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Double-decker bus

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Double-decker bus

A London AEC Routemaster in April 2002.

A double-decker bus is a bus that has two storeys or decks. Double-decker buses are used for mass transit in the United Kingdom, an iconic example being the red London bus. Double-decker buses are also used in many other cities around the world.

Early double-deckers put the driver in a separate cab. Passenger access was via an open platform at the rear, and a conductor would collect fares. Modern double-deckers have a main entrance door at the front, and the driver takes fares, thus halving the number of bus workers aboard, but slowing the boarding process. The rear open platform, popular with passengers, was abandoned for safety reasons, as there was a risk of passengers running and jumping into the bus.

Double-deckers are primarily for commuter transport but open-top models are used as sight-seeing buses for tourists. William Gladstone, speaking of London's double-deck horse drawn omnibuses, once observed, "...the best way to see London is from the top of a bus".[1]


  • By country 1
    • Europe 1.1
      • United Kingdom 1.1.1
      • Isle of Man 1.1.2
      • Republic of Ireland 1.1.3
      • Denmark 1.1.4
      • Germany 1.1.5
      • Macedonia 1.1.6
      • Turkey 1.1.7
      • France 1.1.8
      • Russia 1.1.9
      • Spain 1.1.10
        • Bilbao
      • Sweden 1.1.11
    • Africa 1.2
    • Asia 1.3
      • Bangladesh 1.3.1
      • Sri Lanka 1.3.2
      • Singapore 1.3.3
      • Malaysia 1.3.4
      • Philippines 1.3.5
      • South Korea 1.3.6
      • Thailand 1.3.7
      • Japan 1.3.8
      • People's Republic of China 1.3.9
      • Hong Kong 1.3.10
      • India 1.3.11
      • Indonesia 1.3.12
      • Macau 1.3.13
    • North America 1.4
      • Canada 1.4.1
      • Mexico 1.4.2
      • United States 1.4.3
    • Oceania 1.5
      • Australia 1.5.1
      • New Zealand 1.5.2
    • South America 1.6
      • Argentina 1.6.1
      • Bolivia 1.6.2
      • Brazil 1.6.3
      • Ecuador 1.6.4
      • Chile 1.6.5
      • Peru 1.6.6
  • Compared to articulated buses 2
  • Collision with bridges 3
  • In popular culture 4
  • Types of double-decker buses 5
  • See also 6
  • Footnotes 7
  • External links 8

By country

Cities listed here have double-decker buses as part of their regular mass transit fleet. Cities with only tourist and sightseeing double-decker buses are excluded.


United Kingdom

Double-decker buses are in common use throughout the United Kingdom, and have been favoured over articulated buses by many operators because of the shorter length of double-deckers and larger amount of seating capacity; they also may be safer to operate through the narrow streets and tight corners common in Britain. The majority of double-decker buses in the UK are between 9.5 metres (31 ft 2 in) and 11.1 metres (36 ft 5 in) long, the latter being more common since the mid-1990s, though there are three-axle 12-metre (39-foot-4-inch) models in service with some operators. Double-decker coaches in the UK have traditionally been 12.0 metres (39 feet 4 inches) in length, though many newer models are about 13.75 metres (45 ft 1 in). The maximum permissible length of a rigid double-decker bus and coach in the UK is 15.0 metres (49 ft 3 in), and although there are no theoretical restrictions on height, coaches are normally built to 4.38 metres (14 ft 4 in) high, while 'highbridge' buses are normally about 20 centimetres (8 in) taller. Articulated double-deckers are also allowed at a maximum length of 18.75 metres (61 ft 6 in).

In 1941, Miss Phyllis Thompson became the first woman licensed to drive a double-decker vehicle in England. She drove for the bus company Messrs. Felix Motors Ltd, then at Hatfield near Doncaster.[2][3]

The red double-decker buses in London have become a national symbol of England and United Kingdom. The majority of buses in London are double-deckers. Right after the Second World War the first double-decker buses were the AEC Regent II and AEC Regent III models. A particularly iconic example was the Routemaster bus, which had been a staple of the public transport network in London for nearly half a century following its introduction in 1956. Because of cited difficulties accommodating disabled passengers, the last remaining Routemasters in use finally retired from general service in 2005. Transport for London has continued to keep these vintage buses in operation on heritage route 15H,[4] there was formerly a second heritage route (9H) but this ceased operation in 2014 due to low patronage and increased operation costs.[5]

Since 2008, a New Routemaster has been developed and entered service on 20 February 2012, in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

In 2007, a hybrid-powered double-decker entered service on London Buses route 141. From late 2008, more hybrid double-deckers from three manufacturers entered service in London.

