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Page 10 - Special Issue Tickets & Passes; JFK Express, Sports, Culture, Shoppers, Night on the Town, Night Coach, Nostalgia Special (Museum Train)
The Catalog of Transit Fiscal Ephemera & Exonumia from the City of the New York
featuring the collections of George S. Cuhaj & Philip M. Goldstein

Page 10


Rapid TransitSurface Transit
regular "everyday" service:IND Rockaway Line Refund TicketJFK ExpressCulture Bus Loops I, II, III, SIShoppers Bus
A Night On The TownNight Coach
special occasion:Block TicketsGeneral Order Transfers
Sports Specials
NY Titans Football @ Polo Grounds
Aqueduct Racetrack Special
Nostalgia Special
Rockaway Special - Playland Ticket
Miscellaneous Passes



   There were many instances in which the New York City Transit Authority issued tickets for special occasions; some were issued for a "one off" event while others were issued daily in regular service. 

   Some of these special occasions were sporting events, and some of these occasions were to garner more revenue during weekdays or late nights. As most of the passenger traffic was during morning or evening rush hours on weekdays, a lot of transit equipment sat idle during the off hour periods. 

   Obviously, this equipment cost money to purchase, as was the employees hired to operate the equipment; so having either sit idle was not financially sensible.

   So, the NYCTA operated "specials".

IND Rockaway Line Refund Ticket

issued 1956 to 1975

   The IND Division Rockaway Beach Line was unique to the single fare rule on rapid transit lines for regular service.

   This line was purchased for $8,500,000 from the Long Island Railroad after several fires of the wood trestle over Jamaica Bay took place; the last of which was so severe the LIRR was content to abandon the line. The NYCTA completely rebuilt the route with fill and concrete trestles and connected to the IND Subway at Howard Beach Station
at a cost of $57,000,000.

   As proposed originally on February 16, 1956, it was supposed to be a 40 cent fare each way. 15 cents for the regular subway, and an additional 25 cents to be collected at Broad Channel. There was such sufficient outrage at this, considering it would cost 80 cents round trip for Rockaway residents, of which at the time a good portion of Rockaway was lower income; was in no doubt justified.

   So, after public hearings on the matter and local politicians getting involved; on March 30, 1956 the NYCTA relented to a degree and reduced the proposed fare to 30 cents each way. 
The line then opened June 28, 1956.

   Passengers using this route, which at one time or another saw use by the
  lines, were charged a double fare south of the Howard Beach Station. The manner of collecting this extra fare entailed the following:

Northbound from the Rockaways: passengers entering along the line from any of the stations south of Howard Beach Station; required the deposit of two tokens into the turnstile upon entering the station.

   For those already on board a southbound train
from other parts of the system, an additional token was payable upon exit at stations south of Howard Beach Station.

   For those passengers traveling only within the double-fare zone (between the Rockaways and Howard Beach Station) would request a special "refund ticket" from the token clerk, entitling them to a refund upon exiting the system, either in cash or a token from the token clerk at their station of destination. This ticket can be seen at right.

   Needless to say, there was still outrage over the double fare, and a lawsuit filed, but on June 15, 1956; Supreme Court (New York) Justice Schwartzwald found in favor of the NYCTA, adding that the LIRR fare
to the Rockaways (when the line was owned and operated by them) was higher than the fare being charged by the NYCTA. Fortunately, this quelled most dissent.

This double fare remained quite unpopular, and in 1972, the matter was revisited following another lawsuit. The NYCTA conducted a study that showed due to the increased population now residing in the Rockaways, lowering the fare to regular amount would not incur any undue loss of revenue.

   But, it would not be abolished until September 1, 1975; which coincided with a system-wide fare increase, as well as an increase in tolls on the Cross Bay Bridge and Marine Parkway Bridges.
(oddly, the back is printed
 upside down to the front.
It is shown here with corrected orientation. Also note the front carries a 6-1-56 date, while the back has 8-72



JFK Express
September 19, 1978 through April 15, 1990

   The most widely known of these special tickets was for the JFK Express. This service was heavily advertised on broadcast television and radio and the slogan, which a lot of people remember to this day was "Take the Train To The Plane".

   This special but scheduled service was assigned its own "bullet" on the roll signs on the subway and bus equipment:

   This was an express train that operated from Manhattan, stopping at selected stations in Manhattan and through Queens to provide service to John F. Kennedy Airport. The stops for this train are listed at right.

   Baggage racks were installed in those subway cars assigned to the route. During operation, New York City Transit Police assigned a patrolman to each train for security of the passengers as well as baggage.

   Usually, the trains were comprised of a three car set of R-46 types (the newest in the system) and equipped with air conditioning. These three car sets were later expanded to four cars. As the JFK Express train was significantly shorter than the standard eight or ten car trains in regular IND subway service, specially marked areas on the subway platform showed passengers of the JFK Express where the train would stop.

   Service was every 20-24 minutes, departing from 57th Street and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas), and then once the 21st Street / Queensbridge Station opened, from 5am to Midnight.

   Service from Howard Beach / JFK Airport began at 6am and operated through 1 am.

   The JFK Express was an extra fare service, meaning the fare was in addition to the regular transit fare (which at that time when service was inaugurated, was 50 cents).

   In reality, this was actually the "train to the bus to the plane", as there was two express bus loops that picked up passengers at the JFK Airport / Howard Beach station to take them to or from their desired terminal. 


 Queens - IND 63rd Street Line
 21st Street / Queensbridge
 (for only 7 months: from October 29, 1989 to April 15, 1990 / cessation of JFK Express service)

 Manhattan - IND Sixth Avenue Line
 57th Street / Avenue of the Americas; 
 47-50th Street & Avenue of the Americas / Rockefeller Center;
 42nd Street
/ Avenue of the Americas; 
 34th Street / Herald Square / Avenue of the Americas; 
 West 4th Street / Avenue of the Americas; 
 Chambers Street / World Trade Center
 Broadway / Nassau

 Brooklyn - IND Fulton Street Line
 Jay Street Fulton Street / Borough Hall

 Queens - IND Rockaway Avenue Line
 Howard Beach / JFK Airport / 159th Avenue

 Shuttle Bus to Airport

   One of the perqs of the premium service and as a courtesy on trains originating at JFK Airport and heading towards the city, the passenger could request a stop at an intermediate station along the route. Such as, if the passenger wanted to disembark at Ralph Avenue, they told the transit clerk aboard the train who would relay the request to the motorman, to stop at that requested station. This would alleviate the need for the passenger and their luggage to have to go to a regular station of the JFK Express and either wait for a second "local" subway train or backtrack to their desired stop.

