Remembering the Brown Bus with the Orange Band – Inter City Lines

Remembering the Brown Bus with the Orange Band – Inter City Lines

Journeys into Maywood

Much of Maywood’s history is connected to transportation. The introduction of the railroad to town forms the basis for the start of modern day Maywood.

Also important in the community’s history was the role of the trolley from Paterson to the ferry at Edgewater. Not only did it serve as an important transportation connector, but it was the reason for moving Maywood’s business core from Elm Avenue to Pleasant Avenue.

Being of the post-war Baby Boom period I have only foggy memories of passenger train service passing through town – I was more familiar with the Erie Lackawanna North-South line later to be known as the Pascack Valley Line than the Susquehanna’s east-west line. In my early years (1950’-60’s), the train was being marginalized and dismissed in favor of bus transportation. Multiple bus lines could take you to the new and gleaming Port Authority Bus Terminal just off of Time Square for less than 60 cents. There were also buses across the G.W. Bridge to connect to the IRT & IND subways at 168th Street and Broadway just across the street from the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

And back then the competition between bus lines was real. Public Service was the largest carrier (It is now NJ Transit). The official name was Public Service Consolidated Transportation. A wing of the utility company now called PSE&G, Public Service’s transport unit was the result of many small companies being saved by this merging larger company.

The Red and Tan Lines, Westwood Lines and Manhattan Lines also served the area around Maywood.

Locally, however, one bus company now mostly forgotten was an important fixture in town. That was the Inter City Bus Lines, which served communities between Paterson and New York on a number of routes.

And, as importantly the Inter City Lines maintained a headquarters  in town – at the corner of Passaic Street and the Esplanade – now the site of the Seniors Housing (Lydecker Manor)– there just beside the border to Hackensack.

Back then the 45 came through town (its remnants are the 171 of NJ Transit – a combination of the 45 and 41 as well as Public Service’s old #80 line). But there were also some routes that ended at the garage. It was a large building that also included a ticket office in its front.

According to one local history, the garage was originally built by the Garden State Bus Lines that, according to a local history, started service of the #41 line (Ridgewood-New York) in had initiated the #45 line in 1934. The next year (1935) Garden State built its terminal and garage at that spot at Passaci &  the Esplanade.

Other lines were added (i.e. 45), and then in 1941 Garden State merged into the Inter City Lines.

Inter City had the image of being taking the most pride in its buses – they were cleaner and the most reliably on time. Their ridership tended to be mostly commuters to the city – it was less of a family crowd than the other lines and fewer students.

In addition to its routes connecting Bergen and Passaic Counties to New York there was a route to Jersey City (97), a couple of routes to Upstate New York (Borscht Belt), and one locally known as the “Brown Bomber” (#50 connecting Hackensack to New Milford – now merged into the 762 local route).

Back then riders were loyal to brands. They were also loyal to bus lines. There was a trust between company and rider. Inter City earned at kept the loyalty of its customers for many years (especially in the 1950’s). The ad makes reference to “The Brown Bus with the Orange Band”. My Mom never spoke of Inter City but “The Brown & Orange”. She was one of the loyal riders.

By the late 1960’s, however, auto traffic had eclipsed all other modes of transportation.

Before long Inter City was gone.

It first became known as the Maplewood Equipment Company in the 1970's and then was merged into NJ Transit.

The old terminal was torn down in the early 1980's.

Today only a few “old timers” remember.

Remembering the Brown Bus with the Orange Band – Inter City Lines Remembering the Brown Bus with the Orange Band – Inter City Lines

Photo credit: Maywood – The Borough, The Railroad, and The Station, by Edward S. Kamisnki, Acadia Publishing, 2010 – Originally from the Maywood Station Museum Collection