From Ferry to Tottenville: Staten Island Bus Lines (Past and Present)

STATEN ISLAND, NY – All Staten Island bus lines initially took the prefix “R” for the borough of Richmond. The “R” was replaced by “S” when the borough was officially named Staten Island in 1975. Around 1989, the road numbers were changed. here is a list of original bus numbers with the new numbers as well.

Islanders line up on South and Forest avenues in Mariners Harbor to take a ride with the private bus company Domenico, which did good business during the 1980 strike. (Forward from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The largest streetcar or streetcar companies on Staten Island were the Richmond Light & Railroad Co. and the Staten Island Midland Railway, which operated a few routes.

The history of Staten Island buses

In 1980, few motorists seem to know they can use the ferry bus ramps to unload passengers. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

Staten Island Midland Railway was suspended in the 1920s, and streetcar lines were later managed by the New York City Department of Plant and Structures, which also launched a few trolleybus lines, starting in 1921.

The history of Staten Island buses

Here’s a 1952 front view of a Jersey Street # 5 bus. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

In 1925, the Tompkins Bus Co. came and got a franchise to operate gasoline buses on Staten Island. Buses replaced tram and trolleybus lines, and new bus lines were created serving former unserved areas.

The history of Staten Island buses

The S103 bus picked up passengers on Hylan Boulevard in 1984. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

In 1927, the Richmond Light & Railroad Co. was renamed Richmond Railways. In 1933, a subsidiary of Richmond Railways Staten Island Coach Co. began operating buses, replacing the Richmond Railways streetcar lines. The two separate bus systems continued to operate until 1937, when the Staten Island Coach Co. began operating Tompkins Bus Co. routes. Old Tompkins Bus Co. routes were given new route numbers in the 100s.

The history of Staten Island buses

A busy St. George bus stop on Bay Street is shown, as buses line up in 1966. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

The Staten Island Coach Co. went bankrupt in 1946. The Isle Transportation Co., a business organized by employees of Staten Island Coach Co., began operating buses on Staten Island. However, the Isle Transportation Co. went bankrupt in 1947 and the city resumed buses on February 23 of the same year. This was the first bus service operated by the city, other than the Williamsburg Bridge line.

The history of Staten Island buses

In February 2021, an MTA bus on Richmond Avenue passed after snow fell on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance / Joseph Ostapiuk)Staten Island Advance

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) now operates the bus lines on Staten Island.

The St. George Ferry Terminal is where there are connections to the Staten Island Ferry, local trains, and many Staten Island bus lines.

The history of Staten Island buses

This 1984 photo shows an articulated bus in Staten Island. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

In May 2017, there was a MTA study fact called “Reimagining Express Buses” which found that “the express bus network has evolved through piecemeal changes over several decades” and suggested that “to make substantial improvements, a comprehensive review of the network in it was needed as a whole, focusing on corridors rather than specific routes.

Around this time, we saw dedicated bus lanes appear all over Staten Island.

The history of Staten Island buses

The MTA launched its line of vintage GM buses for vacation nostalgia in December 2010. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

I love the look of the old, rounded buses from the 1930s. Over the years, the design of the buses has become simpler. The use of buses on Staten Island has been a constant since the end of the trolleys.

The history of Staten Island buses

In a 1951 photo, a woman checks the bus listings at the ferry terminal. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A Staten Island Transit Authority bus looks more like a Staten Island ferry as it crisscrosses the waves on Hylan Boulevard near Delaware Avenue, Dongan Hills, in 1980. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

This undated photo shows the Port Richmond bus garage on Castleton and Jewett avenues. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A bus loaded with gifts leaves the bus depot on its way to Staten Island North Teaching Hospital to deliver gifts to pediatric units as part of the 40th annual Kids Against Cancer, Inc. toy drive on December 19 2019. (Staten Island Advance / Alexandra Salmieri)

Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A bus descends Hylan Boulevard in the snow on December 17, 2020 (Staten Island Advance / Rebeka Humbrecht)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A bus driver on Forest Avenue allows a passenger to enter through the front door on August 21, 2020 (Staten Island Advance / Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Passengers in this 1981 photo appear unfazed by the descent of Memory Lane as they ride the S61, NYCTA # 1059, a 1961 GM Model 5301 bus that originally operated from 1961 to 1981 (Staten Island Advance )Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Deirdre Litland, an MTA bus operator from Annadale, has been selected as one of this year’s Staten Island Advance Women of Achievement for her work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Staten Island Advance / Erik Bascome) Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

During the pandemic, a man boards an express bus after waiting 45 minutes for SIM3. (Staten Island Advance / Annalize Knudson) Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

New York buses appear to have been diverted to Front Street after traveling along Bay Street in Stapleton in July 2020 (Staten Island Advance / Jan Somma-Hammel)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

People sit and stand on the S79 eastbound bus in Grasmere on June 22, 2020, which marked the start of Phase 2 during the pandemic in New York City, (Staten Island Advance / Jan Somma -Hammel) Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Although vintage buses operated here from 1961 to 1981, some still operated until the mid-1990s. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Taking a closer look at one of the new buses in 1969 from a commuter’s perspective, Borough President Robert Connor; William Reuschle, Deputy Superintendent General of the Surface Division of the Transit Authority, and William Mangus, President of the Island Bus Drivers Union. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A routine check of the engine and transit fuel took place in 1964 at the West Brighton Bus Garage. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Two men mop a bus before it goes into a washing machine in 1964 (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

Commuters board a bus in the snow at Victory Boulevard and Highland Avenue in 1970 (Staten Island Advance / Tony Carannante)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

In 1964, a bus left the ferry terminal ominously as the snowfall intensified. (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

In 1964, passenger buses entered an automatic car wash. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

The first bus in 11 days rolls out of the Castleton Avenue garage shortly after midnight, and the 1980 strike is over! (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

In this undated photo, a bus stops on Victory Boulevard near Bay Street in Tompkinsville. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A bus to Manhattan left New Dorp in 1965 (Staten Island Advance)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

A bus was stranded on Howard Avenue near Campus Road in 1967, unable to climb the hill. (Advance from Staten Island)Staten Island Advance

The history of Staten Island buses

An example of a Tompkins Bus Company bus hit the road in 1933. (Staten Island Advance)

The history of Staten Island buses

An era in island transit came to an end in 1937, when these Tompkins Bus Company vehicles, stored in a coal yard in Grasmere, went on sale after the company ceased to operate its roads of the island. (Advance from Staten Island)

The history of Staten Island buses

A 1963 street scene in Tompkinsville shows traffic on Victory Boulevard before a dedicated bus lane was created on the street. (Advance from Staten Island)

The history of Staten Island buses

A 1972 photo shows Arthur Kill Road at Ridgewood Avenue in Eltingville, where there are no sidewalks for bus riders waiting for the bus. (Advance from Staten Island)

The history of Staten Island buses

In 1966, islanders bound for Manhattan, faced with the loss of public transportation, boarded a Domenico bus on Hylan Boulevard and Clove Road, Grasmere. (Advance from Staten Island)

The history of Staten Island buses

A public transport bus is shown in 1970. (Staten Island Advance)

The history of Staten Island buses

City buses were repaired in a bus barn in 1953. (Staten Island Advance)

The history of Staten Island buses

In 1965, G. Thomas DiDomenico, owner of the Compagnie Domenico Bus in Bayonne, stood in front of one of his buses. (Advance from Staten Island)


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