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The first Volvo Double Decker city bus in South Korea.
Busse News

The first Volvo Double Decker city bus in South Korea.

15. Oct. 2015
Busse News

The first Volvo Double Decker city bus in South Korea.

15. Oct. 2015
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The dream of Double-deckers
There are only few double-deckers in South Korea. The first Korean city bus was made at 1950's. And then Korean bus are getting little longer, but not higher or bigger like articulated buses and double-deckers. Many Korean people have a dream on double-deckers because of the lack of double-deck buses.

In early 1990's, there was a road test for double-decker citybus at Seoul. double-deckers ran from Gwacheon (satellite city of Seoul) to Seoul city hall, but there were many troubles for smooth running. Because most Korean roads were designed for vehicles height under 4.0 m. Finally that bus could not running regularly.

Now, the year of 2015,
The new double-deckers will be run in regular service from Gimpo and Namyangju, Gyeonggi to Seoul. Gyeonggi province and Gyeonggi Research Institute tested ADL Enviro 500 (from North America) last year and they have confidence that double-deckers can be running regularly. So they announced a bid for the first batch (9 vehicles) that meet the requirement for height below 4m.


Volvo B8R

Taeyoung motors supply the Volvo B8R double-decker bus bodybuilded at Daji in Taiwan.

The meaning of Bodybuilder is very unfamiliar in South Korea because they have not any bodybuilders. Korean law don't have the meaning of Bodybuilder.
But, there are so many bodybuilders in the world and some of them have a very high technique.

Bus manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, MAN, Volvo, Scania, Hyundai motors or Daewoobus make not only the full finished products but also chassis. Bodybuilders buy chassis from these manufacturers and they sell finished product to end user or assemble for OEM. 
The below illustration show the different from manufacturers and bodybuilders.


Normally the OEM product of Bodybuilders is named like this - bodybuilder's name + chassis’ name. If so, this bus would be called "Daji B8RLE". But we name this bus "Volvo B8RLE" in this article by the request of the supplier and the unfamiliar. 
Gyeonggi Province will start to operate total 9 double-decker city buses this year and 10 more vehicles next year.


The details

The Volvo B8RLE double-decker has 12,990 mm length, 72+1 seats and 3,995 mm height. It is different from other double-deckers in UK, Hong Kong and EU. Almost double decker citybus in that country are 4.2~4.4 m height but Korean one is lower than others. The supplier says, the bus has 4 m height but they consider the secure a dwelling ability. For this reason, the bus's floor is aluminum base instead of plywood.


UNVI URBIS DD is 1,800 mm and 1,680mm interior height. (used B8R Chassis)
ADL Enviro 500 is 1,950 mm and 1,710mm interior height. (made from North America)
Volvo B8R (Daji version) is 1,820 mm and 1,700 mm height.

Total 72+1
Second floor 59
1st floor 13+1
Interior Height
1st / 2nd (mm)
1,820 / 1,700
Volvo B8RLE(Low-Entry)
Volvo D8K 350 EURO6
350 hdiv @ 2,100~2,200 rpm
1400 N·m @ 1,200~1,600 rpm
ZF Ecolife 6-speed
Fule Tank


B8RLE is a chassis for intercity bus manufactured by Volvo Bus from Sweden. B8R chassis is divided into two versions, standard-floor B8R and Low-Entry B8RLE. The standard floor type used for coaches and long distance intercity buses. 

B8RLE was developed as a successor of B7RLE and B9RLE on 2013. Normally B8RLE is used for Volvo 8900LE. Maybe this is first time to use B8RLE for double-deckers.

(Phtoto : The Original 8900LE using B8RLE chassis from Volvobuses / Source from

B8RLE has 3 kinds of D8K engine - 280, 320 and 350 PS. Operators can select ZF Ecolife, Voith Diwa 6-speed automatic transmission or Volvo i-Shift AMT.

The front axle is Volvo RFS beam axle (for low-floor bus), but the rear one is single reduction axle. Because of this, the bus is standard-floor from the mid to the rear part. LE type of chassis can help for saving cost and are suitable for intercity route. But the rear part of bus cannot make seats in case of double decker.
Therefore the double-decker for UK and Hong Kong use B5LH, B5TL or B9TL chassis.


Let's see the bus instead of difficult theory.
The outside of the bus is simply designed for double-decker. The interior appearance is uncouth but there are some special items for passengers. Each seat has USB charging port, this can help for charging a smartphone or a tablet. The stop button can reach from every seats. The seats on upper deck can reclinable for more comfortable journey.


What is the korean double decker's future?

The project was delayed, even though the supply is so speedy. Thus some of items fall short of Korean standard thinking and emotion. The Gyeonggi province officer said, they will change the bus's design, mirrors, LCD monitors and etc. Also the bus should upgrade floor covering and wheelchair ramp.

Some Korean people worried about the difference between the test vehicle and the buying vehicle. Also they are afraid of the first time to bodybuild using B8RLE chassis for double-decker.
A similar example was in Seoul. Seoul city has tested Scania's Omnicity articulated bus, but they bought Irisbus's articulated bus at 2003 and 2004. Unfortunately, the bus operators in Seoul suffered from unsuitable for Korean topography and frequent breakdown.

Gyeonggi province officer said they already have a preparation for the following vehicles. And Taeyoung Motors expressed their confidence for maintenance and supplying parts due to many kinds of parts are shared with Volvo trucks.


Double decker bus in South Korea
In the year of 1991, Seoul city tested 3 double-decker for 3 months. It could not operate regular service because of road facilities designed for 4 m height. All their vehicles operated in amusement park for a while and then be retired or used as blood donation center.

In 2007, Seoul city operated double-decker sightseeing bus, Neoplan Skyliner from Germany.
After that, Most of double-deckers in South Korea is Youngman JNP6127S/SC from China.

In 2014, Gyeonggi province tested ADL Enviro 500 from USA.
In 2015, Taeyoung Motors supply UNVI Urbis DD for their subsidiary Taeyoung Bus in Busan.


Article by Ilmin Park
Photo by Minsung Kim
Edited by Wonho Choi
Update : 15. Oct. 2015


  • 궁금이

    이 버스 언제부터 운행하나요? 아직 안보이던데

  • Karl

    Es ist interessant. Cool!!

  • Simon

    Thank you very much for the great article covering the history of double decker buses ever operated in South Korea, in the article you mentioned there are 3 double deckers being tested in Seoul back in 1991, which I can identify 2 of them being the Leyland Olympian and a Neoplan, how about the 3rd one?  Thank you

  • Buslife
    댓글의 댓글

    I remember 2 Neoplan bus and 1 Leyland Olympian bus.

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Buslife is a Online Magazine especially for Bus Industries and Busfans. Since 2000, We have wrote many articles about buses in South Korea. From the year of 2012, Buslife has serviced for worldwide. If you have any question, please inform to me. wonho.choi (at)

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