In October 2015, London plans to add five all-electric double-decker buses - the world's first - made by Chinese firm BYD.[6]

Isle of Man

Bus Vannin operate several double-deckers on routes all across the island

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, the majority of buses operated in and around Greater Dublin by Dublin Bus are double-deckers. There are 936 double-decker buses (second after London) in the company's fleet of 942.

The Bus Éireann company also utilises double-decker buses on some of its short-haul routes, such as the Dublin to Dundalk service. Double-deckers are also common on some of the company's suburban routes in Cork city.


Since 1970, various operators of Copenhagen city transport were using double-deckers—originally Leyland, in 1980s-90s MAN and in 2000s Volvo, derivates of model B7.[7]


NEOMAN A39 in Berlin, Germany

In Germany, double-decker buses in Berlin are operated by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). The fleet of double-decker buses in Berlin fell from 1,000 in 1992 to 450 in 2002. The models in operation in 2002 were 13.5 metres (44 ft 3 in) long and held around 95 passengers. The replacements, which are supplied by Neoman Bus, are 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) longer. The new buses are able to hold 128 passengers.[8]


Double deckers specially designed for Skopje public transport

The Macedonian government bought 202 double-decker city buses for local transport in Skopje, the capital. The first shipment of 68 custom-made buses arrived in Skopje in 2011 from China’s Zhengzhou Yutong factory. The buses were put into operation on 8 September, coinciding with the day of Macedonian independence. This model of bus has capacity for 80 passengers.[9]


In Turkey, the Istanbul public transit system (IETT) runs 89 double-decker buses on longer-distance routes, most notably commuter buses crossing the Bosphorus Bridge linking the European and the Asian sides of the city. Double-decker buses are also used on routes to and from Taksim Square to far-flung western suburbs such as Büyükçekmece and Bahcesehir.


Left, double-decker bus Schneider Brillié P2; Center, double decker horse-drawn omnibus.

The first double-decker bus was invented in Paris in 1853; it was a horse-drawn omnibus. The upper floor was cheaper and often uncovered.

The first double-decker motor bus in Paris, Schneider Brillié P2, appeared in 1906. It was designed to allow more passengers and to replace the horse-drawn double-decker omnibus. Like trams and omnibuses, double-decker motor buses include several classes: the first, inside the car and the second class on the deck outdoors. But this type of vehicle disappeared in 1911 because one of these buses overturned at place de l'Étoile; following this incident the P2s lost their upper deck and were renamed as P3.

It's not until 1966 that the RATP retried the experience of double-decker bus on two lines in Paris. A prototype built by Berliet (type E-PCMR), was put in service in 1966. An order was placed for 25 vehicles. The commissioning of the first production car was effective on June 19, 1968 on line 94, Gare Montparnasse - Levallois. The February 17, 1969, line 53, Opera - Porte d'Asnieres, in turn, was equipped with this model. But the traffic problems make it definitively abandon this vehicle in 1977, because this type of bus is poorly suited to the structure of the Paris network, the stops being too close to each other which prevented people from going upstairs. Hence, there are no Parisian mass transit lines using double-decker buses.


A MAN SD200 double-decker bus on route #150 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Double-decker buses in Russia are currently operated in the city of Barnaul, capital of Altai Krai. The fleet of double-decker buses in Barnaul consist of MAN SD200 and MAN SD 202 buses imported from Berlin. Those buses are in use on routes 3, 10 and 17. Some cities in Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, have plans to begin operation of double-decker buses; in the mid-1990s, some double-deckers were operated briefly in St. Petersburg.


Double deck bus in Bilbao.

Double-decker buses have recently been introduced (2014) by the city bus operator Bilbobus. They are not the first double deck vehicles in the city as ex-London Transport Q1 trolleybuses were sold to Bilbao after the end of London trolleybus operations in 1962 and were operated until the system's closure in 1978.[10] Initially, six vehicles are operating on Bilbobus route 56. They have a capacity of 132 passengers - 80 seated and fifty standing.


Left, SL VDL Synergy double-decker bus at Norrtälje .

