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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
JFK ExpressSports SpecialsNostalgia SpecialCulture Bus Loops I, II, IIIShoppers Bus
Block TicketsGeneral Order TransfersA Night On The TownNight Coach
Miscellaneous Passes



   There were many instances in which the New York City Transit Authority issued tickets for special occasions; some one off event and others repetitive.  Some were sporting events, and some on 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".

JFK Express
1978 through 1990

   The most widely known of these special tickets was for the JFK Express. This service was heavily advertised on broadcast television and radio. 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:

   These tickets were issued by conductors on board of the JFK Express. 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.

   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, later expanded to a four car set. The JFK Express train was significantly shorter than the standard eight or ten car trains in regular subway service. 

   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 at 5am to Midnight.

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

   At the initial onset of service, tickets cost $3.50 one way, in addition to the regular transit fare (at that time which was 50 cents), and the cost of the shuttle bus from the Howard Beach - JFK Airport Station (IND Rockaway Line, A and C trains) where the train route ended to the Airport Terminals.

   The stops for this train are listed at right.


 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


JFK Express Ticket Denominations Known
Employee ticketsOn 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). It is not known if the employee ticket prices rose in conjunction with  regular tickets, or what the later discount rates were. 
$1.00 unknown date
$1.50 unknown date
$3.00 unknown date
$3.40 unknown date
$3.50 unknown date - ca. 1980
$4.00 unknown date
$4.25 unknown date
$5.00July 3, 1981, the express fare was raised from $4.00 to $5.00.
$5.10 unknown date
$5.50 unknown date
$6.00 unknown date - ca.1985
$6.50 ($6.00 tickets redacted) unknown date
$6.75to April 15, 1990, JFK Express service was discontinued

JFK Employees JFK Express Ticket - 1978
the goldenrod printing (top) is Globe
the pale cream (bottom) is unknown
$6.00 redacted, overstamped to $6.50

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

Individual tickets $4.00 to $6.00 for circulated and punch canceled tickets for older issues below $4.00 denomination, $2.00 to $4.00 for newer issues above $4.00 denomination.
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

Polo Grounds:

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)
The tickets above were sold for the NY Titans, the AFL football team playing at the Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan.
The NY Titans would become the NY Jets when they relocated to Shea Stadium. 

Sports Tickets are not encountered often; $25.00 in good condition. Note that football ephemera collectors are also in the market for procuring these issues.

Aqueduct Racetrack - Thoroughbred Horse Racing

75 cent Special Trains to Aqueduct Racetrack
May 15, 1967
"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
"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

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.

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.

July 17, 1976, and undated - Adult Fare (or Round Trip?)
July 18 and July 25, 1976 - Child's Fare
4 7/8" x 2 15/16"
these seem cut on a table top cutter probably should have been 5x3
August 8, 1976 - Adult Fare (Round Trip?) and unissued August 1976 - Adult Fare
5" x 3 3/16"

unissued August 1976 - Childs Fare

November 11, 1978 - Adult Fare
undated - Childs Fare
undated - Adult Fare
June 10, 1979
6 3/16" x 3"
all adult and childs 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.

Block Tickets
issued 1940(?) to present

   Block tickets are issued for unplanned temporary interruptions of service due to fire, flood, derailment, 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..

   Good for 48 hours (seldom marked with time). The meaning of the letter codes is currently unknown - if you know please send me an email .

First Unification - 1940-1953
December 1940
"A" prefix  serif B
March 1950

Second Unification; 1953 to present
"B" prefix
International Ticket - serif B
"E" prefix
Elliott Ticket - sans-serif B
."G" prefix
Elliott Ticket - sans-serif G
Globe Ticket - H prefix
Globe Ticket - C prefix
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.

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

General Order Transfers

   Whereas the Block Tickets above are issued for unplanned temporary interruptions of service, General Order Transfers are issued for planned prolonged outages or rerouting due to construction or reconstruction.

   1990's through 2004(?): solid beige, pink, green paper;
   2000's: white paper with magenta, lavender, yellow stripes (possibly other colors as well)
all appear to have unprinted backs.


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

Culture Bus Loops

   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.

   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.

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

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

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

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.

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
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);
rare - $25.00 to $30.00.

Night Coach

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

Miscellaneous Passes

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)


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 Philip M. Goldstein / George S. Cuhaj
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