Photo by Wings777

The first 23 double-decker buses, funded by the feds to replace aging 60-foot articulated ones, entered service on Community Transit’s Route 413 on Thursday.

The buses have 77 seats, and fit more people for less maintenance and lower operating cost than their predecessors.

CT had leased a double-decker for experiments from 2007-2009.

102 Replies to “Double Talls are Back”

  1. So I saw one of these downtown the other day. How close do they get to the overhead wires for the ETB’s and traffic lights?

      1. Most trailers are 13′ 6″ spec. The tallest vehicles I drive are Prevost H3-41/45’s at 12′ 4″

  2. The buses have 77 seats, and fit more people for less maintenance and lower operating cost than their predecessors.
    and they are so much cooler looking as well!

    1. And the people on the second deck get an amazing view! That certainly is a bonus in my opinion.

  3. Besides giving 49 choice riders a magnificent view (assuming the windows don’t get overtinted or bus-wrapped), and giving the route instant branding, these buses take up less precious parking space at the bases. They would be a bad idea for an inner-city route or BRT, but should be an awesome fit for inter-city express service (wherever clearance allows it).

    How do they do in the snow and ice, though? And how well are they designed for wheelchairs and bikes?

      1. Boarding and alighting time, for starters.

        Can they clear the trolley wire?

        How do they do on hills?

      2. They won’t be running these on the Snohomish County-UW routes because of trolley wire clearance issues.

        The double deck tour buses seem to work in hilly San Francisco. If necessary, we could have double deck trolley buses! London used to have them.

      3. Another reason why they won’t be running on the UW routes is that CT operates the UW routes out of a different base than the double talls are operated out of.

      4. Where are the trolley wire clearance issues? Also, I assume the new Montlake Triangle project will build that bridge with plenty of clearance for double deckers?

        To be clear, I like double decker busses, but in a hilly city like this, I like trolleybusses even more.

      5. I imagine on 45th, but why aren’t there trolley wire clearance issues downtown as well? James, Madison, Marion, Pine? Is clearing the trolley wire only a problem when you’re moving parallel to them or when they’re going uphill?

    1. Artics, especially with three doors, can load and unload faster. That London uses double-deckers is mostly due to inertia and the British public’s rather irrational fear and dislike of artics. That said, they can certainly be made to work in the city, I just think there are better options for Seattle’s urban routes. I do think they could be excellent replacements for D60LFs on Metro’s suburban routes.

      1. CT found that double-talls don’t take any more time to load/unload than articulated buses:

        We did a dwell time study for the Seattle Department of Transportation to see if it took longer to load and unload the Double Tall on busy downtown streets. The result: no. In fact, the shorter length of the bus compared to articulated buses helped to keep vehicles from “blocking the box” at rush hour.

        And the fact that most people will probably exit through the rear door on a double-tall would be a significant improvement over current practice. Or stupid pay-as-you leave, where people walk or squeeze through 50′ of people to pay at the front door.

      2. London has a lot of short blocks and large roundabouts where articulated buses would perform poorly.

      3. Fair enough. My commonsense feel is that there would still be a penalty compared to a 40′ bus on routes with constant on-offs like the 40′ trolley routes (I.D. through Belltown), although I can’t back that up with data. I wonder if a trolley conversion would be possible — I think Hong Kong has double-deck trolleys.

      4. No, apparently that was a trial that was discontinued. Still, I’m sure it’s mechanically possible and I’d be very much in favor of it if so. I think I’d sooner bump our existing 40′ trolley routes to ten minute service before we did that though.

      5. I don’t think London has any shorter blocks or traffic circles than Paris or Rome, which manage fleets of many artics.

      6. “CT found that double-talls don’t take any more time to load/unload than articulated buses.”

        Sounds like good news for potential double-deckers on popular ST routes then.

    2. Right, Bernie. Why would they be a bad idea for inner city routes? Not just London but Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Victoria, B.C., etc.

