Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Double-decker buses could roll into Metro Vancouver

with one comment

This was the headline in the Surrey Leader last week.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says double deckers are run by BC Transit in Victoria as well as his former employer Sound Transit on intercity routes between Everett and Seattle, where they’re popular with passengers.

Desmond said he believes they could have potential to add capacity in certain parts of Metro Vancouver, although they couldn’t run on routes with low obstructions.

“They would not fit through the Massey Tunnel, for example,” Desmond said.

Well the buses currently used in Victoria wouldn’t, but that is only because they are 4.4m “highbridge” buses.

BCT 9510

But that is the tallest buses get, and there are many places where these buses are too high. And the manufacturers do produce much lower double deck buses. Some of the more recent purchases for GO Transit in Toronto, for example.

DI410 - GO 8311 - Toronto, York University - 29 Sep 2016

Paul Bateson photo on flickr, used by permission

This is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 Super Lo version at 3.91 metres high. The Massey Tunnel has a posted height limit of 4.1m: similarly there is a restriction on Highway 1 west of Abbotsford of 4.3m. So again for service on the express 555 from Langley to Braid Station, double deckers would provide much more seated accommodation. I would warn, however, that the seating currently in use on both Translink Express services and BC Transit double deckers is too close for comfort on longer distance services. Packing as many people as possible onto a bus may be good short term economics, but for passenger retention and more diversion from private cars, I think people of over 1.7m need to have adequate knee room when seated. Just because many airlines go for tight seat pitch is not a good example for other modes!

And while we are on the subject of higher capacity buses I can think of some routes where a few of these would not go amiss

Hess Lightram 3 - TPG (Transports Publics Genevois) n°783

Geneva Public Transport Hess Lightram 3 on the airport route

Written by Stephen Rees

October 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

Posted in transit, Transportation

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. The current emphasis at TransLink appears to be standardizing the fleet using buses best suited for short distance standees. The old highway coaches are seen as a luxury instead of the type of bus actually necessary to attract drivers. A double decker “Greyhound” is probably the best type of bus for the long haul, limited stop routes.

    As for the Lightram, that would require changes to laws regarding maximum vehicle length, a move that would also have an impact on trucking and thus requires a lot of thought.

    I remember seeing photos elsewhere of a 65ft bus (ours currently limited to 60ft) with a fourth door that would boost capacity and reduce loading times for routes like the 43, 49 and 99. Such a vehicle would still require law changes, but the effect would be minor. It wouldn’t permit double articulated passenger or freight vehicles and unless similar changes occurred in neighbouring states/provinces would have minimal effect on the length of semi-trailer trucks in BC.


    October 10, 2016 at 5:50 pm

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