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NYC Transit to test bilevel bus, would be fleet's first since '50s

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NYC Transit to test bilevel bus, would be fleet's first since '50s

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

September 8th 2008

 

alg_yonkers-bus.jpg

Smith for News

Double-decker, which can hold 81 people, versus 62 for city’s largest bus now,

is parked Monday on E. 26th St., where MTA CEO Elliot Sander introduced it.

 

 

NYC Transit will put a double-decker bus on the road this week, a back-to-the-future move promising big savings for the agency - but little headroom for riders.

 

For a 35-day trial, the city borrowed a Belgium-made Van Hool bilevel and will gauge how it handles city streets, required maintenance and the time needed to board and discharge passengers, officials said Monday.

 

"This is not for show. This is not just to titillate the New York public," Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Elliot Sander said, standing next to a towering double-decker in Manhattan.

 

"We really like this bus," he added. "There's a very real possibility, if it passes the tests ... that New Yorkers could well see this in the future."

 

The agency will seek rider opinions, which likely will include notice of low ceilings. The first level measures 71 inches - 5 feet 11 inches - from floor to ceiling. The upper deck is just 67inches, or 5-feet-7. The average American man is 5-feet-9.

 

Except for tourist buses, double-deckers haven't been a regular feature of the city streetscape since the early 1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower was President, gasoline was 20 cents a gallon and television shows were in black and white.

 

A double-decker with 81 upholstered seats and tinted windows will start making runs on Thursday. The largest bus currently in service, the so-called accordion or articulated bus, has 62 seats.

 

During the 35-day test, the double-decker is expected to be deployed on several routes, most likely including the x17 express between Manhattan and Staten Island, the M5 Limited and the M15, officials said.

 

Greg Woods liked the look of things from the sidewalk on E.26th St., where officials unveiled the double-decker. "It's pretty nice," said Woods, 51, of Harlem. "I like it more than the regular buses. They better bring a couple of truckloads of them, the way gas prices are going."

 

Public transit agencies use double-deckers in Paris, London and other cities around the world, but they are not widely used in the United States. Domestic interest is picking up because of high fuel costs, NYC Transit officials said.

 

The former Fifth Ave. Coach company took its last double-decker off the streets in 1953, when operations were taken over by the MTA. City transit officials flirted with double-deckers in the late 1970s but, after just a few years, also took them off the streets.

 

"Double-deckers carry double the riders on a standard city bus, so it makes sense to see how they do on city streets," Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said. "But they should be aimed at increasing service, not to justify longer waiting times."

 

DOUBLE-DECKER

Length: 45 feet

Width: 102 inches

Height: 13 feet

Number of seats: 81

Floor-to-ceiling height: 71 inches on first level, 67 inches on second

Cost: $650,000 (diesel)

 

ARTICULATED BUS

Length: 60 feet

Width: 102 inches

Height: 12 to 12 1/2 feet

Number of seats: 57 to 62

Floor-to-ceiling height: 86 inches on first level, 78 inches on second

Cost: $600,000 (diesel) to $920,000 (hybrid)

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I can't wait to ride it!:D I hope that the (MTA) is smart and keeps these buses.

 

I hope that the (MTA) is smart and keeps them if the new bus works well in city conditions and it is practical. We wouldn't want them to purchase bad buses because they look nice now would we. :D

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LOL im gonna try and take a ride and sum pixs :D

 

How many fleets are there on the M15?

 

2 artic and in a few weeks the vanhool.

 

they only have one vanhool..............

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2 artic and in a few weeks the vanhool.

 

they only have one vanhool..............

 

ok thanks my mate =)

 

And can you plz tell me which is which? DOUBLE-DECKER is the vanhool? And Artic is the long bus

 

 

___________________________

These buses should be placed as well on the Bx12 SBS :D , but may not play well on EL trains in the bronx and Manhattan, double decker mainly

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Maybe they should make a double-decker artic!!!!

 

But seriously, the double decker bus would cause some trouble with current bus depot since they wouldn't fit.

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