      “buses take up less precious parking space at the bases” ditto, for on-street layover space, which is hard to find in the city, and for bus loading zones, especially during rush hour with high volumes of buses, and for street space overall. In congested cities, that’s the double deckers’ primary advantage over long ‘bendy’ buses.

      Bikes: standard bike racks on the front of the bus

      Wheelchairs: standard front door ADA ramp with securement positions behind the front wheels (curb side) and behind the staircase opposite rear door (driver side) and the flip up seats.

    3. And how well are they designed for wheelchairs and bikes?

      Wheelchairs are about the same as any other low floor coach; there are two areas that have a flip-down 3 seat bench: one here and one here. Sadly, there is no elevator to allow wheelchairs on the upper deck.

      The bus has a standard two-position bike rack on the front.

      1. They have the same mount. CT chose not to buy them. They’ve had problems with some of the 3-position racks in the past.

      2. @Brent, the new three-bike racks are a poor overall quality in my opinion compared to the original “hook” style on paired racks. Just this morning I was fighting with one on the CT 880.

        That said, I still prefer the more bike option, two isn’t enough on several routes.

      3. Says Casey:

        Back in 2007, Metro put these bike racks on All Eastside, and most of the South Base coaches. After about a year, all of these racks were pulled, due to a design issue. For some reason, the rack was bouncing too much. There were a couple incidents on South Base routes, with some bikes falling off. We tried putting a secondy strap to hold the rear wheel too, but it was too confusing for most riders. So these racks were pulled off Metro coaches. I’ve noticed these racks too coming back of CT and CT operated ST routes, and I assume the middle rack is gone to prevent the problem Metro had, or mabye to help the driver out when turning. With the center rack, the bike rack sticks way out to the left, making it hard to make sharp right turns…..I used to have to deal with that alot on the 255.

  4. Do Commerce Street, Tacoma Dome Station, Federal Way TC, Burien TC, Mountlake Terrace Station, Lynnwood TC, and Everett Station have the clearance to use double-deckers?

      1. Is that clearance easily fixable? Are there other workarounds that would provide the option of converting the 59x fleet to double-talls?

      2. ST doesn’t currently have PT operating any artics (they did have some at one point), so the oldest high capacity* coaches that PT is operating right now were delivered in 2005. So you wouldn’t be looking at this until 2017 at the earliest.

        *40 foot coaches, whether high or low floor aren’t really “high capacity”. I would consider the MCIs, at 60 seated capacity, to be high capacity. 40′ coaches are usually in the high 30s to low 40s.

      3. The clearance is not easily fixed. It’s a pedestrian bridge from the bus island to the garage. It would create some rather unique routing for southbound ST service.

  5. Brent,

    Not sure on the clearance for some of the transit centers you listed, I know the 413 stops at MLTTC. So I’d wager the double talls would be okay in most TC’s. There was a couple of cool photos floating around late last year when a string of the double talls were caught on camera coming up I-5 in one of our snow storms (delivery from CA I think?). It was noted the double talls do just as well as any 40ft coach in the snow.

    They sure look cool!

    1. Thanks for the info, Swift Rider! BTW, how do Snohomish-County-to-Seattle commuters connect between downtown Seattle and SWIFT?

      1. There are several short or immediate transfers between Swift and Seattle routes:
        – Everett Station – ST 510/513
        – Lincoln Way – CT 417
        – 216th – Seattle and UW CT routes out of Edmonds P&R
        – 238th – CT 416 (I ride this one from Edmonds to Swift for the commute to Everett)

  6. I know some of you must be wondering if double-tall articulateds are next. I didn’t see any on the manufacturer’s webpage, but they did have the longer Enviro500, which is low-floor (like nearly all the other buses they sell), hybrid, and seats up to 100.

    http://www.alexander-dennis.com/product-details.php?s=82&subs=45&tableID=222&itemID=1

    Check it out, ST and Metro!

