The Fifth Avenue Coach Company was an operator of buses, primarily in the borough of Manhattan, but with some operations in the Bronx and Queens in New York City. It began under the name Fifth Avenue Transportation Company (Ltd.) in 1885, with the intent of providing service on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, using horse-drawn omnibuses to avoid the laying of tracks on the avenue. In 1896 it was reincorporated as the Fifth Avenue Coach Company, still using horse-drawn omnibuses. The initial route ran from Washington Square to 90th Street, but additional operations followed. In 1900 the company attempted to introduce battery-powered buses, but the experiment was unsuccessful and horse drawn vehicles were restored until 1907, although beginning with 1905 motorized buses were experimentally used. Vehicles were double-decked and imitated the design of horse buses used in London. In 1907 motor buses were introduced, with engines made in France and chassis in England. This made Fifth Avenue the only motorized bus operator in New York City until 1916.

In 1898 the company was bought by the Third Avenue Railway Company, and one year later it became a subsidiary of the New York Transportation Company, but regained its independence in 1912. In 1924 it was taken over by the Omnibus Corporation, which was founded by John Hertz who had started a taxicab company in Chicago, Illinois. The Omnibus Corporation also controlled bus operations in Chicago under the name Chicago Motor Coach Company. In 1954, the Omnibus Corporation sold the assets of Fifth Avenue Coach Co. to the New York City Omnibus Corporation, which renamed itself in 1956 to Fifth Avenue Coach Lines to take advantage of the well-known Fifth Avenue Coach name.

In 1924 the company took over from Concourse Bus Lines the operation of two bus routes on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The Surface Transportation Corporation of New York, a subsidiary of the Third Avenue Railway System founded in 1924, however, took over those routes in 1928 from Fifth Avenue.

The company took advantage of its run on Fifth Avenue, a high-class thoroughfare, to run open-top double-deck buses, and charge a premium fare (ten cents when most transit operators charged five).

Routes operatedEdit

Original Number Current Number Route Name Notes
1M1Fifth Avenue
2M2Fifth Av.-110th-Seventh Av.
3M3 Fifth Av.-110th-St. Nicholas
M18Fifth Av.-110th-Convent Av.
4M4 Fifth Av.-110th-Riverside Dr.
5M5 Fifth Av.-57th-Riverside Dr.
6M30 72d St.-57th St. Crosstown
8M5Fifth Av.-57th-Riverside Dr.
12 (?)Bx1Concourse-138th St.Originally operated by Concourse Bus
operated by Fifth Avenue from 1924-1928
Transferred to Surface Transportation in 1928
14 (?)Bx2Concourse-HubOriginally operated by Concourse Bus
operated by Fifth Avenue from 1924-1928
Transferred to Surface Transportation in 1928
15Q32 Fifth Av.-Queensoriginally changed to M32 by NYCTA
16 Elmhurst Crosstownabandoned
20M5757th St. Crosstown

External linkEdit

History of Fifth Avenue Coach, emphasizing its in-house bus-building

Defunct New York City Transit Operators
Steam railroads later converted to rapid transit systems Brooklyn and Brighton Beach RailroadBrooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Rail RoadBrooklyn, Bath and Coney Island RailroadBrooklyn, Bath and West End RailroadBrooklyn, Flatbush and Coney Island RailwayConey Island Elevated RailwayGreenwood and Coney Island RailroadMarine RailwayNew York and Coney Island RailroadNew York and Manhattan Beach RailwayNew York and Sea Beach RailroadNew York and Sea Beach RailwayNew York, Brooklyn and Manhattan Beach RailroadProspect Park and Coney Island RailroadSea Beach RailwaySea View Railroad
Rapid transit systems Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit CorporationBrooklyn Rapid Transit CompanyBrooklyn Union Elevated RailroadInterborough Rapid Transit CompanyKings County Elevated Railway
Streetcar systems

