Metro Vancouver transit users will see a new fleet of double-decker buses hitting the streets by mid-2019.
The move was announced at Thursday’s TransLink board meeting and follows a four-month pilot project with two buses on seven routes throughout the region.
There will be 32 buses in total: 27 of them will be replacements and five will be new.
The vehicles, which seat double the passengers of a standard bus, are designed for long-haul rides – an average trip time of 40 minutes, according to Coast Mountain Bus Company president Haydn Acheson.
“Loading and unloading times are a little higher due to the upper deck,” said Acheson. “That’s why these are more suited to highways than stop-and-starts in the city.
The fuel efficiency is slightly better than TransLink’s articulated buses, he added.
“(The public) said it was a very smooth ride and in particular those who commute to work, and have laptops, really appreciate features such as power plugs and USB ports.”
Riders did have some concerns.
“Taller customers felt that the upper deck ceilings were low,” Acheson said. “Not enough room for luggage on ferry routes.”
He acknowledged there were concerns with too-low power wires in areas such as Delta. TransLink attempted to run a test on the 601 route throughout the city, but was only able to operate it for three days after the wires were raised.