Excelsior’s double-decker buses

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A little bit of ‘London’ in old Rio. Here’s a double-decker bus made by Excelsior (in the late 1920s), which was under the company now known as Light (but then known as The Rio de Janeiro Tramways, Light and Power Co.). Excelsior, which operated from 1910 to 1950, was responsible for the installation of ‘stop request’ buttons (then called by the name of “cigarra”) and the position of the bus fare taker (or, “cobrador”) which were later made a part of all buses.

In Europe, these buses were known as “Imperiais” (coincidentally, the name of draft beer in Portugal), while the carioca people baptized them as the “Chope/Chopp Duplo” (something like “The Double Draft Beer” in English). Whether there’s a connection there, I can’t say.

The way some bus drivers in Rio drive today, one wonders if they aren’t intoxicated. As another aside, I wonder how the street vendors sold food and drink to those on the second level. Photo above taken in the Largo da Lapa, in 1926.

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