Wash. transit unveils new double-decker buses

Posted on April 7, 2011

Everitt, Wash.-based Community Transit debuted the first of 23 new double-deck buses last week on a route that links to downtown Seattle. The buses, which were paid for largely by a federal stimulus grant, will replace some of the agency’s oldest buses.

The double-decker buses, dubbed the “Double Talls,” are replacing 60-foot articulated buses that were manufactured in 1998 and are beyond their federal replacement schedule.

The buses are 42 feet long and 14 feet tall. They seat 77 passengers — 49 upstairs, 28 downstairs — plus have designated standing room. The Double Talls will seat more passengers than the buses they are replacing, easing the crowding on popular commuter buses. The smaller footprint of the bus saves room on the roads and at the agency’s base.

The Double Tall buses also require less maintenance and use less fuel than the buses they are replacing, which will save the agency money.

“The Double Talls are popular and practical, and we are excited to be the first transit agency in the Northwest to put them into regular service,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor.

Community Transit leased a double-deck bus from 2007 to 2009 to gauge its practicality as a regular commuter bus. The bus transported more people for the same cost as an articulated bus, with fewer maintenance and operational concerns. Riders regularly followed the leased bus around to get an opportunity to ride The Double Tall.

The vehicles are built by Alexander Dennis Ltd., the same company that makes the famous London double deckers. Community Transit’s decision to buy these buses encouraged the Scotland-based bus manufacturer to develop a plant in the U.S. so the buses could meet federal Buy America standards, which was required by the federal stimulus grant.

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