The History Of The Double Decker Bus
Old Version of Omnibus
As fascinating and functionally useful the double decker bus is, their history is quite interesting as well. There have been debates flurrying online, as to where and how this kind of sightseeing bus started. There are many claims as to what the original version may have looked like and as to where it truly began. If you search the internet for pictures, you might find some early drawings or renditions of what some of the designs looked like.
The history of double decker buses is highlighted in books and also museums. The museum with the most information is the London Transport Museum in the United Kingdom. If you ever get a chance to visit this museum, it will be well worth your time. While the website offers a ton of useful information and early pictures of buses, the experience of seeing some of the early models there is incredible.
The first commercial historical double decker bus is said to have been used during the 1820’s. The buses during that time were pulled by two horses, as combustion engines were not yet developed and the main source of moving vehicles consisted of animal power. “Omnibuses” is the name given to the early buses in England and in France.
The first double decker buses came from London, with the Economic Conveyance Company of London as the operator. The design was very primitive and looked more similar to modified horse carriages. In an effort to lure new riders, the operators literally enticed the commuters by offering a half fare for riding on the top versus the increased amount paid by people who get to sit inside. The top deck was reached by a staircase or ladder on the outside of the vehicle. Some of the bigger buses at that time were sometimes pulled by up to three horses. This really added to the meaning of horsepower. Horse-drawn buses were utilized until the 1930’s. During the next several decades, trains and trams were omnibuses’ strict competitors.
In the advent of engines, the top part of the double decker bus would have been covered and luxuriously upholstered. Because of its flexibility in following different routes, it easily surpassed the use of the train. It became all the more popular when people soon saw it as a cheaper alternative.
By the 1950’s, the Routemaster in London was introduced into the double decker bus inventory. The features of the vehicle were steep in technology. The staircases were strategically improved as well as the rear entry and the engine placement. People had appreciated and welcomed these improvements as well. The London Bus Service had continued several improvements over time until it finally ended in 2005. Up until around the time when the double decker buses in London were becoming beacons of efficient of effective mass transportation. Currently, only two routes continue to operate regularly using the Routemaster.
Today, the buses no longer operate as a part of England’s main public transportation. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still take a ride on these within the city, it just means that you would need to call one of the local tour operators to hitch a ride. The double decker bus history is fascinating and has shaped its style over time. Its space saving features has been the key to its popularity and success. The novelty of such vehicles is the reason this mode of transportation has spread and continues to attract tourists and locals.