Sweden bought in 1965 50 Leyland Atlantean double-decker buses with Park Royal bodies. Leyland claimed they were the first double-decker buses with one man operation. They had two staircases and two pairs of doors.[11] The Atlanteans were not replaced at the end of their revenue service life in 1974. Recently, however, in 2011 double-deckers returned to Sweden on revenue duties with 'VDL Synergy' on in the SL Stockholm 676 Östra - Norrtälje line. Norrtälje is located around 70 km north of Stockholm.


A double-decker bus at Alexandria

Double-decker buses can be found in most locations of Africa, such as Johannesburg (Metrobus), City of Tshwane, and Cape Town (Golden Arrow Bus Services).



A double decker bus in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation operates a fleet of Ashok Leyland and Volvo B10M/Alexander buses on the streets of Dhaka and Chittagong.

Sri Lanka

A double-decker bus at Godagama, on the 122 route from Maharagama to Avissawella, Sri Lanka (2009).

In the 1950s, double-decker buses of the South Western Bus Company plied on the Galle Road in Colombo, Sri Lanka. These were taken over by the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) when all bus services were nationalised in 1958. Beginning around 1959, large numbers of second-hand double-decker buses of the RT, RTL and RTW classes were imported by the CTB from London Transport, and ran in their original red livery with the oval CTB logo painted on the sides. These buses were phased out beginning in the mid-1970s, and none remain in service. Later, around 1985, 40 ex-London Routemaster entered service. One Routemaster bus is run by the Sirasa TV and radio station.

Today's buses in Sri Lanka include Routemaster (Currently phased out in order to make way for Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Nordic and incoming First Western Dennis Trident 2/Plaxton President - 2001/02), MCW Metrobus (including 12m parts), Leyland Atlantean, and Dennis Trident 2 (1999/2000), plus some of the Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Vyking and Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Nordic buses.


A Dennis Trident with Duple Metsec DM5000 bodywork, part of the newer fleet of low-floor buses, in Singapore.

In October 1953, a single AEC Regent III double-decker from the fleet of General Transport Company, Kuala Lumpur (KL), was sent to Singapore for demonstration. It was used on service by the Singapore Traction Company for two weeks. After that, it was inspected by two other bus companies, and then sent back to KL. However, no orders for double-deckers immediately followed.

Singapore Bus Service (SBS, now known as SBS Transit), the only large-scale operator of double-decker buses in Singapore, launched their first double-decker bus service on 13 June 1977 with 20 Leyland Atlanteans running on service 86 (Tampines Way - Shenton Way), launched to the funfare by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communications Ong Teng Cheong. The fleet grew steadily, with the further introduction of the Mercedes-Benz O305 and the Leyland Olympian. The Leyland Olympian, the first air-conditioned double-decker bus, named the "Superbus" in recognition of its record-breaking 12-metre (39 ft 4 12 in) length, was launched in 1993. The Volvo B10TL, the first stepless, ultra low floor "Superbus" was launched in 1999. Volvo B9TL wheelchair accessible buses began to be introduced in 2006. Currently, SBS Transit has a fleet of over 1000 double-decker buses, all of which are air-conditioned. Additionally, SMRT will also purchase 201 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 to replace all the articulated bus models for use on trunk services, where it discourages road congestion.


A Rapid KL Alexander Dennis Enviro500 during a test run in Cheras, Malaysia.

Malaysia has historically seen the use of double-decker buses in mass transit to varying degrees, but were significantly limited in use due operational costs and driving spaces needed for such buses. Early double-decker municipal buses primarily existed in Penang between the late 1940s and the early 1960s, when double-deckers were eventually withdrawn in favour of more compact single-deck buses.

The earliest recorded use of double-deckers by Malayan bus companies was in Selangor in 1948 when the Toong Fong Omnibus Company acquired two Park Royal-built Guy Arab IIIs at a cost of M$40,000 each; the General Transport Company (GTC) followed by acquiring Park Royal-built AEC Regent IIIs. While the buses saw service for over a decade, all of them were taken out of service for a variety of reasons and were never replaced with new double-deckers; the buses were often obstructed by narrow streets, trees, low bridges, and increasing overhead wires, while passengers eventually favoured staying on the lower deck of the bus; the cost of operating the buses was also higher due to a local vehicle tax calculated based on the number of seats of a taxed vehicle. One Toong Fong double-decker was burned in the late-1950s by communist insurgents, while the remaining double-deckers were ultimately disused by the mid-1960s due to age. The successor of the GTC, Sri Jaya, experimented with a reintroduction of double-deckers in 1989 by leasing a Singapore-assembled, 102-seat Leyland Olympian for use within Kuala Lumpur for 6 months, but found that street conditions were problematic as before and discontinued the use of the bus after the trial.

