Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fort Wayne Public Transportation Corporation (FW-PTC)

I didn't get my driver's license until I was nineteen gasp.

Neither of my grandparents drove - EVER. My grandfather's eyesight was too bad and my grandmother just never felt the need. Living with them in downtown-ish Fort Wayne, our choices were to walk or to take the bus.

Yes, you read that right - the bus.

I don't know when my first PTC bus ride was however, I wouldn't be surprised if it was before I was able to walk.

There are things about the PTC that I remember like it was yesterday.

* The fishbowl-type shape of the front of the bus

* The changer located to the right of the bus driver (gosh! but I loved dropping the coins in!)

* Oh! And at one time, all of the bus drivers carried one of those silver coin changers on their belt too.

* The thick, silver-like string that I lived to pull. You know - it was the thing that made a ding - signaling to the driver that you were ready to get off at the next stop.

Now, about that string you pulled - there was quite an art to how you pulled it and a science to when you pulled it.


You had to be really mindful of giving the bus driver enough time to stop. Some of the bus stops though were close enough together that if you didn't time it right, you may have to get off at the wrong stop.

So are you wondering where we had the bus take us?


To the mall (Southtown - yes - really!). To downtown. To Times Corner. To Franke Park. To McMillan Park.

When I was around eleven, I was allowed to board the bus by myself (as long as my mom or grandma knew where I was going).

I was never scared or intimidated.

People never bothered me.

I never bothered anyone.

Most of the time, I just looked out the window and took in the scenery.

It was quiet time for me.

I thought and reflected without knowing I was thinking and reflecting.

Wow! Those were the days...


Bobby G. said...

Wow indeed.
We used to have the PTC in Philly, then it became SEPTA.

The bus you show is one of the "newer" ones (late 60s-early 70s) I recall. We used to have buses like the ones Ralph Cramden used to drive!

And that got ME thinking back to Philly, when we had the TRACKLESS TROLLEYS (like you used to have in Fort Wayne) taking us to HIGH SCHOOL (that's right...none of that yellow bus stuff for us)!

That was even before the seats became ALL PLASTIC - they were actually soft, cushioned "pleather" and nice on the old!

The coin catchers we had were of a "zig-zag" design (no digital), like those gumball machines we see today. Took a few seconds for the coins to get in the box, but it was cool to watch and listen.

The center doors were pressure sensitive, and a really small child had to be carried off, lest the doors close on them (we just weren't HEAVY enough). And if you knew exactly WHERE to squeeze, you could OPEN the door from the OUTSIDE.

We even had TRACKED trolleys on some avenues...with a conducter at the CENTER door to take your money (with that coin changer on HIS belt).

There used to be LOTS of real public transit that one could feel SAFE on back in the day. Heck, I even remember nodding off while STANDING UP on the Frankford EL train! Now THAT is safe!
A shame you can't say as much today.

Great post...enjoyed the memories.



Anonymous said...

I remember in the mid 60's going to the PTC Grounds on Leesburg and playing pool with the drivers in the mornings before school .I would go out to the shed and walk the line looking for the number we had that day and would get to start the bus.I remember Louis Sims,Charlie,and a older guy I think was named Dewight,that kids thought was mean.These guys drove us to Portage.I lived on Main had the paper route out main to Lindenwood cemetary and would shotcut through the cemetary yo Montclair st to finish my route.The last delivery was always the PTC station

user666468952002 said...

they still use that bus today!!!!