TRANSLINK on Thursday launched a pilot project to test double‑decker buses on long-distance commuter routes.
The two buses, supplied at no charge by British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, will begin service next week on routes travelling toward Vancouver from Langley, Surrey, White Rock and Delta, including:
301 – Newton Exchange to Brighouse Station
311 – Scottsdale Exchange in Delta to Bridgeport Station
351 / 354 – White Rock / South Surrey to Bridgeport Station
555 – Carvolth Exchange in Langley to Lougheed Station
601 / 620 – South Delta / Tsawwassen Ferry to Bridgeport Station
Buses on these routes are often overcrowded at key times of day. Customers on the 555 and 351 in particular may have encountered packed buses at peak periods and shoulder periods on weekdays. People travelling on the other routes in this trial also often encounter crowded buses especially at peak periods during the week, says TransLink.
To meet its growing ridership into the future and continue to make transit an attractive option for commuters across the region, TransLink says it is experimenting with new fleet options to serve longer-distance routes where people’s trips often exceed 40 minutes. These buses will help ensure people not only get a spot on the bus, but that more of them also get a seat.
The double-decker buses in this pilot project can seat 80-86, up to 83% more seating than the older highway coaches, and have double the overall capacity. This pilot program will allow TransLink to see how double-decker buses fare in the Lower Mainland, both from a customer experience and operational standpoint, and to evaluate bus depot requirements.
Kevin Desmond, CEO, TransLink said: “We’re preparing for 1.2 million more people in our region over the next 30 years. With growing suburban demand in communities south of the Fraser River, we are looking at new ways to ensure that transit is an attractive option for commuters. Double-decker buses have worked well in other cities including nearby Victoria, and I have personal experience with buses like these in Seattle where they worked very well. I’m confident they’ll work well here too.”
Double-decker buses are used successfully in cities across the globe, including Ottawa, Toronto, Seattle and even as close to home as Victoria, notes TransLink.
Features of these double-decker buses include:
o Double the capacity of a conventional bus
o Panoramic views from the top deck
o A wide, well-lit staircase with handrails to maximize safety
o A screen that allows riders to see vacant seats up top before going upstairs
o Full accessibility with a low step, flat floor and ramp for boarding
As part of fleet purchases outlined in the 10-Year Vision, TransLink plans to procure 32 double-decker buses for its fleet by 2019.