In London Transport as an experiment for the possible use of double-decker buses in George Town. Poor performance results and the advancing ages of the buses, coupled with efforts to replace the entire trolleybus fleet with single-deck diesel-powered buses in the 1960s, led to the withdrawal of the only double-deck buses in early Penangite public transport.

Following increasing public bus ridership, more open roadways and the feasibility of operating double-deck Hop-On Hop-Off tourist buses within Kuala Lumpur, Prasarana Malaysia purchased 40 (revised from an earlier 111) Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double-decker buses in 2014 to serve high volume Rapid KL Rapid Bus routes; with a capacity of 108 passengers each, it is double that of a contemporary single-deck bus in the fleet. The first five buses of the batch entered service in September 2015. Feasibility studies are also being conducted by Prasarana Malaysia on the reintroduction of double-deckers in Penang through Rapid Penang's bus service.

Beyond mass transit, double-deckers have already seen wide use as long-distance coaches since the late-2000s in response to growing demand for intercity travel.


Presently double-decker buses are used by the Mall of Asia Arena (Higer KLQ6119GSE3 B91H-series) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (King Long XMQ6110GS). Former operators were Matorco, which introduced such buses to the Philippines, and the Metro Manila Transit Corporation (Leyland Atlantean).

South Korea

In 2014, a fleet of 20 double-decker buses was introduced for commuters making the journey between the capital Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi Province and nearby Incheon city in 2015 as a pilot project.[12]


Double deckers are also commonly found in Thailand nowadays. Previously there are Volvo B10M with Alexander bodies available.


A Mitsubishi Fuso Aero King arrived at Tokyo station as "Dream-go"
A Neoplan Megaliner arrived at Osaka station as "Seishun Mega Dream"

By Japanese law, vehicles are confined to maximum 3.8 metres (12 ft 6 in) height and 12.0 metres (39 ft 4 in) length. Japanese double-decker buses are mainly used for inter-city highway buses (i.e., motor coaches), city tours, and charter buses. In 1960, Kinki Sharyo and Hino Motors manufactured the first original double-decker bus "Vista Coach" for Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu).

In 1979, Chuo Kotsu, a chartered bus operator in Osaka, imported the Neoplan Skyliner. Skyliner, and the other imported buses: Van Hool Astromega TD824, Drögmöller E440 Meteor, and a few MAN coaches inspired Japanese bus manufactures, who developed three domestic models in the mid-1980s: "Nissan Diesel Space Dream", "Hino Grand View" and "Mitsubishi Fuso Aero King". They did not, however, sell very well as the ceiling was only 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) high. Nevertheless, Aero King was sold for 22 years, but, being unable to meet exhaust gas emission and safety levels, production stopped in 2005.

In 1982, Toei Bus operated Skyliners in Tokyo, between Asakusa and Ueno to 2001. Joban Kotsu operated Skyliners in a trans-Fukushima route: between Iwaki and Aizu-Wakamatsu via Koriyama from 1983 to 1996.

Since the 1990s, JR Buses started to use Aero King for an overnight inter-city highway bus service named "Dream-go". The first Aero King in Dream-go, operated to "Fuku Fuku Tokyo" between Tokyo and Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi with Sanden Kotsu, which was replaced with a "super high-decker" coach in middle of the 1990s, "Fuku Fuku Tokyo," and finally stopped in 2006.

Japanese overnight highway buses are mainly equipped with a three-line, two-aisle (1+1+1) seat configuration with reclining seats. When this configuration is used on an ordinary coach, it has 28, 29 or 31 seats. When this configuration is used on a double-decker bus, it has 36 or 40 seats: the vehicle's price and capacity increase while operating cost decreases.

JR Bus group mainly uses Aero King, Skyliner, and a few Jonckheere Monaco (equipped with Nissan Diesel engine) for inter-city highway bus operations between Kanto (near Tokyo) and Kansai (near Osaka), which is named "Dream-go" (overnight express) and "Hiru-tokkyu" (Daytime Express). The other bus operators, inspired by "Dream-go", increased use of the Aero King for overnight inter-city bus service.