Four Person Train Crew

   While normal subway service operated with a two person crew: a motorman to operate the train and a conductor to open and close the doors and make announcements; the JFK Express operated with an additional two persons: a revenue clerk and transit police officer. 

   As conductors are not bonded to handle money (or authorized by union contract), and as NYCTA revenue clerks are, therefore it was necessary to place a revenue clerk aboard each JFK Express train. Along with this was the extra security of a police officer to both guard the passengers luggage as well as guard the extra funds carried by the revenue clerk.

The Tickets

   There is a lot of misunderstanding by the layman about these ticket issues. It is widely assumed each denomination represented a rise in fare. But in reality, this is not the case.

   If one examines the tickets carefully, you will notice that some of the tickets are marked for trips to JFK airport, yet others are marked from JFK Airport. Other than the obvious reason of noting direction of travel, it was unknown why this would need to be specified, as when the ticket is punched it cannot be used again. But in-depth research reflected only six fare raises took place over the usage history of the JFK Express tickets, yet there are many more denominations of tickets observed.

   It was then postulated there was a slight fare difference incurred in one direction as opposed to another.
A little more thought and research was put into this, and upon locating an article published in the September 28, 1978 issue of the  "Leader Observer"; (a local newspaper published for Queens residents) explained this to be exactly the case.

Why a Fare Difference?

When we subtract the prevailing rate of subway fare (for that particular date of usage), we will encounter the lower amount of the two fare tickets that are marked TO and  FROM airport. The "TO" ticket was always cheaper than the "FROM" ticket; because in going to the JFK Airport via the JFK Express, one has to buy a token to first enter the subway system.

To the Airport: token plus fare

   To reiterate, for passengers going to the airport: the regular subway fare was 50 cents. The passenger pays at the token booth, gets a token and goes through the turnstile to the platform. The JFK Express train pulls in, the passenger boards and pays the on-board train clerk the $3.00 JFK Express premium fare. Therefore, they are issued a $3.00 ticket. Upon arrival at the Howard Beach / JFK Airport Station, they disembarked and then boarded the JFK Airport Loop Bus.

   In the opposite direction (from Howard Beach / JFK Station to Brooklyn or Manhattan), passengers paid a premium fare of $3.50 to the on-board train clerk, with this amount covering the base subway entry fare of 50 cents and the $3.00 premium fare for the JFK Express.

   Since the JFK Express was originally a three car train, (later expanded to four cars) it was significantly shorter than the standard eight or ten car subway trains. Special markings on the platforms told passengers where to stand, so they would not have to run to the spot where the train stopped from another area.

   Once the JFK Express train stopped, not all doors on all cars opened. The conductor would only open one set of doors to control egress. Once aboard, passengers would purchase their
premium fare JFK Express tickets from the on-board train clerk. 

   Upon arrival at the Howard Beach / JFK Airport station; the JFK Express train stopped at the extreme south end of the southbound platform, and
passengers disembarked from the train. They then walked a little way to an elevated pedestrian overpass, walked over to the northbound platform, then walked a few hundred feet north, up the platform to a ticket booth. Here passengers showed their premium fare ticket to a clerk in the booth. The fare for the JFK Express train included Loop Bus Service. However, for those passengers arriving to this location by regular subway, they would need to purchase a Loop Bus ticket.

   From this booth, passengers walked down a ramp to the sheltered bus stop in the parking lot. Here, they boarded the Express Airport Loop Bus. There were two routes: Bus Loop A or Bus Loop B, of which one would take the passenger(s) to their desired airline terminal of their departure (or employment).

   So, for "to JFK" passengers, you had two tickets circulating at the same time: the premium fare JFK Express ticket for $3.00, and the stand alone Loop Bus ticket for $1.00 for regular fare subway users.

   You now have two different ticket denominations in circulation. But wait - there's more...

From the Airport: regular and premium fare combined

 Let us not forget those passengers arriving by airplane at the airport and needing to go north towards the City (to include western Queens, downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan) or south to the Rockaways.

   Their first step would be to get on board the Express Airport Loop Bus, at their respective airline terminal. The bus was free until you got to the Howard Beach JFK subway station. Here they walked up the ramp to the northbound platform. At this juncture, passengers had two choices:
  • pay the fare for the Loop Bus and prepay for regular IND train subway service, a $1.20 ticket (which provided a small discount)
  • take JFK Express train service, which was $3.50 ticket.
   Both of these tickets already had the base subway fare included in the price.

   And so, now you have four denominations of tickets circulating during one fare period for the JFK Express: $3.00 premium service or $1.00 bus only for those going to the airport; and $3.50 premium service and $1.20 loop bus and regular subway service for those leaving the airport.

At the airport: the Airport Express Bus Loop - during and after the JFK Express service

   The Express Bus Loop Service was also available as a stand alone service. You could use it to go from one terminal to another, say for a connecting flight; or you could take the bus from a terminal to a parking lot across the airport for free, or you could use it to take you to the Howard Beach / JFK Airport subway station which was the destination that was charged.

   An original car advertising sign reflects that not one, but two JFK Bus Loops operated at the airport: Bus Loop A for the southern half of the Airport, and Bus Loop B for the northern half:

Paying the fare on trips FROM the airport - questions abound

   Originally, this author was under the impression that the Loop Bus operator sold the "from airport" tickets: $3.50 premium fare ticket and the $1.20 loop bus and  train ticket.

   But here we encounter a dilemma. Unfortunately, there was some ambiguity as to the collection of fares on the Loop Bus from the airport terminals to the Howard Beach Station. It was logically presumed that the Loop Bus operator collected fares and issued tickets for bus services (Loop Bus only; Loop Bus and train; and the Loop Bus and JFK Express train). But, recent information that has come to light, that states the revenue clerk on-board the JFK Express train to Manhattan collected the fare for the express train portion not the bus operator.