    One of the clever design points of low-floor double talls is that they don’t worry about how many seats have to be given up for engine space in the back of the first level. Hence the large second-level-to-first-level seating ratio.

    Imagine how many operating hours ST could save by converting the 59x’s to Enviro500s.

    1. I can’t find any specs showing seating capacity on any MCI D4500s anywhere close to 83 seats. Most show 55. Is that the model you meant?

      I do see that CT’s double talls *are* Enviro500s, which can be recognized by the three axels. (Doh!) CT simply chose to go with a little more spaciousness, and had to give up a few seats to the wheelchair zone.

  7. Just a comment on adding double deckers to suburban express routes:

    It’s a known fact that Sound Transit is in the process of purchasing and owning the DSTT 100%. It is MY OPINION that one day only ST buses and trains will be running in the tunnel, which I totally support, but which means ST cannot buy this equipment for future use. Anyone agree?

    1. Under existing agreements that were signed when ST refitted the tunnel a few years ago, ownership of the tunnel transfers from Metro to ST in 2016, before U-Link opens. When U-Link opens, I expect ST to kick out many of the busses currently in the tunnel. When East Link and North Link open, all of the busses will have to go as there won’t be room for them (and many of the routes will have been replaced.) Also, the only ST route currently in the tunnel is the 550, all the others are on the surface. So I don’t think the tunnel has any bearing on this.

      1. Yes, I was just suggesting that ST routes not currently in the tunnel would be shifted to the tunnel. Again, this is just my opinion. This isn’t very many routes, so I imagine that a couple routes could be squeezed into the tunnel, even after the new LINK lines are here.

      2. Link will be running with peak headways between 3 and 5 minutes. Moreover, the busses are the primary source of unreliability in the tunnel. Keeping any bus routes in the tunnel after North Link and East Link enter service would be most unwise. Dual bus-train operations are a kludge to get us by while Link builds out.

      3. Could be, but I’m imagining that North Link, U-Link, and Airport Link will be combined for trip, and also the possibility that East Link could be combined with North Link, which means that only 2 times more trains would be in the tunnel than there are now. As you say, that’s one every 3-5 minutes.

        After all Link lines are in existence, ST 545 would likely be disolved, and certainly the 550. That only leaves the 522 and 554 (the last downtown Seattle, King County-operate routes) left.

        I totally agree that when a bus breaks down in the tunnel, it’s a pain for everyone, but I’m not in agreement that normally-operating buses in the tunnel slow things down more than should be expected. Ride the train from the airport stopping once a mile and get downtown and stop every 4 blocks, yes, it takes longer to get through downtown comparatively.

        During peak LINK hours, 522 runs 5 times an hour and the 554 runs twice an hour. Added to that, both buses will be operating in opposite directions through the tunnel, so at the most, you have 1 bus running every 12 minutes through the tunnel per direction. I think it’s in ST’s best interest to consolidate stops in downtown, at the very least, by eliminating the KCM-operated routes on the surface and moving them underground.

      4. I doubt the 545 will go away even when Link is built out to Redmond (which is not funded in ST 2, and is thus a good 12+ years away). There are heaps of Redmond-Downtown commuters who aren’t going to want to go the long way.

        75% of the point of rail is to avoid the longer dwell times for busses (especially when there may be unpredictable ADA requests that delay the bus by at least a minute) so that you can run trains very frequently and punctually (as in, within a minute). Frankly, the idea of running busses in the tunnel after North Link is hare-brained, and I seriously hope that ST does nothing of the sort. In fact, I (and I suspect everyone else reading) would actually prefer it if they kicked all the busses out of the tunnel when U-Link is complete.

      5. The 522 cannot be converted to double-talls. The northbound exit from I-5 to SR 522 is one of those on the state’s list as low clearance. (Thanks, Bernie!) However, after Roosevelt Station opens, that could be reconsidered. My understanding is that the 522 is in the queue for RapidRide conversion.

