buses, both companies owned by Fifth Avenue Coach.[8][9] (Fourth and Madison Avenues; 86th Street Crosstown was not replaced with buses).

In 1954 The Omnibus Corporation sold the Fifth Avenue Coach Company to the New York City Omnibus Corporation[10] which changed its name to Fifth Avenue Coach Lines two years later. After a strike in 1962, and a fight for control with financier Harry Weinberg, bus operations were taken over by the city.[11]


The routes that were operated by the Fifth Avenue Coach Company are listed below.

Route Terminal A Major streets of travel Terminal B
1 Washington Square Park Fifth Avenue Harlem
5 Avenue/138 Street
2 Madison Square Fifth Avenue
Seventh Avenue
(today's Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard)
Edgecombe Avenue
Washington Heights
Broadway/167 Street
3 Washington Square Park Fifth Avenue
St. Nicholas Avenue or Convent Avenue
(within Hamilton Heights)
St. Nicholas Avenue
(within Washington Heights)
Washington Heights
St. Nicholas Avenue/193 Street
4 New York Penn Station Fifth Avenue
Central Park North/Cathedral Parkway
Riverside Drive
Fort Washington Avenue
The Cloisters
5/19 Washington Square Park Fifth Avenue
West 57 Street
Riverside Drive
(through the Upper West Side)
Broadway (5 through Hamilton Heights)
Riverside Drive (19 through Hamilton Heights)
Washington Heights
Broadway/167 Street
6 Upper West Side
West 72 Street
Central Park West
West 57 Street
Fifth Avenue
East 72 Street
East 72 Street/York Avenue
9 Washington Square Park Fifth Avenue
West 57 Street
Upper West Side
West 72 Street
Central Park West
15 Madison Square Fifth Avenue
Queensboro Bridge
Queens Boulevard
Roosevelt Avenue


16 Jackson Heights
Northern Boulevard/81 Street
81/82 Streets
Baxter Avenue
Broadway and Queens Boulevard
20 Clinton
12 Avenue/West 55 Street
57 Street Crosstown Sutton Place
Sutton Place and East 59 Street

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 " - Fifth Avenue Coach". Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "GSAPP Historic Preservation Studio 2005-2006". Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  3. "Guide to the Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection, 1895-1962 - Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection". New York Historical Society. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  4. "MTA - New York Transit Museum - Education". Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  5. "COACH LINE READY TO RIP UP CAR TRACKS IN A WIDE BUS PLAN; Fifth Av. Company Promises Quick Start if the city Approves Project.". The New York Times. 24 May 1926. 
  6. Securities and Exchange Commission. 1945. p. 238. The New York Omnibus Corporation, successor to the New York Railways Corporation commenced the operation of bus route in 1936. In all but one year since then it has been profitable 
  7. "Gas-Electric Motorbus Co., Roland Gas-Electric Vehicle Co., New York Motor Bus Co....". New York City Omnibus Corp. was formed in 1926 with Ritchie president) 
  8. "5 Bus Franchises are Under Inquiry". New York Times. 4 January 1934. p. 1. 
  9. "Buses to Run Soon on 8th and 9th Avs.". New York Times. 5 October 1935. p. 17. 
  10. "Guide to the Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection 1895-1962". New York History Society. In 1954, after acquiring the Hertz car rental business, the Omnibus Corporation sold the assets of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company to the New York City Omnibus Corporation, which was renamed Fifth Avenue Coach Lines in 1956. 
  11. Bernard W. Stern (1986). "Part III: The Weinberg Era". Rutledge Unionism: Labor Relations in the Honolulu Transit Industry. University of Hawai'i, Center for Labor Education & Research. 

External links[edit]

Template:NYC surface transit