Fifth Avenue Bus Company’s double-decker bus. Image via nytimes.com.
An iconic fixture in London, double-decker buses are known for their European charm. But in the early to mid-20th century, they were also a common sight around Manhattan (a few of which were probably on display at the NYC Transit Museum’s 2013 Bus Festival). Manufactured by the Fifth Avenue Bus Company, these double-decker buses provided transportation along the length of Fifth Avenue. They were eventually taken off the roads due to a lack of competition in the United States to improve the design and mechanics of double decker buses.
M4 Double-decker bus in 1970s. Image via facebook.com.
The two-tiered buses made a brief reappearance in 1976, when the MTA purchased eight buses from British company Leyland to be used in a pilot program. But like their predecessors, these buses experienced mechanical problems. Other problems cited were the cumbersome height of the double-deckers, causing them to bump into branches along Riverside Drive and to run into traffic lights. After a short two years, they were taken off the road once again.
M1 Double-decker bus in 1970s. Image via bus.nycsubway.org.
Of course, today, tourist buses like Big Apple Bus Tour and Gray Line Tours run double decker buses, but not the MTA.
Read more about NYC Transit Museum’s 2013 Vintage Bus Festival, Double Lettered Trains In The NYC Subway System, Taking a Ride on the 8, 11 and 12 Trains in the NYC Subway, and 14 Beautiful Vintage Subways Entrances in NYC.