        I doubt all the Metro buses will be kicked out of the DSTT in 2016. First, I don’t think the number of train trips through the tunnel will increase significantly. Yes, there will be higher ridership, and longer trains, but that won’t impinge on bus throughput. Only decreasing the train headway will.

        I also doubt Metro and ST will want to alter more routes than necessary. Metro still buys into the misinterpretation of the maxim that “Buses should stay on the same street for as long as possible.”

        Even after kicking the 7x’s out, and maybe the 255 and 256, that will still leave a lot of the current buses in the tunnel. ST would love to keep getting rent from Metro for all the current bus trips.

        Other than the 554, there really aren’t any ST routes I want to see added to the tunnel. They are best left interlined with other buses going to overlapping destinations.

      6. How and why on earth would they convert the 522 to RapidRide? Where did you pick up this particular rumor?

      7. If you’re referring to the various proposals floating around for improving bus service on SR 522 to Bothell, those are not RapidRide proposals. I imagine they’re basically improvements to the 522, which is a regional express, not enhanced local service with stops every 1/2 mile like RapidRide.

      8. First, after I left the last post, I realized that my brain didn’t calculate correctly. So correction: during peak times, there would be 9 buses per hour in each direction if the 522 and 554 moved to the tunnel.

        OK, back to this: I’m very confident that the 545 will go away after East Link is here. The 542 has already been implemented for the route 545 between Redmond and the U-District. I believe it will stay in place. If you look at a map, the route of East Link and the 545 is very close mileage-wise. One way may seem like a “longer-route,” but I think we’re stuck in our “things have always been done this way” mentality and should broaden our horizons. Bottom line here, I don’t think there are heaps of people who will turn down a train at Redmond TC in order to take a bus headed to downtown Seattle. I think THAT is hare-brained. I think the 545 will SO be a thing of the past.

        You suggest that everyone else reading would prefer buses out of the tunnel after U-Link is opened. You say that as if I like the idea of buses in the tunnel. Truth is, I think it’s running at capacity right now. It would be nice to less less buses in the tunnel right now. After U-Link, the 71, 72, 73 will likely be gone (?). That leaves 2 regular routes 255 (which will probably be pushed to surface streets) and 41 (41 will be gone after North Link is here). I just don’t see 9 buses in each direction during peak (4-6 in each direction during non-peak) a big deal. Again, I think some people are agitated with the current situation and are wanting drastic change. Sometimes little changes make all the difference.

        There will be many benefits of moving all express service to the tunnel, including getting rid of the ride free area and having to deal with people who use the service just to go from one side of town to another. Leave those people on the surface.

        I could write and write all day, ha, but I won’t.

      9. Did you actually read my comment? Long-term, the goal is for sub-five minute headways from the I.D. to Northgate. I think the original proposal was three minute headways based on three lines interlined Downtown. Busses are not compatible with that for reasons I outlined, nor are they compatible with any high-frequency shared operation.

        Fortunately, I think this nutty idea his no purchase on anyone’s mind but yours.

      10. Could be, but I’m imagining that North Link, U-Link, and Airport Link will be combined for trip, and also the possibility that East Link could be combined with North Link, which means that only 2 times more trains would be in the tunnel than there are now. As you say, that’s one every 3-5 minutes.

        The plan of record is for trains to split at ID; some will head east to Bellevue, and some will head south to the airport, but everything goes north.

        Long-term, the goal is for sub-five minute headways from the I.D. to Northgate. I think the original proposal was three minute headways based on three lines interlined Downtown. Busses are not compatible with that for reasons I outlined, nor are they compatible with any high-frequency shared operation.

        Short-term — as in, before East Link opens — I think it’s entirely reasonable to run I-90 service in the tunnel (and nothing else). That’s just taking the capacity that would be used for East Link, and instead using it for the closest available substitute.

