From the Archives, 1954: Double-decker buses to go from Melbourne

First published in The Age on March 25, 1954

Double-Deckers Go from City

Double-decker buses have been taken off the Bourke Street run and are not likely to appear there again.

Double-decker buses line-up at the Central Bus Garage, North Fitzroy, 1940.Credit:Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board

The Tramways Board has sold half of the fleet of 45 double-deckers and will sell the remainder except for a few to be kept in reserve for a time at the central bus depot.

No more have been ordered.

Some of the reasons given by the board for not continuing with double-deckers are:

  • In 14 years each has averaged about 400,000 miles and reached the end of its economic life.
  • The buses do not load and unload as quickly as two-door single decker buses.
  • They were unpopular with passengers who did not like climbing up and down stairs for short journeys.

A conductress punches the Bundy clock from the double-decker bus number 201 in October 1942. Credit:Australian War Memorial

An official tramways report said passengers “whose agility was on the wane” found the stairs difficult.

Some Bourke Street verandahs were struck by the high double-deckers and it was expensive for the board to repair both buses and verandahs.

The buses sold already have brought about £400 each and have been converted into caravans, bungalows and farm trucks.

Melbourne will not see the last single-decker buses in Bourke Street until the electrification programme is completed in about 18 months.

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