Various logos and graphic representations have been used for NYC transit companies over the years, but the handsomest has been the interlocking “TA” used by the New York City Transit Authority in the unofficial NYC colors of orange and blue, slanted forward to give the impression of traveling at speed.

The NYC Transit Authority was created in 1953 from the old NYC Board of Transportation, which handled the IND, BMT and IRT subway lines after they were unified under one aegis in 1940 and run by the City. The NYCTA then ran the subways, els and bus lines.

In turn, the NYCTA merged with the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA) in 1968 to create the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which has used various logotypes employing a large M over the years. None of them can match the old TA logo, however.

ForgottenFan Richard Concepcion: MaBSTOA was created as a non-civil service TA subsidiary (bearing a companion OA logo) to take over Fifth Ave.Coach along with the remaining related private Motor Coach services left in Manhattan and The Bronx in the early 1960’s. The state in 1967 then created the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority to take over the Long Island Railroad from the bankrupt Pennsylvania Railroad. After the passing of the Transportation Bond Issue later that year, accompanying legislation the following year reorganized the MCTA into today’s MTA, placing the TA and MaBSTOA under their state management, along with the TBTA (Triboro Bridge & Tunnel), and in further years, also adding SIRTOA (Staten Island Rapid Transit), Penn Central’s Harlem, Hudson, & New Haven Lines) and the NY portions of the Erie-Lackawana’s Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Lines (today part of Metro North). MSBA buses in Nassau County were also added but spun off several years ago.

Nothing is as simple as it seems.


Categorized in: One Shots Signs


  1. Allan Rosen says:

    Here is another complexity. The logo pictured, which I agree is the handsomest of them all is actually blue and red, not blue and orange, the NYC colors. Your logo is just faded from the sun.

  2. Jeff B. says:

    This was always my favorite NYC Subway logo; from the 1st time I saw it on the 1964 Subway Map – World’s Fair Version. Picture if you will, a 3rd grader killing time after one of the Iowa Tests. It was time to draw. So, what did I create? I drew the submarine Seaview from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” complete with the TA logo on the conning tower, under the fin. NYC’s newest form of Rapid Transit.

    Yes, this 50 year old piece of useless information has been pulled way too easily from my mind…

    PS: I believe the “a” was Red, not Orange.

  3. John says:

    They did the 1964 TA logo in two different color schemes — the first, which showed up on the R-32s, the R-33WF and the R-36WF, was a dark blue and red scheme, while the later one, which debuted with the R-38s, was a slightly lighter blue with orange. It lasted through 1968 and the creation of the boring ‘M’ logo.

    The TA logo pictured above has the lighter blue shading, but I think it’s just the faded version of the original color scheme. It would be nice if they’d repaint it, but knowing the MTA if their suits ever found out it was still there, they’re replace it with the plug-ugly current corporate logo.

  4. andy says:

    Just want to fix the earlier posting to make it more accurate:

    MABSTOA was created, rather suddenly in March 1962, to take over the Manhattan and Bronx (and a bit of Queens) bus operations of Fifth Avenue Coach and its subsidiary Surface Transit, due to a strike that shut it down for three weeks. The strike was overtly provoked by a new management team that attempted to fire some long time workers despite the existence of a union contract. An unrelated small private firm, Avenue B and East Broadway Transit, continued to operate two short bus routes on the Lower East Side till it went out of business in 1980 was absorbed into MABSTOA.

    NY State in 1965, created the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority specifically to buy the Long Island Rail Road from the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was not yet in bankruptcy. After the passing of the 1967 Transportation Bond Issue, accompanying legislation reorganized the MCTA into today’s MTA effective March 1, 1968. The TA and MaBSTOA became components of the new MTA, along with the TBTA (Triboro Bridge & Tunnel Authority), now MTA Bridges and Tunnels. As noted, the remaining NY State commuter railroads were folded in later; those are all now Metro-North.

    These events are covered in my new book, From a Nickel to a Token, published by Fordham University Press in November 2014.

    • ali weddington says:

      hello.. my name is ali weddington.. i would love an opportunity to speak with you regarding Mabstoa in the 60s

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