        By my (very rough) calculations, if all the non-I-90 buses (e.g. 101, 102, 106, 150, 255, 256, and maybe 301/316) were removed today, that would leave more than enough room for all the remaining I-90 buses (111, 114, 210, 211, 214, 215, 554).

        To me, that seems like the most appropriate way to run the tunnel. It’s eventually going to serve passengers roughly along the I-5 corridor north, and roughly along the I-90 corridor east. Until trains serve those corridors, put the buses in the tunnel (where they can get riders used to the stations, and take advantage of highway access ramps).

        I doubt the 545 will go away even when Link is built out to Redmond (which is not funded in ST 2, and is thus a good 12+ years away). There are heaps of Redmond-Downtown commuters who aren’t going to want to go the long way.

        I’m with Kerry on this one. It’s the long way for Capitol Hill and U-District commuters, but for anyone who has to take a bus to Westlake, the 545 and East Link should be pretty much equivalent. And for anyone coming from south of downtown — e.g. First Hill, West Seattle, Rainier Valley — East Link will actually be shorter.

      11. “75% of the point of rail is to avoid the longer dwell times for busses ”

        The average dwell time for SWIFT buses is about 12 seconds. The average dwell time for Central Link light rail is probably around 25 seconds, or twice as long as for SWIFT buses. Which means, according to your theory, that there is no point at all in rail, since the dwell times for rail are about double that for SWIFT-style buses.

      12. Why does everyone have this enormous boner for putting the I-90 busses in the tunnel? Link will not serve Eastgate, Issaquah, Factoria, Newcastle, Sammamish or North Bend, so you can’t justify them as something that will be replaced.

        More importantly, commuters don’t care about whether their bus to Sammamish shares a stop with the bus to Newcastle (or whatever). This is distinct from non-commute bus service, where it makes sense to concentrate frequent busses that share corridors. For example, if I want to go to Queen Anne, I just head to 3rd & Pike because the 1-4, 13, 15 and 18 all stop there, so I just grab the first one. (That is why Metro’s recent service change made so much sense.)

        Finally, almost all the I-90 busses are peak-only. The tunnel should have all-day busses, so its capacity is not wasted in the middle of the day. The only good candidate I can think of offhand is the 554.

      13. I’d take that plan with a grain of salt. Central Link’s initial plan was for every other train to terminate at Rainier Beach.

      14. “75% of the point of rail is to avoid the longer dwell times for busses ”

        The average dwell time for SWIFT buses is about 12 seconds. The average dwell time for Central Link light rail is probably around 25 seconds, or twice as long as for SWIFT buses. Which means, according to your theory, that there is no point at all in rail, since the dwell times for rail are about double that for SWIFT-style buses.

        Nice try, Norman. The capacity of a Swift bus is, depending on which numbers you use, half or less than half of that of a single Link car. It’s a no brainer that you need to stop half as long to load and unload half as many people.

      15. What does that have to do with anything, Tim? If you are taking a trip on a bus, and the dwell times are only 12 seconds, that saves a lot of time vs dwell times of 25 seconds, no?

        Articulated buses hold about 90 passengers, Link cars hold 132. Link cars do not hold anywhere hear twice as many passengers as articulated buses.

      16. Bruce:

        As other people have pointed out, one huge benefit of the tunnel is the direct access to I-90. In contrast, buses heading north, like the 255/256, are actually slowed down by the awkward manuevers at Convention Place. (The exception are peak-only buses that only travel when the express lane ramps are open.) Thus, by putting more I-90 buses in the tunnel, you get to make better use of this otherwise-empty roadway.

        While Link will not directly serve many of the destinations you mention, it’s possible/likely that many of these buses will be truncated either at Mercer Island or South Bellevue P&R. So it seems reasonable to reuse at least some of this capacity.

