MTA Press Releases

Press Release
September 8, 2008
MTA NYC Transit and MTA Bus Test New Double-decker Bus in Customer Service

This morning, officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA New York City Transit introduced into service a sleek, new double-decker bus for evaluation. The 13-foot tall, high-capacity coach will run in service for the next 30 days along selected local and express bus routes in order to determine its suitability for service.

The new double-decker, manufactured by Van Hool of Belgium, combines the efficiency of a high-capacity design that at 45-feet in length is 15-feet shorter than an articulated bus. Utilizing the two levels, however, the bus has a seating capacity in excess of 81 passengers. The coach is powered by a clean and efficient diesel engine fueled by ultra low sulfur diesel and employing the latest in exhaust treatment technology.

"This bus trial is an example of the ways in which we are improving the experiences our bus customers have when they travel with us," said Elliot G. Sander, Executive Director and CEO of the MTA. "From our reorganization of three bus companies to create our Regional Bus Operations, to the initiation of Select Bus Service, to the implementation of the S89 limited-stop route across state lines for the first time, our efforts to transform the MTA mean noticeable improvements for our bus customers throughout New York City and beyond. And the same is true for our railroad, subway and bridge and tunnel customers as well."

Operated by the defunct Fifth Avenue Coach Company, double-deckers were a common sight along Manhattan bus routes for nearly half of the 20th century. The last Fifth Avenue Coach double-decker was a 1939 model pulled from service in 1953.

"An iconic transportation option in London, as it once was here in New York City, double-deckers have built-in advantages over other bus models," noted NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. "One significant advantage is their ability to carry a large number of passengers but take up a smaller street footprint than an articulated bus and they do not have the mechanical complexity of a turntable."

"It's great to have the opportunity to put a new vehicle to the test in the New York City environment," said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Buses Joseph Smith. "Our customers, bus operators and maintenance personnel will give us feed back on the Van Hool as we evaluate it in the areas of operations, maintenance and efficiency."

As designed, the Van Hool TD925 double-decker combines the efficiency of a high-capacity bus with a low-floor entry and exit. The low–floor makes it easier for seniors and customers with disabilities to board and exit while eliminating the need for a complicated wheelchair lift. The lack of steps at the front and rear door also facilitates customer boarding and exiting.

This evaluation is just the first step in determining whether the Van Hool has what it takes to make it here. NYC Transit currently operates a fleet of 4,500 buses carrying an average of 2.4 million customers each day. NYC Transit currently operates 630 New Flyer articulated buses.

Some Facts


13-feet 2 inches

102 inches

Cummins 450 HP with clean air technology

ZF 12-speed automatic

81 (59 upper level, 22 seats lower level)

Wheelchair ramp & two tie-down locations

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel

Image of Van Hool bus