   This then left the postulation that the Loop Bus and Express Train services were paid for independently, with passengers showing the Express Train on-board revenue clerk their Loop Bus ticket purchased from the Loop Bus operator, to verify their payment for that service. However, this is duplicitous as the Loop Bus service was included in the overall ticket price of the premium.

   According to the 1978 JFK Express brochure issued by the NYCTA, the passenger paid the Express Train on-board transit clerk for the entire service (which I take it to include the Loop Bus fare). But, this leaves us with a quandary: a passenger could now ride the Loop Bus for free to Howard Beach Station and not take the JFK Express train. But those passengers that did take the JFK Express train, as they paid for a premium ticket - in which they paid for the Loop Bus service, because the Loop Bus fare was included in the ticket purchase price.
This seems to be an unfair advantage in favor of the local subway rider, who could get away with not paying for the service.

   Another possible answer is to make the Loop Bus service free. But this is contradictory to the fact and existence of the Loop Bus tickets.
So this is not an answer either. We also know the Loop Bus offered a stand alone ticket for terminal to terminal transportation. This means the bus operator driver must have been authorized to sell at least the Loop Bus only tickets, and possibly the Loop Bus and Subway tickets as well. Or did they?

ince 1969, bus drivers no longer held the responsibility of making change, due to robberies. Having the bus operator collect premium fares and make change for such, would have left said operators in a vulnerable position.

   Upon learning of the existence of the mid-platform ticket booth from the following images on, another obstacle arises: if the Bus Loop passenger pays for the Loop Bus and train ticket, does this entail showing said ticket to the mid-platform clerk at the Howard Beach Station? There is no turnstile shown in the images; so therefore tokens were not used. The only option here is for the Loop Bus passenger who purchased their Loop Bus and train ticket from the bus operator to show it to the clerk in the mid-platform booth, to access the regular fare section of the platform. Then that booth is superfluous.
   Wait a minute,
my thoughts are coalescing.. and wait for it...

   The presence of this mid-platform ticket booth acted as a divider for two sections of this northbound platform (which was long enough to accommodate 14 cars) and could be considered to have two seperate fare control areas connected end to end). The southern portion of the northbound platform could accommodate the standard "B Division" 10 car 
 train; and of which provided service to regular fare subway passengers, these having paid their fare at the full time token booth at the station-house at Coleman Square and 159th Avenue attached to the southbound platform or from other parts of the subway system.

   This southern section of the northbound platform was also accessed via the overhead pedestrian bridge from the southbound platform and station-house. This gave the passenger coming from the airport access to both the southbound platform (to the Rockaways); and to the street.

    Therefore, this mid-platform ticket booth, which divided the northern 300 foot section of northbound platform from the southern 750 foot area. This 300 foot northern section had a four car capacity and provided controlled access to the JFK Express Train premium fare and the ramp to Loop Bus area, as shown in the diagram below right.

   Originally, this 300 foot section of platform was not covered, as evidenced by the image at right dated September 24, 1978. (Doug Grotjahn image, collection of Joseph Testagrose, archives)

   Also note that the original location of the mid-platform booth was located halfway between the original three car JFK Express Train length (about 125 feet from either end of the premium fare control area).

   As seen in the image below which was taken a year later, the booth was now moved to the southern border of the 300 foot extra fare area, and the platform roofed over to provide covered egress for premium fare passengers. (They're paying $3.50 for an express train - better not make 'em stand in the rain!)

   This 300' long separate platform control area, which was long enough to accommodate four 75' "B Division" cars; was connected by a covered inclined ramp down to the bus lane of the parking lot. Here, at ground level, another large covered shelter housed the boarding area for JFK Express passengers transferring to and from the Loop Buses.

   In the image below, this mid-platform booth can be seen, along with signs for the regular subway fare and access the regular subway platform (no turnstile) - note the amount $1.50. This was not the cost of a token - but the cost of the
Loop Bus and train ticket!

northbound (to NYC) platform, looking north
note at least four crewpersons at far end.

northbound (to NYC) platform looking south
The mid-platform ticket booth. Note signs on booth:

NO EXIT, $1.50 and CC Local Service $1.50
Bklyn & Manhattan
Also note the person holding the brown travel valise at back window of booth.
This, in all likelihood; is a regular subway passenger purchasing a $1.00 JFK Loop Bus Ticket
as they came in on the regular fare subway. Also note the ticket chopper under the $1.50 sign!
August 1979 - Steve Hoskins photo - David Pirmann collection - courtesy of

   In the image above left, we see farther south down the platform (and over the train), the overhead pedestrian bridge to the southbound platform (and for access to the southbound train to the Rockaways), the full time token booth at Coleman Square, or the exit to street.

   Undoubtedly, this mid-platform booth was also used to sell tickets for the Loop Bus to those incoming regular fare
train passengers heading to the airport, and during those times when the booth was occupied during JFK Express hours of operation. Take note the booth is double sided. therefore, this mid-platform ticket booth also collected the fare for the Loop Bus passengers and payment to enter the regular fare train portion of the platform.

   Since the on-board JFK Express train clerk regulated access to the northbound / City-bound express train, neither a Loop Bus passenger nor regular subway fare 
train passenger could "bum" a ride on the JFK Express without paying.

   The only access to the Loop Bus was either via that mid-platform ticket booth to the airport terminal, or from the airline terminals to the mid-platform ticket booth. Passengers arriving via the
train had already paid their token at their originating station, and they would only need to pay for and access to the Loop Bus. Again, until now it was assumed the bus operator sold said ticket.

   But with the visual evidence of the mid-platform ticket booth, we now know tickets for the Loop Bus was sold at the ticket booth as well as the tickets for the loop bus and the
train! The bus driver merely collected the perforated stub attached to the ticket when the passenger boarded to prevent reuse.

   This alleviated the bus operator from handling any money, and still controls both the "to" and "from" portions of travel on the Loop Bus.

   So, the linear description of payment procedures would be as follows:

via JFK Express :Purchase 50¢ token to access subway, pay $3.00 premium fare on board JFK Express; upon arrival at Howard Beach Station, access to JFK Loop Bus included;
via regular subway train service:Purchase token to access subway, detrain at Howard Beach Station, buy $1.00 JFK Loop Bus Ticket at mid-platform booth for access to JFK Loop Bus; 

 via JFK Express :Board bus at airline terminal, disembark at bus ramp at Howard Beach Station and walk up to subway platform. If purchasing city-bound JFK Express train ticket ($3.50) you purchased it from "on board" clerk waiting at doors of subway train. The Loop Bus ride is included in the premium fare;
via regular subway train service:or pay $1.20 cash at mid-platform booth ($1.00 for Loop Bus plus 20¢ discounted subway fare), no token required for access to subway train.

