First of 57 TransLink double-decker buses to go into service this fall

Aug 14 2019, 9:26 am

There is now a definitive timeline for when Metro Vancouver’s first double-decker public transit buses will go into service.

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TransLink announced today that first of 32 new double-decker buses will enter service in October on the No. 301 Newton Exchange/Richmond-Brighouse Station and No. 620 Bridgeport Station/Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal routes.

In January 2020, as more buses arrive and complete final commissioning, they will be used on the No. 555 Lougheed Station/Carvolth Exchange route. The first bus of the order arrived last month.

TransLink's new double decker bus, July 2019. (TransLink)

TransLink’s new double-decker bus, July 2019. (TransLink)

View from the front of the TransLink double-decker bus on the upper deck. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

All three routes are longer haul, suburban routes where double-decker buses have been deemed to be more feasible and efficient.

These routes are seeing significant year-over-year ridership growth, with the No. 301 and No. 620 experiencing increases of 21% and 14%, respectively, in 2018. The No. 555 on Highway 1 has seen its ridership increase by about 65% between 2014 and 2018, when nearly 1.2 million boardings were recorded.

The new buses expand and replace the public transit authority’s current fleet of aging highway coaches. The vehicles have the same length as a standard 40-ft bus, but they fit far more people, with seating capacity alone reaching 83 people — an 83% increase over the existing coaches.

The top of the stairwell on the upper deck of a TransLink double-decker bus. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

TransLink’s double-deck bus features entail not only panoramic views from the upper deck, but also plug-in USB charging outlets, a TV screen allowing passengers to see vacant seats before going upstairs, a wide and well-lit staircase with handrails to maximize safety, and full accessibility with a low-floor and boarding ramp.

“The double-deckers are one way we are elevating the customer experience,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond in a statement. “This addition to our fleet not only improves capacity on our busier long-haul routes, but also provides a unique experience to our customers.”

This ‘Enviro 500’ model of bus is manufactured by UK-based Alexander Dennis, which is one of the world’s largest suppliers of double-decker buses. The federal government’s gas tax covered 90% of the cost of the order, while TransLink covered the remainder.

By Fall 2020, TransLink will have a total fleet of 57 double-decker buses, as an additional order of 25 buses has been made. These buses will be used on other routes elsewhere in the region. 

Inside the upper deck of TransLink’s double-decker bus. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

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