News / Vancouver

TransLink rolls out double-decker buses

Three-month pilot project will see double-decker buses on seven routes starting next week.

TransLink is doubling up on some of its busiest bus routes.

The transit authority’s CEO, Kevin Desmond, says that two double-decker buses – like those seen in London, England and here in Victoria – will be operating along seven busy routes starting next week as part of a three-month trial.

“We’re trying something new. These buses are part of our solution to crowding,” said Desmond during a demonstration of the new buses Thursday. “These buses provide twice the capacity of the current 40-foot buses that operate on the routes that we’re going to be testing. We can reduce the chance of people being passed up and we can improve service quality while carrying more people.”

The buses have seating for more than 80 people and will come in handy on routes like the 301, from Newtown Exchange in Surrey to Brighouse Station in Richmond, Desmond said.

“That bus chronically has at least 11 standees. If you’re on a bus that’s operating on a highway with only 40 seats, that’s not the most comfortable ride,” said Desmond. “We want to give people a break.”

Other routes that the double-decker buses will be used on include the 311 (Scottsdale to Bridgeport), 351/354 (White Rock/South Surrey to Bridgeport), 555 (Carvolth Exchange to Lougheed Station) and the 601/620 (South Delta/Tsawwassen to Bridgeport) routes.

The top deck on the buses sport a panoramic view, while a screen on the main floor will show passengers how many seats are available upstairs in real-time.

If the trial proves successful, TransLink plans to buy 32 double decker buses by 2019.

Desmond said the buses are required to keep up with demand in a fast-growing region.

Transit ridership increased by 4.5 per cent last year, and this year has already seen a 6.5 per cent growth over that.

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