The Community Transit Board of Directors has authorized the purchase of 17 double-decker buses to augment the agency’s current fleet of 45 “Double Talls” for commuter service to Seattle.
In June, the board authorized contracts for 26 of the 40-foot and 14 of the 60-foot buses to replace and expand the fleet, following a voter-approved service expansion. With an upcoming order for 15 Swift bus rapid transit vehicles, the agency is looking to buy as many as 232 new buses in the next five years.
Community Transit plans to purchase an initial order of 17 Double Talls from manufacturer Alexander Dennis Inc., the builder of the Enviro 500 double-decker buses the agency current has in service. Four of the new buses would replace aging 60-foot buses that serve the Seattle commuter market; the other 13 double deckers will be expansion buses to accommodate new service.
Community Transit has operated double-decker buses since 2007, when it leased a bus and put it into service to test the feasibility of operating double deckers. Not only did passengers love the bus, but drivers found it handled better in inclement weather. With nearly 80 seats, and standing room for up to 30 more people, the double decker proved more efficient than the 60-foot buses it would replace.
Community Transit put 23 Double Talls into operation in 2011 and another 22 buses last year. The initial order of 17 buses will give the agency a total of 62 Double Talls when they arrive in mid-to-late 2017.
Community Transit has an option to purchase 40 more double deckers under a joint contract with Sound Transit and Kitsap Transit. Last week, Sound Transit announced it is purchasing 32 new double deckers for its service between Snohomish and King counties. Community Transit operates that service out of its Kasch Park base in Everett, which was upgraded in 2010 to maintain double deckers. Sound Transit currently has five double deckers in service.