When L.A.’s Buses Had an Upper Deck | KCET
When L.A.’s Buses Had an Upper Deck
Think London meets Los Angeles. When the double-decker transit bus arrived in Los Angeles, it came with a distinctly local innovation — an open-air top deck. Up there, passengers could lean back in their wicker seats, bask in the sunlight, and watch the palm trees and Art Deco towers stream past.
The Los Angeles Motorbus Company might have encouraged such pleasure-riding, but it ordered its first batch of double-deckers in 1924 for a more prosaic reason: their extra capacity. With 54-64 seats each (depending on the model), the buses could absorb the crowds huddled around bus stops along new, booming commercial corridors like Wilshire Boulevard. That made them attractive to the bus line’s joint owners, the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles railways, who used double-deckers as an alternative to building costly new trolley lines.
And Angelenos loved them. Production companies often rented the yellow-and-red vehicles for film shoots. On summer evenings, young couples flocked to their upper decks for gentle breezes — and privacy. Bad weather did usually mean unused capacity, but the buses continued to dart down Wilshire and Sunset through the 1930s. Eventually, the popular buses went the way of the streetcars they replaced — though you can still find double-decked sightseeing buses cruising the city’s tourist districts.
This article first appeared on Los Angeles magazine's website on March 26, 2014.
Following a screening of “What They Had,” actor Robert Forster and writer/director Elizabeth Chomko attended a Q&A hosted by Cinema Series host Pete Hammond.
Like a blindside tackle, mental illness derailed Antonio Carrion and his dreams.
A Q&A session will immediately follow the screening with director/producer Matthew Heineman as well as host and Deadline film critic Pete Hammond.
California history, much like that of America’s, rests on the noblest of deeds, the most nefarious of acts and a sea of grey in between, all driven by the very dreams that fuel boom and bust cycles.
- 1 of 92
- next ›