Sam, in the comments of my post about Double-Decker buses, asked if the double decker buses differ much vis-a-vis articulated buses in terms of fuel efficiency. I posed that question to Martin Munguia, Community Transit’s public information officer, and here’s his reply:

The double decker gets slightly better gas mileage than the articulated buses. Our articulated buses get about 4-5 miles per gallon, while the double decker, according to the manufacturer, get about 4-6 mpg, on the higher end while on the highway, which is largely where our bus will be driving.

Of course, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison since we have
history with the artics (cool bus-people talk for articulated buses – ed.) on our routes and no such history with the double decker yet. Over the course of our yearlong lease fuel efficiency is one element we’ll be watching.

Five vs. six is actually a 20% increase in fuel efficiency if they get it, but it looks to be about the same. I also asked Martin whether boarding times would be longer and here is his response:

If you’re talking about a capacity crowd boarding or deboarding at the same time, say at a commuter park & ride in the morning, the answer is yes [they would be longer]. Rather than getting on the bus and heading straight to the back to sit down, as on an arctic, people will get on the double decker at the front and decide to go up the stairs or stay downstairs, as well as whether to sit in the front or rear.

When boarding or deboarding in traffic, there will not be as many people getting on at the same time, but it still could take longer as some people will go upstairs to sit, or come from upstairs to deboard. There is a camera at the front of the top deck so the driver can see if someone is coming is standing and won’t start moving until that person is either seated or makes her way off the bus. This is the primary reason this bus will not be used for local service.

In the commuter situation, boarding in the morning and deboarding in the afternoon will not add significant time, maybe a couple minutes.

So it’s a small trade off.

I also asked Sound Transit about the safety in Beacon Hill Station, since there will be only elevators (and emergency stairs) to get people to the surface. Jennifer Lemus responded with the below.

When light rail opens, there will be a very visible security presence – this is similar to what Sound Transit did on the Tacoma light rail project. Security personnel may ride on trains, as well as patrol the Beacon Hill Station’s underground platform, aboveground plaza, and elevators. The Beacon Hill station itself has been designed to provide good sightlines and lighting, so as to avoid creating dark corners where crime could occur.

So the station was designed with security in mind. It also looks like Sound Transit is doing their due dilligence on planing with local law enforcement.

This design has been extensively reviewed with City of Seattle Police and Fire Departments. Other security elements in the station design include closed circuit television cameras, panic alarms, and intrusion alarms. Before the station opens, Sound Transit will conduct a threat and vulnerability assessment for the station, including talking with neighbors and reviewing crime statistics. Neighborhood activism (i.e., citizen Block Watch) will also make a difference in helping maintain a safe environment

She also attached a document about safety on Beacon Hill Station. However, due to techincal limitations of blogger (can’t upload pdfs), I am unable to share that with you. I will try to figure out a work-around.