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Queens Chronicle

Bus and rail, then and now

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

“Transit strike shut down the city” (I Have Often Walked by Ron Marzlock, Jan. 10) was worth the fare.

Many have long since forgotten that up until the late 1960s, it was common to find both penny gum and 10-cent soda machines dispensing products at many subway stations. It was a time people respected authority and law. That generation of riders did not litter subway stations and buses with gum, candy wrappers, paper cups, bottles and newspapers. No one would openly eat pizza, chicken or other messy foods while riding a bus or subway.

Until the early 1960s, most subway stations had clean, safe working bathrooms with toilet paper. Revenues generated from a 10-cent fee helped cover the costs.

“MTA restores buses to five Queens routes” (Jan. 10, multiple editions) also brought back good memories.

Most people have forgotten whenthe recently restored Little Neck ParkwayQ36 bus began. The original Little Neck Parkway bus servicebegan on June 4, 1950. The newly created New York City Transit Authority in 1953 assumed operations. Growing up in the neighborhood during the1960s and early 1970s, I remember the line was known back then as the Q12A.

It was a time when 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. 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 were no MetroCards affording free transfers between bus and subway, no discounted weekly or monthly fares, no employee transit checks.

On April 12, 1990 the Q12A was renamed the Q79, probably to avoid confusion with the Little Neck-to-Flushing Q12 route.

Thirty months ago on Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 6:23 p.m., right on time, my wife and I boarded the Q79 bus departing Little Neck for its last run to Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park. This past Monday morning, I was able to board the first bus leaving the Little Neck Long Island Rail Road station at 6:41 a.m. The Q36 had resumed weekday service on the old Q79 Little Neck Parkway bus route.

MTA public transportation is still one of the best bargains in town.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

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