   Research is ongoing, insight is desperately needed and you are of course invited to contact me here with further info.

Cessation of service

   With declining patronage, the NYCTA was facing mounting criticism for operating a special train that saw minimal usage. As regular subway passengers would watch an empty JFK Express trains roll through a station,
especially late at night when it could be 20 minutes or longer between regular service trains. This resulted in some modifications to JFK Express service. According to the 1988 transit map, the JFK Express now carried local passengers between Sixth Avenue and 57th Street station and 47th / 50th Street Station weekday evenings 9:00 pm to 1:00 pm. South of 47th / 50th Street Station, the JFK Express began extra fare service.

   Also around this time, upper management at NYCTA began recommending an abolition of JFK Express service altogether. Cessation of JFK Express would save the NYCTA 7 million dollars annually, free up 144 employees and add 12 subway cars to the regular service roster. This eventually took place on April 15, 1990.

   Ironically, the Express Airport Loop Bus service continued on, even after the JFK Express service was abolished as the bus loop service was still needed to get passengers to and from the JFK Airport / Howard Beach subway station for those passengers arriving and departing via the IND train.

   So, the Airport Express bus could be paid for independently, for passengers arriving via the normal "local" subway train or by connecting bus routes.

   When the AirTrain opened for service in 2003, it eliminated the need for the Express Bus Loop, as all the terminals were now connected via the AirTrain, but as the AirTrain ticket is treated as a separate purchase from the regular subway fare, it constitutes a two fare system.

   The following chart reflects which tickets were issued coinciding with other tickets for that fare period.

subway fare
JFK Express Train 
TO JFK Airport
(does not include regular fare for subway)
Express Bus Loop bus and
JFK Express Train
FROM JFK Airport
(includes base fare for subway)
Express Bus Loop bus and
FROM airport
Bus Loop onlyc
TO JFK Airport
JFK Employee tickets
(book of 20 tickets)

September 23, 1978.50$3.00$3.50$1.20$1.00n/a
January 1, 1979.50n/cn/cn/cn/c$25.00 ($1.25)On January 1, 1979; employees of the various airlines as well as employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who worked at JFK airport; were provided with a discounted book of twenty tickets, sold for $25 ($1.25 per ticket).
June 28, 1980.60$3.40$4.00$1.50$1.20$30.00 ($1.50)
July 3, 1981.75$4.25$5.00$1.80$1.50$45.00? ($2.25?)This era of JFK Express train service also provided service to the Aqueduct Racetrack when racing was in session and upon request of the passenger.
January 2, 1984.90$5.10$6.00$2.00?$1.80
January 1, 19861.00$5.50$6.50
$2.25$2.00$50.00? ($2.50)On January 1, 1986, the cost of an JFK employee discount ticket rose from $2.25 to $2.50.
For this fare, $6.00 tickets were redacted and overprinted with $6.50.b
$5.50$5.50see ticket below
January 1, 1990
n/c? n/c? JFK Express service was discontinued April 15, 1990

a - $5.60 denomination ticket not yet seen or confirmed, but believed to exist. Furthermore, the December 16, 1989 article in New York Times states the JFK Express fare was to rise to $6.35 and token. This would correspond to a "from airport" ticket
     fare of $7.50; none of which have been seen
b -
$6.50 non-redacted tickets have not yet been seen.
c - fare for shuttle bus when not used with JFK Express train.
n/c = no change

JFK Employees JFK Express Ticket (bi-directional) - 1978
paid to on-board ticket clerk.
Globe Ticket

September 23, 1978

50 cent subway fare paid at token booth + $3.00
JFK Express fare & Shuttle Bus
paid to on-board ticket clerk.

Globe Ticket
Shuttle Bus and
JFK Express  from JFK Airport
JFK Express fare and subway combined and
to Bus Loop Operator
Globe Ticket above
National Ticket below

June 28, 1980
60 cent subway fare paid at token booth + $3.40 JFK Express fare & Shuttle Bus
paid to on-board ticket clerk
Globe Ticket
$4.00 - JFK Express fare and subway combined and
paid to
Bus Loop Operator

July 3, 1981

75 cent subway fare paid at token booth + $4.25 JFK Express fare & Shuttle Bus
paid to on-board ticket clerk

expedient $4.25 ($3.00 ticket overstamped to $4.25 - Globe Ticket
$4.25 - Globe Ticket
$5.00 - JFK Express fare and subway combined and
to Bus Loop Operator

January 2, 1984

90 cent subway fare paid at token booth + $5.10 JFK Express fare and Shuttle Bus to JFK Airport 
paid to on-board ticket clerk
goldenrod is Globe Ticket above
pale cream is unknown printer below
$6.00 - JFK Express fare and subway combined 
paid to 
Bus Loop Operator
Arcus Ticket

January 1, 1986

$1.00 subway fare paid at token booth + $5.50 JFK Express fare and Shuttle Bus (free) to JFK Airport
paid to
on-board ticket clerk
Globe Ticket
$6.00 redacted, overstamped to $6.50 - Shuttle Bus (free) and JFK Express  from JFK Airport
paid to
Bus Loop Operator
note: no perforation on right side for bus stub.
Arcus Ticket

   And now, for another fly in the ointment. These $5.50 tickets below, differ significantly from the one above left (and others prior to it), as the tickets below are good for $5.50 in both directions:

"Good for one trip Via Express Train and Bus to J. F. K. Airport or from Howard Beach to 57th Street."

   In order to accomplish this matching two way fare rate, the base subway fare would have to be collected separately or not at all on the "from Howard Beach" direction (to Manhattan). And at no other time was the fare $5.50 to or from J.F.K. so these tickets must fall into the January 1, 1986 through January 1, 1990 usage period. Research remains ongoing and comments are welcome.

