Why Our Double Decker Buses Only Have Two Levels

Why Don't We Put A Third Level On Our Hop-On Hop-Off Double Decker Tour Buses?

Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker buses have become a common sight on the streets of New York City as a popular means of touring the City's most essential attractions. Millions of tourists every year purchase these Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours, and many are left with a nagging question: Why don't they make them with three levels instead of two? A third level would seemingly be a win-win, offering more seats for more passengers as well as an even higher vantage point for those on the bus tour. However, there are some very compelling reasons why NYC bus tour companies remain with the Double-Decker model. 1. Traffic Lights Traffic lights in New York City hang between 18 and 26.5 feet over the ground, as per the federal manual on Traffic Control Devices. A standard Double Decker Bus is currently about 14 feet high. An additional deck would add about seven feet to this height, topping off the triple decker bus at about 21 feet, too high for many traffic lights in New York City. Red lights are already a headache even without knocking into them! 2. The Law New York City law prohibits trucks higher than 13'6''  from driving in the city for a number of reasons. Double Decker Buses currently remain within these limits, but a triple deck would certainly push the bus past the legal height. Since we'd rather show you where they film Law and Order as opposed to appearing on Law and Order, we'll stick with two decks. 3. Physics A Triple-Decker bus would be much higher than it is wide, creating a very high center of gravity. The higher the center of gravity is off the road, the less stable the bus is. The center of gravity with three decks would be high enough to cause problems when the bus performs tight turns or maneuvers on narrow NYC streets. Two decks plants the bus firmly on the road like a regular car. So, while a third deck might seem like a fun idea, the plan cannot be translated onto the NYC streets. Thankfully, riders on our Double-Decker Hop-On Hop-Off bus tours still sit well above the crowds of NYC, allowing an exciting bird's eye view of the streets and sights while not being so high that we knock into traffic lights, break the law, or challenge the rules of physics.