Double-Decker Buses


See Unitrans Buses for information on other buses.

"The University Transport System owns nine of these imported London double-decker buses. This unique system is owned and operated by the Associated Students of UC Davis Campus and serves the UC Davis Campus and the City of Davis with a regularly scheduled bus service during the school year." —From the back of a Unitrans bus postcard, available for sale in the UCD Bookstore.

Two of these buses were purchased back in 1967 by ASUCD direct from England to attract people to use the service. This was the inception of Unitrans, the only transit company in the United States to use authentic London double-deck buses in daily service.

19671009_BusesComing.jpgOct 9, 1967 California Aggie article 19671110_BusUnveiling.jpgNov 10, 1967 Davis Enterprise article

Over the years, other double-decker buses were procured from London. The majority of the double-deckers were of the RT type, though both RTL, RLH and Daimler models were also part of the fleet over the years. The Daimler double-deckers were retired from service in 1999, as upkeep was difficult (the parts were and still are simply unavailable). The RT buses remain in service thanks to the services of Wally Mellor, the former director of Unitrans Maintenance. Most of the spare parts were hand-made by Wally at the Shop facility, a practice that he still takes part in occasionally though he has since retired. RTL 1014, one of the original pair to be purchased in 1968, is still part of the fleet today, though it has been retired from regular service.

Riding the Double-Deckers

The Double-Decker buses currently provide service to the MU terminal and Silo terminal, and operate only on the B, E, F, G, J, and V lines. Other lines pose significant hazards to the buses such as low hanging power lines, trees, and the Richards Underpass. Once the Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses are added to the fleet, Unitrans may consider running them on lines from the Silo Terminal.

The RT Double-Decker buses are not wheelchair-accessible and have no bike racks. Other runs during the day on these lines provide wheelchair accessibility. The Enviro500 buses are wheelchair accessible and feature a ramp and kneeler function.

Interestingly, in December of 2005 London finally [WWW]retired their line of Routemaster double-decker buses, making Davis perhaps the last bastion of regular vintage double-decker operation.

Bus Information

double_decker.jpg Currently six buses remain from the original collection.

Last revenue run of RT1014

On Dec 14, 2007, the 1014 made its last revenue run with its original engine. Many Unitrans managers and drivers boarded to celebrate 40 years of faithful service. RTL 1014 remains at the Unitrans Garage, however it will no longer run in service due to stringent emissions standards.

upperdeck.jpgUnitrans Manager Geoff Straw and other friends of the 1014 enjoy the ride south on Anderson Road lowerdeck.jpgAssistant manager Anthony Palmere and founding manager Tom Matoff enjoy the ride on the lower level.

Modern Double-Deck Buses

Unitrans was considering the purchase of modern double-deck buses. A bus was borrowed for a two-week "test drive" to see if the bus will work well for Unitrans. Testing began on January 21st, 2006. Unfortunately these buses are not available for purchase with a CNG engine. However, the modern diesel engines (the 2007 engine model year specifically) are just as clean and efficient as 2007 CNG engines. Unitrans will be taking this issue to the City of Davis in the near future. More information can be found on the Unitrans website at [WWW]

Unitrans has purchased two Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses, received in 2010. To prepare for these buses' arrival, Alexander Dennis loaned Unitrans the bus that was tested in January 2006. The bus is affectionately known as "Big Al", as it is one of the prototype Enviro500 buses and survived the Altoona Test for the Federal Government.

Below are photos of "Big Al" during her 2006 visit:

DD1.jpgBig Windows DD2.jpgLower DeckDD3.jpg

DD4.jpgWide Stairway DD5.jpgUpper DeckDD6.jpg

DD7.jpg DD8.jpg

The new Unitrans Alexander Dennis Enviro500 busses by final product and through the building process:

making1.JPGIn the process

making2.JPGIn the process newdd1.JPGNew Unitrans DD newandold.JPGNew and Old


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These are the slowest things ever — SS

I love these buses. There have been several times when I was in a down mood and just riding on a double-decker bus cheered me up. - KenjiYamada

These are my favorite busses to ride. It makes my day if I get to ride on double-deckers both to and from campus. - MargieHalloran

2006-01-21 10:15:08   I love double-deckers. They may be slow and stinky, but the interiors are much more inviting (to me anyway) than the generic buses. —CindySperry

2006-01-21 17:06:47   Those are some ugly, ugly new busses. The uplostery especially. —TravisGrathwell

2006-01-21 17:48:22   eewwwwwwwww. I hate the paint job and upholstery... and the feel of the bus is way too sterile. :( —CindySperry

2006-01-21 18:11:02   Can anyone tell me what the purpose of the "flag girl" (may be sexist, but all I've seen were young females) on the rear of the old busses? —GrumpyoldGeek

2007-06-04 01:35:17   Can't the engineering dept modify the modern double deckers to run on CNG? Or would that be cost-prohibitive? —TusharRawat

2007-06-05 12:08:12   I don't know if Unitrans shop mechanics can do that, and I don't know why they just can't be all CNG. I'll ask the General Manager later today and respond, :D —ChristyMarsden

2007-09-22 02:17:23   I had the privilege of being a passenger on the 1014 today—it was a real treat. A grand old bus, so much of it looks to be original. Too bad the original engine needs to be removed for smog purposes. Hats of to Unitrans and 1014—40 years of continuous doubledecker bus service. —TedBuehler Are any of the old Daimler buses still around in 1 piece, or who could I ask about these as I have a single decker Daimler, thanks.

2010-03-27 00:04:49   You can't beat riding on the top floor of a double-decker on a spring day with the windows open! —ArianeMetz

2010-03-27 02:51:02   The new double deckers have a very nice new paint job to match the current red fleet. —TheShah

2010-05-26 12:12:29   Hi there, my name is Fethi, I live in long beach,ca . I have a double Decker bus that needs a transmission, used of course or rebuilt. Where and how can I find a place for that? Thanks! —fethi Most of the parts are very very hard to find, I know the university uses master machinists to machine whatever parts they need, perhaps you can follow up on that route? Daubert

2010-05-26 17:36:10   New double deckers are sweet —StevenDaubert

2011-01-08 01:29:48   Hey Wikignomes and Wikifairies —

How about some pics of the new double decker buses? —TedBuehler

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