Avenue C Railroad CompanyBelt Line RailwayBleecker Street and Fulton Ferry RailroadBroadway and Seventh Avenue RailroadBroadway Surface RailroadBroadway Railway CompanyBrooklyn and North River RailroadBrooklyn & Queens Transit CorporationBrooklyn Central and Jamaica RailroadBrooklyn City Rail RoadBrooklyn Crosstown RailroadBrooklyn, Queens County and Suburban RailroadBush Terminal RailroadBushwick RailroadCalvary Cemetery, Greenpoint and Brooklyn RailroadCentral Crosstown Railroad CompanyCentral Park, North and East River RailroadChambers Street and Grand Street Ferry RailroadChristopher and Tenth Street Railroad CompanyColumbus and Ninth Avenue RailroadConey Island and Brooklyn Rail RoadConey Island, Fort Hamilton and Brooklyn RailroadDry Dock, East Broadway and Battery RailroadEighth Avenue Railroad CompanyFlushing and College Point Electric RailwayFort George and Eleventh Avenue RailroadForty-Second Street and Grand Street Ferry Railroad CompanyFourth Avenue Street RailwayFulton Street RailroadGrand Street and Newtown Rail RoadGreenpoint and Lorimer Street RailroadHouston, West Street and Pavonia Ferry RailroadInterurban Street RailwayJamaica Central Railways CompanyKings County Electric RailwayLexington Avenue and Pavonia Ferry RailroadLong Island City and Calvary Cemetery RailroadLong Island City and Maspeth RailroadLong Island City and Newtown RailwayLong Island Electric RailwayManhattan and Queens Traction CompanyManhattan Bridge Three Cent LineMarine RailwayMaspeth Avenue and Toll Bridge CompanyMaspeth Railroad and Bridge CompanyMetropolitan Crosstown Railway Metropolitan Street RailroadMetropolitan Street RailwayNassau Electric RailroadNewtown RailwayNew York City Department of Plant and StructuresNew Williamsburgh and Flatbush RailroadNew York and Harlem Railroad CompanyNew York and North Shore Traction CompanyNew York and Queens County Railway CompanyNew York and Queens Transit CorporationNew York City Railway CompanyNew York Railways CompanyNinth Avenue Railroad CompanyPark Avenue RailroadPort Richmond & Prohibition Park Electric RailroadQueensboro Bridge Railway CompanyRichmond County RailroadRichmond Light & Railroad CompanyRichmond RailwaysRikers Avenue and Sanford Point RailroadSecond Avenue RailroadSixth Avenue Railroad CompanySouth Brooklyn Street RailroadSouth Ferry Railroad CompanyStaten Island Electric RailroadStaten Island Midland RailroadStaten Island Midland RailwayStaten Island Traction CompanySteinway and Hunters Point RailroadSteinway Railway CorporationThird Avenue RailroadThird Avenue RailwayThird Avenue Transit CorporationThirty-fourth Street Crosstown RailwayTwenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Streets Crosstown RailroadTwenty-Third Street Railroad CompanyUnion Railroad (Brooklyn)Union Railway Company of New York CityVan Brunt Street and Erie Basin Rail Road

Bus systems Affiliated Bus Transit CorporationArgus Line Transportation CorporationAvenue B & East Broadway Transit CompanyB&L TransportationBilow Bus LineBrooklyn Bus CorporationCommand Bus CompanyComprehensive Omnibus CorporationConcourse Bus LinesCourier Bus CompanyEastern Parkway, Brownsville and East New York Transit Relief AssociationEast Side Omnibus CorporationFifth Avenue Coach CompanyFifth Avenue Coach Lines, IncorporatedFlushing Heights Bus CompanyGeneral Omnibus CorporationGreater Cities Bus LinesGreen Bus LinesHamilton Bus CompanyIndependent BusesIsle Transportation Co.Jamaica Bus LineJamaica BusesKings Coach CompanyLiberty Bus TransportationLiberty Lines ExpressLong Island Coach CompanyMadison Avenue Coach Company, IncorporatedManhattan & Queens Bus CorporationMidland Coach Corporation‎Municipal Motorbus CompanyNational City Bus LinesNew York Bus ServiceNew York City Department of Plant and StructuresNew York City Omnibus CorporationNorth Shore Bus CompanyPioneer Bus CompanyPlum Beach Auto StageQueens Auto TractionQueens Bus CorporationQueens Bus LinesQueens-Nassau Transit LinesQueens Surface CorporationQueens Transit CorporationRauchwerger Bus CompanyRichmond Hill Bus LineRuoff BrothersS&C BusesS&F TransportationStaten Island Coach CompanySteinway Omnibus CorporationSteinway Transit CorporationSurface Transit, IncorporatedSurface Transportation Corporation of New YorkTompkins Bus CompanyTriangle Bus CompanyTriboro Coach CorporationWoodside-Astoria Transportation CompanyZ&M Coach Company

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