Double-decker bus

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Road transport

A London AEC Routemaster, RML 2473 (JJD 473D), on route 7 approaching Ladbroke Grove tube station in April 2002.
A London AEC Routemaster, RML 2473 (JJD 473D), on route 7 approaching Ladbroke Grove tube station in April 2002.
Kowloon Motor Bus' latest bus model  in 2006.
Kowloon Motor Bus' latest bus model in 2006.

A double-decker bus is a bus that has two levels. While double-decker long-distance coaches are in widespread use around the world, double-decker city buses are less common. Double-decker buses are popular in some European cities and in some parts of Asia, usually in former British colonies. Many towns around the world have a few that specialise in short sight-seeing tours for tourists for, as William Gladstone observed, "the way to see London is from the top of a 'bus'"


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

London, United Kingdom

The most famous bus of this type, a typical red London double-decker bus, seats between 60 and 80 passengers. They are between 10.5 and 10.9 metres in length and are a common reference item for describing very large objects; for example, a blue whale is about as long as three double-decker buses. They were created as a means of carrying large numbers of passengers without exceeding legal limits on vehicle length. 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. Citing difficulties accommodating disabled passengers, the last remaining examples in use finally retired in 2005, although Transport for London has established two "heritage routes", which will continue using Routemasters .

Berlin, Germany

Double decker buses in Berlin are operated by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) and are currently 13.5 metres (44.29 feet) long and hold around 95 passengers. The replacements, which are supplied by Neoman, are 1.8 meters (5.92 feet) longer. The new buses are able to hold 128 passengers.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

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. In the 1960s, second-hand Routemaster double decker buses were imported by the CTB from London Transport and ran in their original red livery, but with the CTB logo painted on the sides. These buses were phased out beginning in the mid- 1970s, but a handful still run in the Greater Colombo area. One Routemaster bus is run by the Sirasa TV and radio station. In 2005 a new batch of double decker buses were imported by the Sri Lanka Transport Board, as the reconstituted CTB is known, which run mainly on the Galle Road in Colombo.

Davis, California, United States of America

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.

There was also the prototype GX-1 Scenicruiser of Greyhound, which enters from the 1st floor: The second floor contains the driver's compartment and more seats.

Dunedin, New Zealand

Two Routemaster double-decker buses are operated on a tourist circuit around the city of Dunedin in southern New Zealand.

Double-decker buses are commonly seen in Hong Kong.
Double-decker buses are commonly seen in Hong Kong.

Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington also have similar services with more of the famous red buses.

Hong Kong, People's Republic of China

Double-decker buses were first introduced in Hong Kong in 1949 by Kowloon Motor Bus. They have become very popular since then, and they are currently 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 meters. There are more than 4000 double-decker buses running in Hong Kong now.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai has operated double-decker buses since 1937. They are operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking. They are modelled on the London buses.

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

Singapore, Republic of 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 were to ensue at this point in time.

Singapore Bus Service (SBS, now known as SBS Transit), the current operator of double-decker buses in Singapore, launched their first double-decker bus service on 13 June 1977 with 20 Leyland Atlanteans. This time, the double-decker buses were here to stay and the fleet grew steadily, with the further introduction of the Mercedes-Benz O305 and the Leyland Olympian. The first air-conditioned double-decker bus, named the "Superbus" in recognition of its record-breaking 12m length, was launched in 1993. The first stepless, ultra low floor "Superbus" was launched in 1999. Today, SBS Transit has a fleet of over 700 double-decker buses, most of which are air-conditioned.

An Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 equipped with bike rack, servicing Victoria, British Columbia.
An Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 equipped with bike rack, servicing Victoria, British Columbia.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

In 2000, Victoria became the first city in North America to use double decker buses in its public transit system. Imported from the United Kingdom and operated by BC Transit and the Greater Victoria Transit Authority, these buses have proven to be very popular amongst both locals and tourists. The buses are mainly used on routes that go from downtown to the suburbs, including the Victoria International Airport and the BC Ferries terminal near Sidney, B.C. They can also be found on routes that head to the University of Victoria and the Western Communities.

As of July 2006, double-decker buses similar to those in Victoria are being tested in Ottawa, Ontario.

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

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

Operators of double decker buses

  • Sri Lanka Transport Board
  • Kowloon Motor Bus
  • China Motor Bus - company lost franchise to First Bus in 1998
  • Citybus (Hong Kong)
  • New World First Bus
  • London Transport
  • Gray Line
  • Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport
  • SBS Transit (Singapore)
  • BC Transit
  • Unitrans
  • Dublin Bus
  • Bus Éireann
  • Ulsterbus
  • Metro
  • Travel West Midlands
  • IETT
  • East Yorkshire Motor Services
  • Translink (Northern Ireland)
  • City of Johanessburg
  • City of Tswhane

Retrieved from ""