JR Bus Kanto imported four Neoplan Megaliner N128/4, leasing two to an operating partner (from 2003 to 2006, Kanto Railway, since 2006 Nishinihon JR Bus). The Megaliner is 15.0 metres (49 ft 3 in) long, and has 84 seats (with 2+2 configuration), and is operated on an inter-city highway route between Tokyo and Tsukuba, Ibaraki from 2002 to 2005. The Megaliner has also been converted for a low-price overnight highway bus service between Tokyo and Osaka called "Seishun Mega Dream-go," with special authorisation.

People's Republic of China

Several cities in continental China have double-deckers in regular use on certain crowded lines, while some have a few double-deck buses in use on lines which also use single-deck vehicles, e.g. Nanning on line #704 in peak hours. Besides Nanning, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Dalian, Foshan and Kunming also have those buses in service, particularly on routes during rush hours. Larger towns in the developed coastal provinces, including Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, use double-decker buses.

Hong Kong

Double-decker buses in Hong Kong, owned by New World First Bus
Double-decker buses in Hong Kong, owned by Kowloon Motor Bus

The British colony of Hong Kong introduced its first double-decker buses in 1949 by Kowloon Motor Bus. They have become very popular since then, and they are found in large numbers among the fleets of the territory's major bus operators (see below). By law, double-decker buses in Hong Kong are limited to a length of 12.8 metres (42 feet). Today, the majority of buses running in Hong Kong are double-decker buses, and all of them are air-conditioned. Also, Hong Kong has a double-deck trams system, one of three only in the world as of 2013 and the only fleet which is all double-deck.


A modern Ashok Leyland BEST double decker bus
A double decker bus operated by KSRTC in Ernakulam City

In India, Bangalore had double deckers for a while before discontinuing. Madras's Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has a small fleet of double-decker buses mostly in the high-density, longer distance routes. Mumbai has operated double-decker buses since 1937. They are operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is operating double deckers in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi cities. Kolkata and Hyderabad also have double-decker buses. They are modelled on the London buses. Ashok Leyland Titan double decker buses are used in all cities. Articulated double decker buses from Ashok Leyland were used till it was phased out in the early 1990s.


Now, In Jakarta,since 2014, The government of Jakarta was imported 5 double-decker bus from China. And 2 unit bus double-decker company gifts.[13][14]


In the Portuguese territory of Macau, Fok Lei and its successor Transmac used second-hand double-deckers widely from the early 1970s until the late 1980s.[15]

North America


An Alexander Dennis Enviro500 equipped with bike rack, servicing Victoria, British Columbia.

In 2000, Victoria and Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada became the first cities in North America to use modern double-decker buses in their public transit systems. These buses were imported from the United Kingdom and operated by BC Transit, Victoria Regional Transit System and Kelowna Regional Transit System;[16] they have proven to be very popular amongst both locals and tourists. In Victoria, the buses are mainly used on routes that go from downtown to the suburbs, and to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal near Sidney, B.C. They can also be found on routes that head to the University of Victoria and the Western Communities. In December 2007, Chairman of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, Don Amos, announced the purchase of 16 new double-decker buses for the region, worth an estimated $12.8 million CDN. The buses entered service in the summer of 2008.[17]

In July 2006 and February 2007, double-decker buses similar to those in Victoria were being tested in Ottawa, Ontario. OC Transpo, the transit system that operates in Ottawa, has purchased three of these buses. They were delivered in November 2008. Since March 2009, they have been in service across the city of Ottawa. On 20 April 2011, the purchase of an additional 75 double-decker buses was approved and they are expected to enter service on express routes starting in late spring 2012.

GO Transit in Toronto, Ontario started operating 12 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double-decker buses in 2008, with 10 more entering service in 2009.