        I agree with you about commuters; someone who just takes the same bus at the same time every day doesn’t really care where it is. But commuter buses also represent extra service to common destinations at peak hours. If I normally take the 545, but I happen to be at OTC and a 256 comes, I’ll take it. Similarly, the 210 adds peak service to Mercer, and the 214/215 add service to Eastgate. (The 211 doesn’t go downtown, and the 111/114 don’t share any stops with the other Eastside buses, so forget about them.) So consolidating corridors is an easy, cheap way to increase frequency to these destinations.

        And finally, while I agree with you about using the tunnel’s capacity for all-day service, I think it’s important to note that all the routes I want to remove from the tunnel, only four are all-day; one (the 255) is pretty much universally agreed to not belong in the tunnel, and the other three (101, 106, 150) will need to get kicked out eventually anyway. So this wouldn’t be a significant increase in peak usage.

        I like to think of many of these commuter routes as peak-only deviations from regular routes. The 256 is in the tunnel precisely because the 255 is. The 102 is because the 101 is. And all these I-90 routes are just deviations from the 550/554. :)

      17. The peak only busses can use the express ramp in the I.D. Moreover the busses you propose to kick out, notably including the 101, 106 and 150, carry vastly more people than all the I-90 routes, and they benefit from the direct access to the SODO busway, without which they will have to wait at the light in both directions at Royal Brougham. Your tradeoff, then, is to make lots more people wait at a traffic light, versus a smaller number getting on the interstate quicker. This makes no sense, and is political dynamite because of the demographics of south vs. east King.

        Ultimately, of course, all the busses will be kicked out of the tunnel, most routes without a direct replacement, at least at the very moment they’re kicked out. But if we’re going to have busses in the tunnel after U-Link, they should provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number. That means the 41 should stay, and then the 150, 101 and 106. That’s plenty, no need to get Eastside routes involved.

        Also, keep in mind, they’re going to be hacking up the express lanes and the I-90 ramp from the tunnel for much of the time between U-Link and East Link. So you’re not getting much for all the inconvenience you’re causing others anyway.

      18. Bruce,

        Getting past your colorful expression that really shouldn’t be used on a public blog, the point of I-90 bus consolidation isn’t for those travelling to Sammamish or Newcastle. Its for those travelling to Issaquah, or Eastgate, or Mercer Island — destinations which are served by multiple downtown routes, some in the tunnel and some not — which would infuriate me if one of those locations were where I was trying to go. Since the I-90 routes have so much overlap in serving Mercer Island, Eastgate, and Issaquah, they ideally ought to either all be in the tunnel or all on 2nd Ave, for the convenience of the riders who don’t want to have to guess whether waiting on 2nd or in the tunnel would get them where they are going faster. Most are in the tunnel, so consolidating them in the tunnel would theoretically be easier. Indeed, since the 554 runs less during peak, it is an easy addition if the 255 and 256 are kicked upstairs.

        The 255 and 256 don’t belong in the tunnel because all the rest of the routes serving Montlake, Yarrow Point, etc are up on 4th Ave. So the similar desire to know where to wait kicks in.

        The remaining four I-90 routes would have room to be put in the tunnel if the 101/102 (which is mostly empty mid-day) were moved upstairs, with a couple buses to spare.

        Now, please go easy on me. I don’t like being called dumb.

        BTW, we’ve veered so far off topic that we better hope we’re in a single-tall.

      19. Tim: show me a video of a Link train stopping anywhere for only 12 seconds. Have you ever seen 90 people get off a Link train in 12 seconds? No.

        When Link trains load or unload large numbers at Stadium station before or after a sports event, their dwell time is probably at least one minute.

        Have you ever ridden Link?

      20. At the end of the day, all I want is corridor consolidation. The I-90 ramp aside, I would be just as happy to kick out all of the I-90 buses (even the 550) and replace them with routes that head south along the busway (e.g. routes like the 39, 177, 190, 196, and/or 59x). I just don’t like the way that the current system splits corridors.

