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Double-Decker gets a Trial Run

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September 8, 2008, 3:20 pm

Double-Decker Bus Gets a Trial Run

By April Dembosky

08double_533.jpg

 

 

 

 

Darrayle Williams, 50, a New York City Transit driver, will be testing a double-decker bus for the next 30 days. (Photo: David Goldman for The New York Times)New York City Transit officials unveiled a new behemoth double-decker bus today that will cruise city streets in a 30-day trial run. Not since 1953 have the two-story vehicles carried nontourist passengers.

 

Beginning on Thursday, the 13-foot-tall, 45-foot-long, 81-seat bus will alternate service on local and express bus routes: BxM3 from Yonkers to Manhattan, the X17J between Staten Island and Manhattan, the M15 limited on First and Second Avenues, and possibly the M5 along Fifth Avenue (if the tree pruning along the bus lane goes well).

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to talk with the driver and passengers to gauge how the bus handles in city traffic and how customers react.

“This is not just a show,” Howard H. Roberts Jr., president of New York City Transit, said at a news conference on Monday. “It’s not a movement to titillate the public.”

The agency, a unit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is considering bringing back the double-decker bus in light of increased ridership and the mounting cost of gas, said Elliot G. Sander, director and chief executive of the M.T.A.

Once the on-board lavatory is removed, the double-decker will seat 83 passengers, compared to the 62 seats on the New Flyer articulated buses, the long buses with the accordionlike middle.

The new bus also has a low floor, eliminating the need for a wheelchair lift. Mr. Sander said the new buses, which will run on ultra low sulfur diesel, are expected to run more efficiently overall and help the M.T.A. reduce its carbon footprint.

“There is a very real chance that New Yorkers will see this in the future,” Mr. Sander said at Monday’s press conference. “We hope it passes the test.”

If the one-month trial goes well, New York City Transit will move to the second phase trial, actually buying a number of the double-decker buses.

The bus used for the trial is on loan from the ABC Bus Company, which partners with the Belgian manufacturer, Van Hool, to distribute models in North America. Each double-decker costs roughly $650,000, said Mr. Sander, compared to the $900,000 price tag on the city’s current articulated bus.

One of the main reasons double-decker buses were discontinued in the 1950s, Mr. Roberts said, was that there weren’t enough manufacturers competing in the United States market to update and improve the mechanics and keep costs reasonable.

“Unless you build your own bus, you’re a victim of the market,” Mr. Roberts said.

If things go well with the double-decker, the city hopes that other manufacturers will take notice to an emerging market and develop competing models that can meet New York City’s standards and handle the harsh operating conditions.

In addition to the practical benefits, there also seems to be a bit of nostalgia motivating the transportation executives at the news conference.

They brought along the “Queen Mary,” a relic double-decker that operated along Fifth Avenue routes between 1938 and 1953. The ripped vinyl seats, sloping aisle and grandmother’s-house smell was a stark contrast with the sleek modern version parked in front of it along Madison Square Park.

As the driver, Darrayle Williams, 50, took a group of reporters for a spin in Midtown Manhattan on Monday, some pedestrians looked up, puzzled.

Mr. Williams is used to the befuddled expressions. “They’re aghast,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Is this the bus of the future?’”

23bus1_span.jpg

Two-level buses ran regularly in Manhattan from early in the 20th century until 1953, and made a brief return in the ’70s. (Photo: The New York Times)

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seems like the MTA got a thought of being British... But the bus look nice, for ezpress only??

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Whoa. That picture completely rechanged my mind about having these buses in the city. Will it be on the Bxm3 this weekend?

 

Well Trevor said 10 days on subchat............. it's 30 days and only 3 routes and each route is 10 days so yes maybe this weekend.

 

I have a official source of Double-Decker Buses routes.

First....

1)BxM3 from Yonkers

2)X17J from Yukon

3)M15 Limited

4)Various Fifth Avenue Routes (except M5)

5)M5 (only if cutting the trees process is successful)

Edited by Pablo M 201

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I have a official source of Double-Decker Buses routes.

First....

1)BxM3 from Yonkers

2)X17J from Yukon

3)M15 Limited

4)Various Fifth Avenue Routes (except M5)

5)M5 (only if cutting the trees process is successful)

 

M5 and M15 LIMITED??? so they gonna put them there o_O

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I'll probably be running around the city for it on the BxM3, and so on when its on other routes. I just love my schedule that I'm able to do all that! HAHAHAHA!

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Did you take pictures with your camera, cause like, just wow......

 

I know because I couldn't get my Tivo setted up so ghosts starting appearing on my screen thought this TV is digital. I need to kick the TV...................

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I know because I couldn't get my Tivo setted up so ghosts starting appearing on my screen thought this TV is digital. I need to kick the TV...................

Hows about cameras don't like to shoot TVs and TVs don't like to be shot at by cameras.....

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Well Trevor said 10 days on subchat............. it's 30 days and only 3 routes and each route is 10 days so yes maybe this weekend.

 

I have a official source of Double-Decker Buses routes.

First....

1)BxM3 from Yonkers

2)X17J from Yukon

3)M15 Limited

4)Various Fifth Avenue Routes (except M5)

5)M5 (only if cutting the trees process is successful)

 

Are they really going have these buses go on the M1,M2,M3 and/or M4? That would be hot since I work by those lines! But I must say, this is the 1st I'm hearing about the various 5th Ave lines so I hope it's the truth.

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Are they really going have these buses go on the M1,M2,M3 and/or M4? That would be hot since I work by those lines! But I must say, this is the 1st I'm hearing about the various 5th Ave lines so I hope it's the truth.

