Seeing Buffalo from a double-decker perch

Jul 6, 2017

There’s a new way to experience the sights and sound of Buffalo – on a big red double-decker bus that was imported from England.

A former standup comedian and journalist has launched Buffalo Double Decker Bus Tours. Daily service begins Friday following an attention-grabbing inaugural run on July 4th.

Joel Dombrowski with his double-decker bus
Credit Edwin Viera

The vehicle’s upper level allows a view of sights that most people don’t experience, said owner Joel Dombrowski. He told WBFO his tours serve up gritty, in-depth tales of Buffalo’s history.

“I want to tell the story of Buffalo in an entertaining fashion. There’s a lot of great tours in town and there wonderful. What I do is I’m here to entertain people, I’m not here to educate people. If you get educated on one of my tours it’s your own fault. There’s no extra charge for that, but first and foremost, I’m here to tell stories.”

Tours will run through Labor Day Weekend. In addition to tours of Canalside, some specialty excursionsare offered, including a Murder Mystery tour of the local waterfront.

“We take people back to 1866, when Buffalo’s waterfront was known as the most evil square mile in America”, Dombrowski said. “We have a murder mystery that’s based on real life characters that actually lived and died here in Buffalo. We do a murder mystery and then you solve the murder mystery. And you get to do it on an authentic British double decker bus.”

Another unique tour is called “Drunk Buffalo” which informs riders about alcohol’s role in Buffalo history.

Credit Edwin Viera

“Your slightly tipsy actor/guide takes you and shows you all the places in buffalo where alcohol has spilled into the history of the city," Domrbrowski said with a smile. "And trust me, there have been many times when alcohol has played a pivotal role in events.”

Another excursion is called  “The Best of Buffalo,” a  2-hour tour of Allentown, the medical corridor, and other city neighborhoods. One stop includes a short visit to  the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military park.

All tours leave from Wilkeson Point on the Outer Harbor.

The eye-catching vehicle is a 1980 Leyland Olympian Bus which was used in England but was modified for service in America.  A door has been installed on the curbside of the bus to allow passengers to enter and exit in a safe manner.

The bus is named Jenny, after Dombrowski’s wife, Jennifer.

“The reason why it is named after my wife is because it is unique and very beautiful. The other reason is that if this fails, I will be living on this bus. My wife has said that ‘you will be living on that bus if this tanks.’”

Dombrowski is hopeful that people will enjoy a combination of comedy and history as they explore the area. Perhaps the message painted above the bus entrance says it best:” All ye who enter must have a sense of humor.”