The double-decker bus is back on the streets of L.A. The Times' Chris Erskine went for a ride and found the service is off to a mixed start. But the buses are a good omen for L.A.:
Topless yet tasteful and as British as troubled teeth, L.A.'s new double-decker buses may dramatically change the way tourists get around, how they spend their travel dollars and the very look of Southern California's streets. Introduced a year ago and recently expanded, the 16 double-deckers serve two separate circuits -- one looping through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the Grove and Melrose, the other spanning downtown. By spring, hopes to add a third circuit, serving Venice and Santa Monica. A significant wager in shaky times, the buses are a gambit by L.A.'s biggest tour operator to broaden the places tourists can conveniently roam.
Turns out double-decker buses are nothing new here: L.A. has a rich history of double-decker buses. The first generation debuted in the 1920s and served local riders and visitors for 25 years. During their heyday, as many as 70 of the double-deckers operated in Los Angeles. The fare: 10 cents."
Photo: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times