 

Go see on the NY times website cause they have the official routes there.

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Guest Charles

These buses look okay...IMO they could be better

Besides, will the depots they are assigned to (if the trial goes successfully) be able to accomodate the buses dimension?

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These buses look okay...IMO they could be better

Besides, will the depots they are assigned to (if the trial goes successfully) be able to accomodate the buses dimension?

 

They will most likely go to depots with outdoor parking.

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I remember the six British Leyland double deckers the TA tried out in 1976. Numbered D1-D6, they were 40 feet long, had driver-controled rear exit doors and cushioned seats. But they broke down constantly and could not be used during the summer because the air conditioning never worked and the windows could not be opened. They ran mostly on the M4 and M5. One interesting quirk was the destination sign readout for the M4's northern terminus. It read "195 Street-Ft. Tryon Park". Of course, there's no such street, but the signs were never corrected, and I believe the buses were finally sold off to Gray Line. So I'm skeptical that the new Van Hool double deckers will be able to withstand the rigors of Manhattan's pothole-riddled streets. .

September 8, 2008, 3:20 pm

Double-Decker Bus Gets a Trial Run

By April Dembosky

 

 

 

b

 

Darrayle Williams, 50, a New York City Transit driver, will be testing a double-decker bus for the next 30 days. (Photo: David Goldman for The New York Times)New York City Transit officials unveiled a new behemoth double-decker fbus today that will cruise city streets in a 30-day trial run. Not since 1953 have the two-story vehicles carried nontourist passengers.

 

Beginning on Thursday, the 13-foot-tall, 45-foot-long, 81-seat bus will alternate service on local and express bus routes: BxM3 from Yonkers to Manhattan, the X17J between Staten Island and Manhattan, the M15 limited obbn First and Second Avenues, and possibly the M5 along Fifth Avenue (if the tree pruning along the bus lane goes well).

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to talk with the driver and passengers to gauge how the bus handles in city traffic and how customers react.

“This is not just a show,” Howard H. Roberts Jr., president of New York City Transit, said at a news conference on Monday. “It’s not a movement to titillate the public.”

The agency, a unit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is considering bringing back the double-decker bus in light of increased ridership and the mounting cost of gas, said Elliot G. Sander, director and chief executive of the M.T.A.

Once the on-board lavatory is removed, the double-decker will seat 83 passengers, compared to the 62 seats on the New Flyer articulated buses, the long buses with the accordionlike middle.

The new bus also has a low floor, eliminating the need for a wheelchair lift. Mr. Sander said the new buses, which will run on ultra low sulfur diesel, are expected to run more efficiently overall and help the M.T.A. reduce its carbon footprint.

“There is a very real chance that New Yorkers will see this in the future,” Mr. Sander said at Monday’s press conference. “We hope it passes the test.”

If the one-month trial goes well, New York City Transit will move to the second phase trial, actually buying a number of the double-decker buses.

The bus used for the trial is on loan from the ABC Bus Company, which partners with the Belgian manufacturer, Van Hool, to distribute models in North America. Each double-decker costs roughly $650,000, said Mr. Sander, compared to the $900,000 price tag on the city’s current articulated bus.

One of the main reasons double-decker buses were discontinued in the 1950s, Mr. Roberts said, was that there weren’t enough manufacturers competing in the United States market to update and improve the mechanics and keep costs reasonable.

“Unless you build your own bus, you’re a victim of the market,” Mr. Roberts said.

If things go well with the double-decker, the city hopes that other manufacturers will take notice to an emerging market and develop competing models that can meet New York City’s standards and handle the harsh operating conditions.

In addition to the practical benefits, there also seems to be a bit of nostalgia motivating the transportation executives at the news conference.

They brought along the “Queen Mary,” a relic double-decker that operated along Fifth Avenue routes between 1938 and 1953. The ripped vinyl seats, sloping aisle and grandmother’s-house smell was a stark contrast with the sleek modern version parked in front of it along Madison Square Park.

As the driver, Darrayle Williams, 50, took a group of reporters for a spin in Midtown Manhattan on Monday, some pedestrians looked up, puzzled.

Mr. Williams is used to the befuddled expressions. “They’re aghast,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Is this the bus of the future?’”

 

Two-level buses ran regularly in Manhattan from early in the 20th century until 1953, and made a brief return in the ’70s. (Photo: The New York Times)

Edited by Pablo M 201

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I remember the six British Leyland double deckers the TA tried out in 1976. Numbered D1-D6, they were 40 feet long, had driver-controled rear exit doors and cushioned seats. But they broke down constantly and could not be used during the summer because the air conditioning never worked and the windows could not be opened. They ran mostly on the M4 and M5. One interesting quirk was the destination sign readout for the M4's northern terminus. It read "195 Street-Ft. Tryon Park". Of course, there's no such street, but the signs were never corrected, and I believe the buses were finally sold off to Gray Line. So I'm skeptical that the new Van Hool double deckers will be able to withstand the rigors of Manhattan's pothole-riddled streets. .

They would be able to. Those Van Hool TD-925s are tough. They're doing fine going from NY to DC with Megabus, and it goes through pretty rough roads.

 

Megabus also has TD-925s for its Midwest operations.

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They would be able to. Those Van Hool TD-925s are tough. They're doing fine going from NY to DC with Megabus, and it goes through pretty rough roads.

 

Megabus also has TD-925s for its Midwest operations.

 

Ya i gotta agree, these are not the temperamental babies (NYCT) fiddled with before. These are just as viable as MCI, flexible, and nova products used in NYC.

 

- A

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