B54 (New York City bus)

  (Redirected from Myrtle Avenue Line (surface))

The B54 is a bus route on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City. The line travels between Downtown Brooklyn in the west and Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues station in the east. The B54 operates from MTA New York City Bus' Fresh Pond Depot in Ridgewood, Queens. The route serves only the section of Myrtle Avenue within Brooklyn; the section within Queens is served by the Q55 bus.

Myrtle Avenue Line
Jay St Bklyn td 63 - MetroTech.jpg
A B54 bus turning onto Jay Street in 2018.
SystemMTA Regional Bus Operations
OperatorNew York City Transit Authority
GarageFresh Pond Depot
LocaleBrooklyn, Queens
Communities servedRidgewood, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn
StartRidgewoodRidgewood Terminal
ViaMyrtle Avenue
EndDowntown Brooklyn – Jay Street and Willoughby Street / Jay Street–MetroTech station
Other routesQ55 (Myrtle Avenue East)
Operates24 hours[1]
Annual patronage2,830,465 (2018)[2]
← B52  {{{system_nav}}}  B57 →

The B54 replaced the Myrtle Avenue Line, the first streetcar line in Brooklyn, which was built by the Brooklyn City Railroad and opened in 1854. This line initially served the entirety of Myrtle Avenue with horse cars. They were replaced with electric trolleys by July 1893, and then by the two city-owned bus routes on July 17, 1949. The Myrtle Avenue Line is distinct from the BMT Myrtle Avenue Line, which is a separate subway line that also operates along a portion of Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Until 1969, the BMT line also ran on elevated tracks above the entire Brooklyn section of Myrtle Avenue.

Route descriptionEdit

The B54's western terminus is at Jay Street and Willoughby Street near the Jay Street–MetroTech station in Downtown Brooklyn. From here, eastbound service heads north on Jay Street, east on Tillary Street and south on Flatbush Avenue Extension before heading east on Myrtle Avenue. Service continues along Myrtle Avenue until it turns left onto Gates Avenue. Buses then make right turns onto St. Nicholas Avenue and Palmetto Street before terminating at the Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal at Palmetto Street and Wyckoff Avenue near the Myrtle–Wyckoff Avenues station in Ridgewood.[1]:14

Westbound service continues via Myrtle Avenue until Lawrence Street, where buses make a left. Buses then make a right onto MetroTech Roadway and another right onto Jay Street to get back to the terminal.[1]:14


Horsecar serviceEdit

The Brooklyn City Railroad was incorporated on December 17, 1853, with a capital of $2,500,000 (equivalent to $77,000,000 in 2019). Its first line, the Myrtle Avenue Line, was the first horsecar line in Brooklyn;[3]:25 it opened on July 3, 1854.[4] The initial line began at Fulton Ferry, and ran southeast on Fulton Street and east on Myrtle Avenue to a temporary terminus at Marcy Avenue. An extension to Broadway, then known as Division Avenue, at Bushwick was completed in December 1854.[5] Myrtle Avenue itself had only been extended to Broadway from Cripplebush Road (today's Bedford Avenue) in 1852.[6] On the second day of the horsecar's operation, a boy was injured while surfing outside one of the vehicles; author Brian Cudahy described this as a "'sport' that would soon become quite popular with Brooklyn youth".[3]:25–26

The Brooklyn City Railroad had planned to build a system of several horsecar lines across Brooklyn, but was only able to start horsecar service along Myrtle Avenue after buying the operating rights of a stage coach line that had been operated by Seymour L. Husted.[3]:25–26 The 3.43-mile-long (5.52 km) line was double-tracked and took 33 to 37 minutes for horsecars to traverse. The route was originally plied by fifteen horsecars, each pulled by four horses.[7] The fare was originally four cents.[8]

In August 1879, the City Railroad extended the line one block east from Broadway to Bushwick Avenue, and acquired trackage rights over the Bushwick Railroad's Bushwick Avenue Line (which used Myrtle Avenue east of Bushwick Avenue) to Myrtle Avenue Park in Ridgewood, Queens. At Ridgewood, connections could be made to two steam dummy lines to local cemeteries—the Cypress Hills Line, and later the Lutheran Line.[9] The City Railroad acquired these cemetery lines on July 27, 1888, with the lease of the Bushwick Railroad.[10]

Trolley serviceEdit

Myrtle Avenue horse cars were replaced with electric trolleys by July 1893.[11] The line was extended over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row Terminal in Lower Manhattan on February 15, 1898, along with three others, including the Graham Avenue Line.[12] Cars reached the bridge by turning off Myrtle Avenue onto Washington Street, on trackage originally built for the DeKalb Avenue Line, and turning into Sands Street on trackage from the Graham Avenue Line.[13] The Myrtle Avenue Line was also one of seven that were moved to the new elevated structure on the Brooklyn Bridge on September 28, 1908; the lines accessed the structure using the Sands Street elevated station, on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Cars returned to the old route along Myrtle Avenue and Fulton Street to the split for the new structure at Tillary Street.[3]:222[14] A separate summer-only service, called the Myrtle-Culver Line, also ran along the Myrtle Avenue surface line. It connected Ridgewood with Coney Island. It ran west on Myrtle Avenue from Ridgewood to Vanderbilt Avenue, and turned south there, using the Vanderbilt Avenue Line and Culver Line trackage to Coney Island.[13]

