Already celebrating a 10 percent climb in ridership in 2007, Snohomish, Wash.-based Community Transit will purchase 23 double-decker buses for its daily commuter runs to Seattle.
“People are exploring their commute options, and we’re doing our best to make transit attractive,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor. “Whether it is because of high gas prices, congestion on our roads or concern for the environment, we are seeing more people on our buses and in our vanpools.”
The agency became the second in the nation to put a modern double-decker into regular service last August, dubbing it “The Double Tall.” The new double-deckers will replace 60-foot articulated buses nearing the end of their service life.
Community Transit will extend the lease on its first, well-received double-decker until the new fleet arrives in 2010. The agency initially leased the bus for one year to study its performance on routes and gauge public opinion, which it scored well at both.
Funds for the new buses were procured in March, when Eleanor and several Community Transit board members went to Washington, D.C., to ask the state’s federal officials for the $8 million that was necessary. It is currently in the process of going to bid to determine who the manufacturer of the buses will be.
“Aside from the great views on ‘The Double Tall,’ this bus can hold more passengers than a 60-foot bus, while taking up less road space,” said Eleanor. “The smaller footprint also means it takes up less room on downtown Seattle streets and less space at our operating base.”
As for its third consecutive record-breaking year of ridership, Community Transit increased the number of passengers riding its bus, vanpool and paratransit services by one million, from 9.9 million in 2006 to 10.9 million in 2007. The trend continued this January, with ridership up eight percent over the same period a year ago.