Strathcona County started a year-long double-decker pilot project[18] in September 2010. Strathcona County Transit is exploring different high-capacity bus types to carry more passengers on the high-demand commuter routes, which are between Strathcona County and Edmonton; an articulated bus is also being evaluated as an alternative. The single double-decker bus used for the evaluation is a fully accessible, low-floor transit bus featuring high-backed seats; it can seat 66 passengers, with capacity for a further 18 passengers to stand (on only the lower level, due to the lack of headroom on the upper level). It is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 and is on a one-year lease from the manufacturer. It is the first double-decker to be used for regular transit service in Alberta.[19]

As of 2013, Strathcona County Transit has decided to order 14 Enviro500s for their service between Sherwood Park and Edmonton, Alberta, with the first arriving in late August and subsequent buses arriving by the spring of 2014.[20] They chose the double-decker over articulated models and motor coaches after completing a year of testing between September, 2010 and October, 2011.[21]


MAN Lion's City DD had also debut in Mexico in May 2014.

United States

A Van Hool US-specification double-decker bus in New York City

In Davis, California, Unitrans, the student-run bus company of University of California, Davis, operates six double-decker buses imported from London. One of these buses has been converted to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) . There was also the prototype GX-1 Scenicruiser of Greyhound Lines, which enters from the first floor: the second floor contains the driver's compartment and more seats.

Citizens Area Transit, the transit authority in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, introduced a fleet of double-deckers to serve the Las Vegas Strip route in October 2005. The route is branded as "The Deuce". As of 2009 it serviced eight lines.

In Snohomish County, Washington, Community Transit operates 23 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double-decker buses, which are used on the 400-series routes (the "most crowded") between Snohomish County and Seattle. An additional 17 "double-tall" buses are on order, for use in 2015.[22]

In San Luis Obispo, California, SLO Transit tested a double-decker bus in late 2008 to see if it would alleviate the over-crowdedness of Route 4. The borrowed bus has been returned, and SLO Transit has purchased one double-decker bus of its own using a combination of Federal, State and local funding. The bus went into operation on 8 September 2010.[23][24]

In Los Angeles County, California, the Antelope Valley Transit Authority uses double-decker buses as part of its commuter service to the Los Angeles area.[25]

Also in Los Angeles, SCRTD used Neoplan AN 122/3 Skyliners double-decker buses from the late 70s until 1993.

New York City phased out double-decker buses in 1960, briefly returning in 1976. In 2008 the Metropolitan Transit Authority briefly ran Van Hool double-decker buses in its' 5th Avenue Line. However, the financial crisis meant the end of the trial period.

In San Francisco, California, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency operated one Alexander Dennis double-decker bus as a demonstrator between 12 December 2007 and 8 January 2008.[26] The bus was running on some high capacity routes as trial.[27]

Also, in the United States, a private operator, Megabus, run by Coach USA, employs double-decker buses on its busier intercity routes.

In California, AC Transit began experimental use of a double-decker bus on the commuter route between Fremont, California and Stanford University in 2015.[28]



Bustech-bodied Cummins double decker in Sydney, Australia
A restored Leyland double decker bus in Sydney on a 2013 historical trip

Double-decker buses plied route services in Sydney from the 1920s until 1986. Popular makers included AEC, Albion and Leyland. Disputes over one-man operation of double-deckers[29] led to the phasing-out of this configuration. Double-deckers were thereafter limited to charter and tourist services.

Double-decker buses were reintroduced to the Sydney area in 2012, with Busways operating regular services from Blacktown to Rouse Hill, in Sydney's north-west. These were expanded in 2013, to traverse routes from Castle Hill and the Northern Beaches to Sydney's CBD.[30]

New Zealand

While double-decker buses have been present in New Zealand for many years, they have so far only been used by tour operators and as a long distance coach service between Auckland and Wellington (operated by Intercity Coachlines) and have not been utilized in the day-to-day operation of public transport in New Zealand since the 1970s.

A single double-decker bus arrived in Auckland in early March 2013 for a trial, with more double-decker buses planned to arrive in 2014, should the trial prove successful. The Scania K320UD bus, operated by Ritchies Coachlines, began revenue service on 11 March 2013 on the well-patronised Northern Express (NEX) route between Albany and Britomart in downtown Auckland via the Northern Busway.[31] In addition, NZ Bus and Howick & Eastern are investigating the use of double-decker buses on the Dominion Road, Mount Eden Road, and Botany to downtown routes.[32]

South America


In Argentina, double-decker buses are the second most widely used means of transport for long distance trips in Argentina, only after airplanes. Argentina is a very big country, and most trips take a lot of hours, so long-distance bus companies offer high quality services which include waiters, hot and cold beverages and regular food. For very long-distance trips, most companies offer buses with large seats that can be pulled back and be shaped into a bed. Double-decker buses are also used by tourists in Buenos Aires where they're used in city-tours.


