The double-deckers are coming back!
The MTA provided amNewYork today with this amazing photo from the 1970s showing a collection of double-decker buses in what appears to be Margaret Corbin Circle in Hudson Heights. (Click on the pic to take in that '70s goodness, including what appears like a patriotic, Bicentennial-inspired MTA logo in the middle bus.)
The double-decker haven't been seen on city streets since around the time this photo was taken. (That's nol counting tourist buses.) But that will soon change. Our transit reporter, Matt Sweeney, has more on the possible return of the buses to their old route:
The double-decker bus is returning to New Yorks public transportation system, expected to travel its traditional route down Fifth Avenue.
Back to the future - at least in terms of productivity - is something wed like to look at, Howard Roberts, NYC Transit president, said Thursday.
The argument in favor of bringing back the double-deckers is that they require less maintenance than the long, articulated buses, which have a lot of moving parts at the joint in the middle of the bus. Double-deckers can carry up to 100 passengers, slightly more than the articulated buses, and they take up less road space than the long buses, said transit spokesman, Charles Seaton.
Transit is seeking to purchase a few buses to test on the M1 or other similar Fifth Avenue routes possibly by the end of the year, officials said. They said they could not yet estimate the cost of the buses.
Double-deckers are used widely in Europe, Asia, Las Vegas and elsewhere in the United States, said Joseph Smith, president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authoritys bus division.
From the turn-of-the-century into the 1950s, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company ran double-deckers up and down Manhattans wealthiest avenue. Many of the buses had open-air tops, similar to the tourist double-deckers that crowd Manhattan streets today. The company expanded beyond Fifth Avenue during its decades of operation.
The buses were taken out of service in 1953, done in by General Motors, which offered a single-deck diesel bus with large rider capacity, Seaton said.
A small group of double-deckers made a brief reappearance in the 1970s, but they were mechanically unreliable and didnt last long in service, Seaton said.