   Most coincidentally, upon the delivery of both tickets to me 
on March 16, 2023
(purchased from different sellers on eBay); John Telesca, a fellow member of the Facebook group "New York's Railroads Subways & Trolleys Past & Present" made the following post in response to a comment I made:

"I rode it twice and [each time] they collected fares differently. The first had a uniformed person collecting fares in the car, at the same time trying to change larger bills.
On my last trip you paid the fare when you got off at Howard Beach, at a little podium on the airport side before boarding the airport bus.
On the way back from the airport they let anyone board at the stops. I believe it was summer, 1989.

   Since this is an anecdotal recollection, it needs to be confirmed via official documentation. But at the very least, we are now aware that a change in the method and time of payment for JFK Express passengers took place. As such; the verbiage on the tickets was modified to reflect this as well. Also note the wording on the bus portion of the ticket: "To Be Collected By Bus Operator" by the still attached stub on the ticket below left. This wording does not appear on earlier issues of the JFK Express Tickets.

   Furthermore, upon acquiring the following two tickets; subtle differences are noticed between the two: note the M logo, and slight different font and size of the wording. Both are Globe Ticket, however, the one on right now carries "Globe Ticket and Label".

$5.50 JFK Express fare and Shuttle Bus (free) to JFK Airport paid to clerk at station
$5.50 JFK Bus Loop and JFK Express to Manhattan paid to
Bus Loop Operator
Globe Ticket

$5.50 JFK Express fare and Shuttle Bus (free) to JFK Airport paid to on-board ticket clerk
$5.50 JFK Bus Loop and JFK Express to Manhattan paid to
Bus Loop Operator
Globe Ticket and Label

January 1, 1990

not yet seen

not yet seen
$1.15 subway fare paid at token booth & $5.60 JFK Express fare and Shuttle Bus to JFK Airport paid to on board clerk.
$6.75  - Shuttle Bus and JFK Express  from JFK Airport

the December 16, 1989 article in New York Times states the JFK Express fare was to rise to $6.35 and token. This would correspond to a "from airport" ticket fare of $7.50; none of which have been seen.

Airport Loop "Express" Bus only - TO JFK 

(for a passenger arriving at Howard Beach / JFK Airport Station via subway Line)
Airport Loop "Express" Bus & Local Subway Service FROM JFK

(for a passenger at JFK Airport towards Howard Beach / JFK Airport Station
via Express Bus and subway
September 23, 1978
$1.00 - Shuttle Bus ONLY to JFK Airport
Globe Ticket
$1.20 - Shuttle Bus and  Train ONLY from JFK Airport
Globe Ticket

June 28, 1980
intentionally left blank

$1.50 - Shuttle Bus and  Train ONLY from JFK Airport
Globe Ticket

July 3, 1981
intentionally left blank
.$1.50 - Express Bus ONLY to JFK Airport
Globe Ticket

January 2, 1984
intentionally left blank

.January 1, 1986
$2.00 - Express Bus ONLY to JFK Airport
Globe Ticket
$2.25 - Shuttle Bus and  Train ONLY from JFK Airport
Globe Ticket

Unissued books of JFK Tickets in varying denominations are now appearing on the eBay market. 

Individual tickets: $7.00 to $10.00 for circulated and punch canceled tickets
no more than $15.00 per book
as these are unissued remainders.

JFK Express JFK Employee Tickets; are somewhat rarer: $15.00 - $20.00 for issued tickets.
Books; no more than $15.00 per book as these are unissued remainders.



Sports Specials


Football Subway Special at the Polo Grounds:

   The NYCTA operated N. Y. Titans Football Specials, which departed from the IND Parsons Boulevard Station in Queens at 6:40 pm, with one stop at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and terminating at the 155th Street Station which serviced the Polo Grounds at 7:35 pm. 

   Tickets for the Football Subway special were sold at the Parsons Boulevard and the 42nd Street Stations for 50 cents. The ticket, when turned in with $1.25, allowed the passenger a discount on grandstand seating that was normally priced at $4.00 (a discount of $1.75).

   The first mention of this Football Special is published in the November 2, 1960 edition of the New York Times. The Titans would only play at the Polo Grounds located in northern Manhattan for three seasons, after which they were renamed the New York Jets, and took up residence in the newly built Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows - Corona Park in Queens.

October 1, 1961 - New York Titans vs. Boston Patriots (American Football League)
October 15, 1961 - New York Titans vs. San Diego Chargers (American Football League)

These Sports Tickets are not encountered often; and believed to only have been issued for three years. These are the only issues so far seen.
$25.00 in good condition. Note that football ephemera collectors are also in the market for procuring these issues.

Aqueduct Racetrack - Thoroughbred Horse Racing

   It should be noted that Aqueduct Special trains only operated when racing programs were being held at Aqueduct. 

   For those not familiar with thoroughbred racing, racing programs are not held year round at a single track, and alternated with Belmont Park. The programs at Aqueduct were usually slated for October through April, with the Belmont Park racing program from April through July and September through October. 

   In 1955, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) purchased the Aqueduct Racetrack located in South Ozone Park, Queens, and the track was closed from 1956 through 1959 for renovations. Because of its proximity to the Rockaway Beach Branch a station constructed to be serviced by the subway line (which had formerly been Long Island Rail Road). This subway line had been purchased by the NYCTA in 1952 with the segment south of Ozone Park out of service due to reconstruction until 1955.

   A trial run of dedicated express service to Aqueduct Racetrack took place on June 2, 1959, with an approximate running time of 29 minutes.
 Aboard this trial train were 200 members of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners. Transit officials stated that the actual time of the specials would be 30 minutes at a minimum as the pace of the train was too swift; and the trip usually averaged 35 minutes in regular service. 

   The actual start of Aqueduct Special express service to the general public began in September 1959. This extra-fare train ran nonstop from the lower level of the 42nd Street / Port Authority Bus Terminal Station on the
IND Eighth Avenue Line in Manhattan to the racetrack in Queens. During its first year of operation, the Aqueduct Special carried 341,000 passengers.

   One train, operating on weekdays and Saturdays; would depart from the Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets station in Brooklyn. The now-closed outer platforms of this station were used to segregate passengers using the special service. Later on, all Aqueduct Special trains would stop at Hoyt–Schermerhorn Streets, making the service:

   On September 22, 1959, the NYCTA added five "Daily Double" trains on weekdays and eight on Saturdays, doubling the original number of trains. Return trips would operate on Saturdays and Holidays.