The Myrtle Avenue Line was combined with the Court Street Line, which had also used the Brooklyn Bridge elevated tracks, to form the Myrtle Avenue and Court Street Line on April 3, 1938.[15] This new route began at Garnett Street and Hamilton Avenue in Gowanus, and ran north on Court Street to Borough Hall and east on Myrtle Avenue to Palmetto Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Ridgewood.[16] In February 1944, service was rerouted via Navy Street, Ashland Place and Willoughby Street instead of Jay Street and Adams Street. On July 27, 1944, service was rerouted in both directions via Adams Street between Willoughby Street and Myrtle Avenue.[17] After elevated railroads stopped operating on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1944, the trolley routes began using the former elevated railroad tracks.[18]

Bus serviceEdit

A B54 bus terminating at Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

Beginning in the 1920s, many streetcar lines in Queens, Brooklyn, and the rest of the city began to be replaced by buses, particularly after the unification of the city's three primary transit companies (including the BMT) under municipal operations in June 1940.[19] On June 30, 1949, the New York City Board of Estimate approved the full motorization of the Myrtle Avenue and Court Street Line with buses.[20] The line was officially replaced by city-owned buses on July 17, 1949, and the route was split in two. Service along Myrtle Avenue was designated B54 ("B" being the designation for buses based in Brooklyn), and the line along Court Street was designated the B66. The eastern terminal of the B54 was moved to Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Street, and it western terminal was changed to Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue.[16] Service on the B54 was initially provided with ten buses, while B66 service was provided with eight buses.[21] On September 17, 1954, the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) approved a plan to cut Brooklyn bus service by 10%, including the elimination of B54 service between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. to cut costs.[22] Free transfers would have been provided between the B53 and B57 to make up for the loss of evening and overnight B54 service.[23][24][25] On January 20, 1955, the NYCTA approved a resolution to defer the planned service cuts until after July 1, 1955 pending additional ridership checks.[26]

The Myrtle Avenue bus line had been located under the Myrtle Avenue Elevated for its entire length since the elevated line opened in 1889.[27][28] Bus service along the corridor took 34 minutes, 11 minutes longer than the elevated trains.[29] On October 4, 1969, the Myrtle Avenue Elevated west of the Broadway station was abandoned, the bus line became the only transportation option on Myrtle Avenue west of Broadway.[30] Bus service was increased by 700%, with service running as frequently as every 2.5 minutes during rush hours and every 20 minutes overnight.[31] Some of the increased service was provided by new short-turn trips that ran between Downtown Brooklyn and Broadway, with a terminal loop of Myrtle Avenue, Lewis Avenue, Stockton Street and Broadway.[32][33] In addition, a special transfer was given to B54 riders between the Jay Street–Borough Hall and Myrtle Avenue–Broadway subway stations, allowing travelers who had used the Myrtle Avenue Elevated to make the connection via the bus.[34]

Following the September 11 attacks, additional security measures were implemented at MetroTech Center, including the rerouting of B54 service out of MetroTech.[35] On July 1, 2007, the travel path of the B54's terminal loop in Downtown Brooklyn was reversed to improve traffic flow and to provide faster service to the Jay Street subway station.[36] Service started terminating at the newly-opened Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal, located on Palmetto Street, on August 20, 2010. Palmetto Street was closed to all traffic except for New York City Transit buses and deliveries. The terminal is bordered on the south by the intersection of Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues and on the north by St. Nicholas Avenue.[37] The change provided easier transfers between the B54, the subway and the other five bus routes using the terminal.[38]

On November 7, 2010, direct service through MetroTech was restored as westbound service was rerouted off Flatbush Avenue Extension and Tillary Street, and onto Duffield Street and the MetroTech Roadway.[39] The change was possible because the tenant that required the security measures was leaving MetroTech; it was expected to improve reliability and provide faster service to the subway.[35]