In Bolivia, double-deck buses are a common means of transportation for long distance trips between large cities such as Departamentos(States) Capitals. These buses also connect Bolivia with different countries. The double deck buses travel to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Chile. The buses are equipped with toilets, and several companies offer buses with large seats called Leito (Bus Cama) that can be pulled back and be shaped into a bed.


Double-decker buses are common in long-distance services interstate and international (as destined for Argentina and Paraguay). It is possible to see VIP double-decker buses also connecting cities in the same state, such as São Paulo City, Sao Jose do Rio Preto and Ribeirao Preto. Inside these buses there are one TV for each person and boarding service for example. Open double-decker are used for city tours (such as Rio de Janeiro and Bahia). In São Paulo, there was an experience of use for urban services in the 80s, but without success due to problems with the height of the vehicle. These buses are fabricated in Brazil and exported to many countries.


Historic Center of Quito, a double-decker bus driving by Carondelet Palace.

Double-decker buses are used in city-tours in Quito, Cuenca and parts of the coast. They are very popular in the touristic district of the Historic District in Quito. Double-decker buses are common on long distance interurban trips.


Double-decker buses are common on long distance interurban trips. Open top double-decker are used in city-tours.


Double-decker buses are common on long distance interurban trips to main cities of the country. Open top double-decker are used in city-tours in Lima downtown and in the touristic district of Miraflores. Pio Delgado Arguedas bought 300 Greyhound buses and was the distributor to sell the buses in South America and Mexico, he also created TEPSA he was the owner for years until he sold his company.

Compared to articulated buses

Double-decker buses may be particularly popular along tourist-friendly routes, such as this open-topped bus offering a local service along the Cornish coast.

Operators worldwide must often decide between articulated and double-decker buses on popular routes. Articulated buses, entirely on one level, offer more room for disabled passengers, luggage and pushchairs; they may also be needed on routes going under low bridges or weak bridges that cannot take high axle loads. Double-decker buses may be more popular with passengers due to the better view, and to cyclists who may be at risk due to the unpredictable swing of an articulated bus's tail. Articulated buses normally offer more standing room while double-decker buses may sometimes (not always) offer more seats. Articulated buses have less dwell time because of the extra doors, while double-decker buses offer less chances for fare dodgers since there are fewer or no unmanned doors.

Collision with bridges

There have been a number of incidents in which a double-decker bus has collided with a low bridge, often a railway bridge. This is often caused by the driver making a wrong turn, driving a route they are unfamiliar with, or being used to driving single-decker buses and forgetting to allow for their vehicle's extra height when driving a double-decker.

A collision with a railroad bridge by a Megabus in September 2010 at Syracuse, New York killed four passengers and injured 17.[33]

In recent years in the United Kingdom, six people had minor injuries after their bus hit a railway bridge at Stockport in July 2013.[34] A bus collided with a railway bridge at Sileby, Leicestershire in June 2014. An empty bus had its roof removed after hitting a railway bridge in Birkenhead in December 2014.[35]

In March 2015, a bus carrying 76 children hit a bridge at Staines, Surrey. Eleven passengers were taken to hospital but none were seriously injured.[36] In the same month, a bus had its roof removed after hitting a railway bridge in Isleworth West London. Fortunately, it was not carrying passengers at the time.[37] A Stagecoach Highlands bus collided with a railway bridge at Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland in April 2015. There were no casualties, one top-deck passenger narrowly escaped injury by throwing himself to the floor.[38]

A bus operated by Bluestar had its roof removed after colliding with a railway bridge at Romsey in May 2015.[39] An incident in July 2015 in Norwood, London also resulted in the removal of the bus' roof; seven people were injured.[40]

In popular culture

The London Booster moving sculpture

In the film Summer Holiday, Cliff Richard and friends drive a double-decker bus fitted out as a caravan across Europe.[41]

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Knight Bus is a triple-decker bus which can fit under bridges due to magic. It is modeled after a double-decker bus.

