Two new 80-seat double decker buses will be hitting Metro Vancouver roads next week, as part of a three-month pilot project evaluating how Translink can better manage capacity in the growing region.
“We’re preparing for 1.2 million more people in our region over the next 30 years. With growing suburban demand in communities south of the Fraser River, we are looking at new ways to ensure that transit is an attractive option for commuters,” CEO Kevin Desmond said during the official pilot launch Thursday.
Two buses will begin service next week on routes travelling toward Vancouver from Langley, Surrey, White Rock and Delta, including:
- 301 – Newton Exchange to Brighouse Station
- 311 – Scottsdale Exchange in Delta to Bridgeport Station
- 351/354 – White Rock/South Surrey to Bridgeport Station
- 555 – Carvolth Exchange in Langley to Lougheed Station
- 601/620 – South Delta/Tsawwassen Ferry to Bridgeport Station
These specific routes were chosen due to overcrowding at key times of the day, Desmond explained, specifically in Langley and Surrey.
Double decker buses are already used on certain routes on Vancouver Island.
Early this year, route testing was done using a retired 40-foot bus with a frame attached to the top, catching the attention of residents in White Rock.
To prepare for the pilot program, obstacles such as branches on routes were removed.
Features of new buses beyond just capacity
The new buses include technology that allow for easy access to seats on the second floor, such as wide and lit staircases with handrails and screens near the driver that allow riders to see vacant seats up top before going upstairs.
If the double-decker buses are received positively by riders, the goal is to have up to 32 buses on Translink routes by 2019, according to a report discussed at a board meeting Thursday morning in New Westminster.
More to come.