   Aqueduct Special service was further increased again for the 1960 Spring racing program with Saturday and Holiday service.

   While covered on the token page of this website, they are shown again here for continuity. During the 1960's the extra fare was collected at special turnstiles at the three stations served by the special and it is at this point, the larger 28mm brass "Y" tokens were issued.

"Extra Large Y Cutout"
issued in 1966 at 75 cents as special fare token for trains to Aqueduct Race Track

then repurposed for use
for Express Buses late 1980's-1990's.

28mm / 1.10", brass, Y cutout

Atwood-Coffee NY630AP

uncommon; $15.00

   In October 1966, the NYRA reached its final agreement to cover the $5,000 cost of the maintenance and the operation of the station. The NYRA last made these payments for the 1974-1975 racing season.

   Beginning on April 15, 1978, and during racing season; one train which carried the moniker "Special Aqueduct Special" operated from 57th Street Station on the IND Sixth Avenue Line departing at 11:00 am for Aqueduct Racetrack, and arriving at Aqueduct at 11:35 am. The train departed Aqueduct Racetrack Station for the return trip to Manhattan shortly after the final race. In September 1978, the JFK Express began service and also stopped at the Aqueduct Station on racing days.

However, with the decline in interest in thoroughbred racing, ridership at the station also declined, from a peak of 1,100,000 passengers in 1975 to a little more than half that just four years later: 573,000 passengers in 1979.

   Despite this fall off in passengers, the NYCTA issued the second of Special Fare Tokens for use on the Aqueduct Specials, the 23 mm white metal token:

issued April 1979

used as special fare for train to Aqueduct Race Track.

500,000 struck

23mm / .90", white metal, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AX

uncommon; $20.00

   The Aqueduct Specials ceased operation altogether in October 1981. Service to Aqueduct Racetrack was replaced by the more expensive $5.00 "JFK Express" fare (which began service in September 1978 - see above chapter), which ran all year round and stopped at this station upon request on racing days.

   In 1990, after the JFK Express was discontinued, the Aqueduct Racetrack station was closed throughout the day.

   The station reopened on October 22, 1997 for the racing season following an agreement with the New York Racing Association, which believed that the 1,700 feet distance from the Aqueduct - North Conduit Avenue station to Aqueduct Racetrack reduced transit usage as well as attendance at the racetrack. This agreement took effect on October 1, 1997, and was set to expire on September 30, 1999. As part of this agreement, the northern underpass entrance at Aqueduct - North Conduit Avenue would be reopened, shortening the walking distance for people arriving at Aqueduct Racetrack by 900 feet.

   The Aqueduct Racetrack station was reopened
without a token booth, and using new MetroCard only High Entrance / Exit Turnstiles (HEETs) a/k/a "iron maidens", allowing the station to be unstaffed at all times. Though MetroCards were not sold at the station, they were sold at betting windows at Aqueduct Racetrack. This was one of the first stations in the system to have HEETs.

   Another unusual factor about the Aqueduct Racetrack Station is that it only had one platform on the northbound side. Southbound (arriving) service was switched to the northbound track with the train terminating at the northbound platform and reversing direction for the trip back to Manhattan. This is the only "through stop" that serves trains in one direction only.


   The fares for the Aqueduct Special was as follows.

   While it may be known by some collectors that the NYCTA utilized both the extra large 28mm brass "Y" cutout and later for a very brief time, the 23mm white metal solid "Special Fare" tokens for the Aqueduct Special (NYCTA Special Fare Tokens); there were tickets and vouchers issued as well.

50¢June 2, 1959
75¢July 5, 1966
$1.00January 4, 1970
$1.50February 1972
$1.00April 1972
$1.50June 28, 1980
$3.001981 - October 1981

75 cent Cash Fare Ticket - Special Trains to Aqueduct Racetrack
May 15, 1967
Globe Ticket
"Special Aqueduct Special"
Subway fare, and clubhouse admission and one free program ticket to Aqueduct Racetrack
issued by the New York Racing Association
valid to May 21, 1978
Globe Ticket
"Special Aqueduct Special"
Subway fare, and clubhouse admission and one free program ticket to Aqueduct Racetrack
issued by the New York Racing Association
valid to May 21, 1978
Globe Ticket

Aqueduct Cash Fare Tickets rarely encountered; $30.00 - 40.00 in good condition.
Special Aqueduct Special rarely encountered; $30.00 - 40.00 in good condition.

1974 - New York City Transit Authority Transit Museum archives



Rockaway Special Ticket - ca. 1957

   Not much is known about this item; and frankly it was not known to exist until the following advertising sign appeared on eBay.

   From the description, a $1.55 fare purchased a round trip ticket (77.5 cents each way) for a one station-stop express train departing 42nd Street & Eighth Avenue IND at 10:30 AM and Hoyt-Schermerhorn at 10:42 AM to Playland Station (Beach 98th Street) in the Rockaway, Queens. 

   When the ticket was was presented at the admission booth of Playland with an additional $1.50; 

Nostalgia Special

   The Nostalgia Special was a once-a-day weekend train running from spring to fall on Sundays, with summer expansion adding Saturday service.
The BMT triplex units were used (see car card advertisement later in this section) mostly for this service.

   The Nostalgia Special ran from 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) to the Transit Museum at Court Street, and laid over for about two hours to allow passengers a visit the Museum. Passengers then re-boarded and the train went out the Rockaways, again with a short layover. It then returned with a stop in Brooklyn and at 57th Street and Avenue of the Americas.

   The fare on the ticket included the fare for the Nostalgia Train and admission to the Transit museum.

   After a pause in running the Nostalgia Specials the NYCTA began running other historic equipment on short segments in regular service with no extra fare such as Holiday Trains, Baseball Specials, Queens Day Specials. Often the R-1-9s or the "Train of many colors" are used in this service.