During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Czech artist David Černý presented his moving sculpture named London Booster, a full-sized "London double-decker bus" (actually ex-Southern Vectis from the Isle of Wight) permanently doing push-ups with hydraulic-powered human-like arms.[42] This was an accompanying installation outside temporarily Czech Olympic House in London borough of Islington.[43][44]

The double decker bus was also a star in a Saturday morning TV series titled Here Come the Double Deckers in the 1970s.[45]

Types of double-decker buses

See also


  1. ^ Elbert Hubbard Little Journeys to the Homes of Good Men and Great (1894–1918) William E. Gladstone The full quote is:
    Then he asked if we were going to London. On being told that we were, he spoke for five minutes about the things we should see in the Metropolis. His style was not conversational, but after the manner of a man who was much used to speaking in public or to receiving delegations. The sentences were stately, the voice rather loud and declamatory. His closing words were: "Yes, gentlemen, the way to see London is from the top of a 'bus—from the top of a 'bus, gentlemen."
  2. ^ Felix Motors Limited 1921-1976. Retrieved 11 August 2010
  3. ^ Contribution to victory. The Associated Equipment Co. Ltd. Page 85. Retrieved 11 August 2010
  4. ^ Routemaster "heritage routes"
  5. ^ "Axe to fall on Routemaster route". Bus & Coach Professional. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ 10 år med dobbeltdækkere i København
  8. ^ Berlin's Double-Deckers to Get Hydrogen Infusion
  9. ^ Sinisa Jakov Marusic. "Skopje prepares for Double-Decker Buses". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Bilbao Picture Gallery
  11. ^
  12. ^ "seoul-to-get-double-decker-buses-to-ease-overcrowding/". Wall Street Journal. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  13. ^ Solo to operate rail bus and double decker
  14. ^ Werkudoro Come to Solo
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ "BC Transit Strategic Plan - BC Transit Background". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Bus fleet getting 16 more double-deckers
  18. ^ "Double-decker Project :: Strathcona County". 2012-04-12. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Double Decker Buses Perk Up the Fleet". Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  23. ^ San Luis Obispo Deputy Director of Public Works, Tim Bochum, 9-7-2010
  24. ^ "Double-decker bus makes its debut | Local News". 2010-09-07. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "Board Meetings". AVTA. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Double Decker Bus Trial SFMTA Fact Sheet". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "Double Deck Bus Test Schedule". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  28. ^ Steve Rubenstein (25 February 2015). "Double-decker bus gives Stanford commuters a fresh perspective". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  29. ^ Dean, John. "The Sydney Atlantean Bus Dispute, 1970-71". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  30. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (24 August 2012). "Room at the top: double-deckers return to Sydney". Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  31. ^ Dearnaley, Matthew (6 March 2012). "Len Brown catches Auckland's first double-decker". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  32. ^ Dearnaley, Matthew (21 February 2012). "Double deckers on way for commuters". The New Zealand Herald. p. A13. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  33. ^ Associated Press (9 May 2011). "N.J. driver in fatal Megabus N.Y. crash charged with criminally negligent homicide". Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  34. ^ "Roof ripped off double decker bus in railway bridge crash". The Daily Telegraph. 28 Jul 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  35. ^ Siddique, Haroon (7 December 2014). "Roof of doubledecker bus sliced off in crash in Birkenhead". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  36. ^ Stubbings, David (27 March 2015). "Staines bus crash recap: Vehicle taking schoolchildren from Essex to Thorpe Park hit bridge". Get Surrey. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  37. ^ Mann, Sebastian (14 March 2015). "Roof ripped off double-decker in crash with rail bridge in west London". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  38. ^ Jeffay, John (7 April 2015). I could be dead': Top deck passenger cheats death as bus crashes into low bridge"'". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  39. ^ Ford, Emily (28 May 2015). "Roof ripped off bus as it crashes into bridge in Romsey". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  40. ^ Boyle, Danny (19 Jul 2015). "Norwood bus crash: Seven hurt as roof ripped off London double-decker". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  41. ^ "Summer Holiday". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  42. ^ A London Booster photo on Flickr
  43. ^ Lawless, Jill (2 August 2012). "Olympic houses turn London into global party".  
  44. ^ Crane, Jonathan (8 August 2012). "Czech House in London draws Olympic crowds".  
  45. ^ "Here Come the Double Deckers". Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  46. ^ Mercedes Benz
  47. ^ Volvo in Mexico

External links

  • Davis Wiki page on double-decker buses (Davis, California, USA)
  • Image of a Berlin double-decker bus
  • Photos of Leyland double-decker Bus
  • From The Upper Deck, photography project, photos taken from London Double Deckers Buses
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