On April 8, 2012, eastbound bus service was rerouted off of Fulton Mall, Fulton Street and Ashland Place. Instead, bus service continued via Jay Street, Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension before returning to Myrtle Avenue.[40]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c MTA Regional Bus Operations. "B54 bus schedule" (PDF). Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures". mta.info. August 28, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Cudahy, Brian J. (2009). How We Got to Coney Island: The Development of Mass Transportation in Brooklyn and Kings County. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-2211-7. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  4. ^ See:
  5. ^ "Brooklyn Common Council". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 23, 1854. p. 2. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Armbruster, Eugene L. (1912). The Eastern District of Brooklyn. p. 183.
  7. ^ Roess, Roger P.; Sansone, Gene (August 23, 2012). The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 76. ISBN 978-3-642-30484-2.
  8. ^ The Brooklyn City and Kings County Record: A Budget of General Information : with a Map of the City, an Almanac, and an Appendix, Containing the New City Charter. Compiled and published by William H. Smith. 1855. p. 87.
  9. ^ "Myrtle Avenue Extension". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 18, 1879. p. 4. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  10. ^ "The Lease Ratified. And the Brooklyn City Will Operate Eastern District Lines". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 27, 1888. p. 4. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  11. ^ "How the New Tax is Levied". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 17, 1893. p. 10. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  12. ^ "Thousands Cross in Bridge Trolleys". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 16, 1898. p. 16. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Carl-Axel Rheborg, Pocket Guide to New York, 1906, Page 65
  14. ^ New York Department of Plant and Structures, Brooklyn Bridge, 1883-1933 Archived March 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (also at Google Books)
  15. ^ Linder, Bernard (October 1970). "Chronological List of Brooklyn Trolley Changes" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroader's Association. 13 (5): 3–8.
  16. ^ a b Report for the three and one-half years ending June 30, 1949. New York City Board of Transportation. 1949. p. 49. hdl:2027/mdp.39015023094926.
  17. ^ Linder, Bernard (August 1965). "BMT Trolley Routes 1940-1956" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders' Association: 3–9.
  18. ^ Electric Railroaders Association (1949). Headlights. Electric Railroaders Association. Retrieved April 6, 2020. After the abandonment of elevated service [which was March 5, 1944], the "el" terminals at the ends of the bridge were demolished together with the approaches mentioned [the elevated trolley structure]. Overhead wire was strung along the elevated tracks on the bridge and a number of new switches together with new track was constructed together with 7 new loops at Park Row... Trolleys began using the old "el" tracks December 15, 1944.
  19. ^ Sparberg, Andrew J. (October 1, 2014). From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA. Fordham University Press. pp. 6–9. ISBN 978-0-8232-6190-1.
  20. ^ "Shifts to Buses Okayed by Board". Long Island Star-Journal. Fultonhistory.com. July 1, 1949. p. 7. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  21. ^ "Buses to Replace Crosstown Trolley". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 14, 1949. Retrieved September 30, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "B'klyn Surface Lines Service Slashed by TA". New York Daily News. September 17, 1954. p. 78. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  23. ^ "Transit Authority Proposes Cut In Local Bus Service". Queens Ledger. November 11, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  24. ^ "'Brooklyn' Program Hits Queens: TA Slashes Service On Two Bus Lines". Long Island Star-Journal. November 6, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  25. ^ "Hearing Monday on Proposed City Bus Service Changes: Metropolitan, Myrtle and Grand Street Lines Affected by New York Transit Authority's Recommendations". Ridgewood Times. November 11, 1954. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  26. ^ Minutes and Proceedings of the New York City Transit Authority Volume IV. New York City Transit Authority. 1955. pp. 956, 1548.
  27. ^ "To Greenwood on Thursday". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 14, 1889. p. 1. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Fifth Avenue Elevated to Greenwood". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 15, 1889. p. 6. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  29. ^ Merlis, George (March 3, 1965). "The Myrtle Ave. El Rolls Into Dispute: Politicians Propose Its Removal". Brooklyn World-Telegram. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  30. ^ "1,200 on Last Trip on Myrtle Ave. El". The New York Times. October 4, 1969. p. 23. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  31. ^ "Part of Aged Myrtle Ave. El To Close Sat". New York and Brooklyn Daily. October 3, 1969. Archived from the original on April 20, 2020. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  32. ^ Proceedings of the New York City Transit Authority Relating to Matters Other Than Operation. New York City Transit Authority. 1969. pp. 372–373.
  33. ^ "Bus Schedule & Guide Route B54 Myrtle Ave". New York City Transit Authority. October 4, 1969. Retrieved April 14, 2020 – via Flickr.
  34. ^ B-54 Myrtle Avenue Route transfers: towards Jay Street–Borough Hall and Broadway–Myrtle Avenue (via thejoekorner.com)
  35. ^ a b "B54 Returns to MetroTech Center and Eastern Bronx Bus Service Revised". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 20, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  36. ^ "Bus Service Notices Brooklyn". mta.nyc.ny.us. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2008. Archived from the original on January 8, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  37. ^ Bush, Daniel (August 24, 2010). "MTA opens $10M Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal - When the combined powers of mother nature and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority go awry straphangers living in two-fare zones often pay the highest price. Those are the people who must take a ..." queensledger.com. Queens Ledger. Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  38. ^ "New Ridgewood Intermodal Terminal". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 26, 2010. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  39. ^ "B54 Returns to MetroTech Center". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 4, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
  40. ^ "Effective Sunday, April 8, 2012 Eastbound B54 buses rerouted in Downtown Brooklyn". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2012. Retrieved January 3, 2020.

Route map:

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