Child Fare.    .Adult Fare
intentionally left blank
July 17, 1976 - issued
intentionally left blank
unissued -  undated - Child Fare
.intentionally left blank
July 18, 1976 - Adult Fare
intentionally left blank

July 25, 1976 - Adult Fare
4 7/8" x 2 15/16"
these seem cut on a table top cutter probably should have been 5x3
intentionally left blank
August 8, 1976 - Adult Fare
intentionally left blank
August 8, 1976 - Adult Fare and unissued August 1976
5" x 3 3/16"
intentionally left blank
unissued August 1976 - Child Fare
intentionally left blank
December 19, 1976 - Adult Fare 
intentionally left blank
September 3, 1977 - Adult Fare 
intentionally left blank
July 23, 1978 - Adult Fare (green)
September 2, 1978 - Child Fare (salmon)September 2, 1978 - Adult Fare (yellow)
intentionally left blank
November 11, 1978 - Adult Fare (pink)
Undated / Unissued
intentionally left blank
undated - Child Fare (blue)
undated - Child Fare (yellow)undated - Adult Fare (pink)
undated - Child Fare (pink)undated - Adult Fare (white)
June 10, 1979 - with Special Connecting Bus
6 3/16" x 3"
all adult and child's tickets for Nostalgia Special above are common; $3.00 to $5.00 each.
Nostalgia Special Ticket - Complimentary

uncommon, but sporadically encountered - $15.00 to $20.00.

June 28, 1980 Fare for the Nostalgia Train rose 50 cents from $3.00 to $3.50 for adults and 25 cents for under 17: $1.50 to $1.75.

3 3/16" x 4 1/4"



Block Tickets



   Block tickets are issued for unplanned temporary interruptions of service due to fire, flood, derailment, law enforcement activity, signal problems, or power outages. 

   This ticket allows a passenger of whom has already paid their fare, to alight from a subway train, exit the paid portion of the system and reenter at another location to take an alternative subway line or bus instead, without having to pay a second fare.

   These tickets are good for 48 hours but are seldom marked with a date or time. The meaning of the N & B letter codes is currently unknown - if you know please send me an email .

Brooklyn Manhattan Transit System

First Unification - 1940-1953
sans-serif "N"
December 1940
BTT-N 11
Arcus Simplex Brown
4 3/8" x 2-1/16" 
sans-serif "R"
December 1940
BTT-R 34
Arcus Simplex Brown
43/8" x 2" inches high.
The reason of the letter codes 'N' and 'R' remain unknown at this time. From the printers information reflect they were two separate issues, and not a reprint of of a single issue.
A fleeting thought was perhaps the letter denoted subway line of usage, but route letters were in use at time of this issue (December 1940), and furthermore a single change booth could serve different lines.Nor does it denote rapid or surface methods as all are listed on both tickets.
"A" prefix - serif B
BTT - B42 - March 1950 (BT)
unknown printer
serif 'N'
4 5/8" x 2" w/ 1/2" selvage
Globe Ticket

Second Unification; 1953 to 1962 (old Transit logo)
serif "B" prefix
ca. 1953 - 1962?
International Ticket - serif B
4 3/4" by 2", including selvage
sans-serif "E" prefix
ca. 1953 - 1962?
Elliott Ticket 58-69-0834
intentionally left blank
sans-serif "G" prefix
ca. 1953 - 1962?
Elliott Ticket - sans-serif G
4 3/4" by 2", including selvage
intentionally left blank
H prefix - buff yellow stripe
ca. 1953 - 1962?
Globe Ticket - 
5 13/16" with selvage by, and 2"
In regard to the next group of issues, it has not yet been determined if the prefix letter played a part in relation to the color of the issue; or what (if anything); the color of the paper denoted.
C prefix (pink)
ca. 1970's - 1980's?
Globe Ticket
 3 13/16" x 2"
G prefix (green)
ca. 1970's - 1980's?
Globe Ticket
3 3/4" x 2"
L prefix (yellow)
ca. 1970's - 1980's?
Globe Ticket

3 13/16" x 2"
N prefix (blue)
ca. 1970's - 1980's?
Globe Ticket
3 13/16" x 2"

Second Unification; 1994 to present ( logo)
1994 - 2006
This Block Ticket lists the private bus companies:
Command Bus, Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Queens Surface and Triboro Coach
2006 and later:
this Block Ticket does not list the private bus companies
which have been absorbed in the NYCTA.
s/n prefix A & C known
7 1/4" long and 2"

Block Tickets; uncommon but occasionally offered for sale;
(on pulp paper); rare - $10.00 to $12.50.



General Order Transfers

Daily General Order

   This type of G. O. was previously undocumented until joining the PMG collection in May 2022. Whereas a "general" general order could be issued anywhere and applied to anywhere in the system, this version was issued daily, and for a specific transfer location. From my understanding, it allowed Coney Island bound passengers to transfer from the F(Culver Elevated) Line at Avenue X to the B1 or B4 bus and thence to the (Sea Beach) Line.
   Furthermore, this particular G.O. ticket is believed to have been issued in response to the Stillwell Viaduct reconstruction and is reflected in the service changes box on the 1994 Subway Map.


Monthly General Order

   In contrast to Block Tickets in the above section of this page, of which are issued for unplanned temporary interruptions of service and are only valid for 48 hours after punched; General Order Transfers are issued for planned prolonged outages or rerouting due to construction or reconstruction.

   As such, G. O. Tickets are issued monthly, and are valid until the end of that month; as all dates seen thus far are for the last day that month.

   1990's through 2010(?): solid beige, pink, green paper;
   2010's: white paper with magenta, lavender, yellow stripes (possibly other colors as well)
all appear to have unprinted backs.


June 30, 1992September 30, 1992March 31, 1993 March 31, 1996
note that despite the MTA logo being changed in 1994,
this ticket still bears the M logo above but the new
  logo below.
July 31, 1998September 30, 1999
September 30, 2003December 31, 2003December 31, 2004December 31, 2005December 31, 2007December 31, 2008
intentionally left blankintentionally left blankintentionally left blankintentionally left blankintentionally left blank
December 31, 2010
intentionally left blankintentionally left blank
December 31, 2018September 30, 2019December 31, 2019

solid issues: scarce; $15.00 to $20.00
striped issues; uncommon - $8.00 to $10.00.



Culture Bus Loops

Culture Bus I - Midtown Manhattan & Harlem

   The Culture Bus Loops I and II operated from May 26, 1973 through September 3, 1984 and on weekends and holidays only. The Culture Bus Loop III operated briefly from August 3, 1974 through September 2, 1974, and a Staten Island Culture Bus Loop operated sometime between 1974 through 1977.

   The Culture Bus Loops allowed a passenger to disembark and visit museums and places of interest along the route, then reboard a later bus to continue their journey to their next destination pretty much door to door. This allowed passengers greater flexibility than having to walk several blocks to a subway station, make a transfer to adjoining line, et al; then walk back to their next destination.. 

   The following two sided five panel brochure, explains in detail how and when the Culture Bus Loop I and Culture Bus Loop II operated, their routes and the places of interest on each route. 

   As an added bonus, it also explains the other discounted special services such as the Sunday Half Fare, Add-A-Ride, Shoppers Special, and Nightcoach programs (as shown on this particular page and on others in this website); so without a doubt this brochure was worthy of display.

above: back coverabove: front cover
5 panels; 20" x 9 1/8"; undated (but mention of 50 cent fare usage has this brochure fall into the September 2, 1975 - June 27, 1980 date range).

   The Culture Bus Loop I ran in Manhattan, and for the price of $1.00 a Culture Bus ticket was issued to the passenger. This Culture Bus gave the passenger access to dozens of New York City's Museums and Tourist Attractions as listed in the above brochure.

March 1974 - MDA
one dollar exact change

5" x 3 1/8"

March 1982 - MEA
"Culture Bus Loop I"

5" x 3"

    Culture Bus tickets were also sold at subway token booths located at: Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Columbus Circle stations during the hours of operation of the Culture Bus. 

   We know on June 28, 1980 the price of a Culture Bus ticket rose from $1.25 to $1.75.

Culture Bus II - Brooklyn & Midtown Manhattan

    There was also a Culture Bus that operated in Brooklyn. This was known as "Culture Bus II" and ran the route of the B88:

March 1974 - MDD
One Dollar Exact Change


April 1974 - ADA
One Dollar Exact Change

April 1974 - OCB
One Dollar Exact Change

March 1975 - MEA
One Dollar Exact Change

all: 5" x 3 1/8"

Culture Bus & Culture Bus II tickets; $15.00 to $20.00 in good condition.

Due to the short existence of the Culture Bus III, tickets are worth substantially more: $25.00 - 35.00

   The fares on Culture Buses I and II and Staten Island Culture Bus rose from $1.00 to $1.25 on September 1, 1975. On June 28, 1980 the price of a Culture Bus ticket rose from $1.25 to $1.75.

Culture Bus III - Harlem, Manhattan & Bronx

   There was a third culture bus route, the Culture Bus III.

   The Culture Bus III route was located in north Manhattan and the Bronx. However, this route was extremely short lived, and only operated from August 3, 1974 (some sources erroneously cite Memorial Day weekend - but the NY Times article at right states otherwise) through September 2, 1974 - Labor Day; at which time this special route was discontinued, and never reinstated. 

   This loop route was designated the Bx56.

   To date, tickets for this route remain undocumented.


Staten Island Culture Bus

   The Staten Island Culture Bus route started at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, Ramp F in St. George, and stopped at the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetian Art, and Richmondtown Restoration and back to the Ferry Terminal, where one could visit the Staten Island Ferry Maritime Museum at either the beginning or end of the bus loop. 

   Fare was $1.25, operating on Saturdays and Sundays, Summer and Fall; however the year is not noted. Abraham Beame is listed as Mayor on the pamphlet, and his single term administration was January 1, 1974 through December 31, 1977 which helps date the pamphlet to some degree.

   As with the Bronx Culture Bus III, tickets remain undocumented. 



Shoppers Buses

   In an attempt to drum up business during the midday, when bus occupancy is at its least, the NYCTA advertised for and ran "Shoppers Buses." This was a bus that ran a fixed route throughout the Manhattan Shopping District. With the purchase of a ticket, the passenger could get on or off the bus on that route however many times they chose, to do their shopping in an endless number of stores.

   Shoppers Buses rose from 75 cents to $1.00 on September 1, 1975

5 1/16" x 3 1/8"

Shoppers Special Tickets (on cardstock); $15.00 to $20.00 in good condition.

Shoppers Special Tickets (on pulp paper); $8.00 to $10.00 in good condition.
Complete books are known. 



A Night On The Town

A Night on the Town Bus Ticket (on cardstock); $12.00 to $15.00 in good condition.
A Night on the Town Bus Ticket (on pulp paper); $8.00 to $10.00 in good condition.

2 1/16" x 5 5/8" with 5/8" selvage, pulp paper
Globe Ticket
uncommon; complete book, $10

Midtown Shoppers or Night on the Town Exchange Coupon
Culture Bus I or Culture Bus II Exchange Coupon

Shoppers Bus / A Night on the Town Bus Ticket and Culture Bus Exchange Coupons (on pulp paper);
National Ticket
rare - $25.00 to $30.00.



Night Coach

Nightcoach Ticket
Globe Ticket

(on pulp paper); rare - $20.00 to $25.00.



Miscellaneous Passes

New York City Youth Board - Free Transit Pass for Group 
Free Transportation Pass for Youth Board / Boy Scouts of America - April 13, 1972
extremely rare; $50.00
8 5/8" x 5"

Op Sail '76 Bicentennial Special Transit Pass - July 4 to July 11, 1976
3 3/4" x 2 9/16"
extremely rare; $50.00

Special Transit Pass - Harbor Festival 1979
4 7/16" x 2 15/16"
extremely rare; $50.00

Visitors Pass - 1979
4 7/16" x 2 15/16"
extremely rare; $50.00

Page 1: Fare Tickets & Employee PassesPage 7: Half Fare Tickets - Sundays / Weekends
Page 2: TokensPage 8: Half Fare Tickets - Senior Citizens & Handicapped
Page 3: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Rapid TransitPage 9: School / Student / Pupil Reduced Fare & Free Passes
Page 4: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Streetcar LinesPage 10: Special Issue Tickets
Page 5: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Bus RoutesPage 11: Staten Island Rapid Transit
Page 6: Continuing Ride Tickets; Surface; Add-A-RidePage 12: Hudson and Manhattan & Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)

.All content, graphics, and text in part or in whole, unless otherwise noted.

This website and its authors are not affiliated, employed nor represent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, The Transit Museum, the City of New York, the State of New York or any other municipal governmental agency; or any private company contracted by the previous agencies; and no such affiliation is implied or suggested.