      21. Now that I could get behind 100%.

        I think corridor consolidation is good, although it’s not as high priority on commuter routes as frequent all-day routes. But in my mind it comes behind moving as many people around as fast as reasonably possible. For example, if moving the 15/18 to 3rd to be share stops with the Queen Anne trolleys had make those (very busy) routes slower, I would have opposed it. But it doesn’t, so I’m all in favor.

      22. I took a look at some performance numbers. Here’s what I found.

        – Currently, every route in the tunnel has at least 40 rides/rev. hr. at peak. I imagine this is partly because Metro picks the popular routes, and partly because of people who take intra-tunnel trips and don’t care what bus they get on.

        – The productivity of the south routes off-peak stays relatively high. The 101 and 106 actually see *more* rides/rev. hr., while the 150 declines only a bit.

        – The productivity of the east routes off-peak is… well, zero, since off-peak, there are only four Eastside buses in the entire system that go to Seattle (255, 271, 550, and 554). I’m discounting the 255 since it clearly doesn’t belong in the tunnel.

        I’m starting to like the symmetry of having all the eastside routes (for both bridges) on the surface.

        Interlining aside, it seems like there are at least a handful of routes that could be profitably moved to the busway/tunnel. Good candidates could include the 23, 34, 39, 123, 124, and/or 152.

      23. The 39 is through-routed with the 33, which would either need to be decoupled from the 39, or forced to take a circuitous route that doesn’t serve Belltown. The 34 would need to be moved off Dearborn (maybe to Holgate?) and would no longer serve the I-90 freeway station, or accomodate Martin’s Rainier Valley mobility proposal.

      24. The 39 is through-routed with the 33, which would either need to be decoupled from the 39, or forced to take a circuitous route that doesn’t serve Belltown.

        Like I said, my proposal doesn’t really take interlining into account. But in practice, I don’t think that decoupling the 39 and 33 would be a huge deal. There are a limited number of through-routes which riders actually depend on (e.g. 43/44); for the most part, they’re just an operations convenience, and so they can/should be rearranged at will.

        The 34 would need to be moved off Dearborn (maybe to Holgate?) and would no longer serve the I-90 freeway station, or accomodate Martin’s Rainier Valley mobility proposal.

        Nah, I just suggested the 34 because it’s basically an express deviation of the 39 at the moment, and so if the 39 was moved to the tunnel, the 34 should be too. Martin’s proposal for the 34 would be an equally good choice (and wouldn’t preclude putting the 34 in the tunnel).

      25. 545 is likely to continue after East Link opens.

        East Link will spend probably a decade or more terminating at Overlake, because the Overlake to Redmond segment is still only an unfunded “potential future expansion”. This still leaves the 545 as the only proper express between Redmond and Downtown.

        In addition, according to ST’s estimates and the current 545 schedule, the 545 saves about 10 minutes vs. East Link by bypassing Bellevue. Many riders will gladly give up those 10 minutes for the better comfort and reliability of the rail ride, but a significant few will probably still use the more direct route.

        545 ridership will plummet, to be sure. If you’ve ridden the 545 end-to-end, you probably have noticed that most of its ridership only goes as far east as Overlake. The UW commuters that used to get on at Redmond TC have been switching to the 542. So headways will get longer, and the route will probably go to 40′ coaches. But for the route to be eliminated entirely? I don’t buy it.

      26. Martin’s proposal for the 34 would be an equally good choice (and wouldn’t preclude putting the 34 in the tunnel).

        Um, how? You can’t get to Dearborn from the tunnel, at least not without a really circuitous route. (I’m almost tempted to say Martin’s vision for the 34 could be renumbered the 7; it’s basically drastically truncating the 7 and moving it from Jackson to Dearborn.)

      27. Not really, because it feeds directly into the express lanes, so buses are basically stopping at I-90/Rainier and then going directly onto the bridge.

    2. Bruce, we get it: You don’t agree with me. That doesn’t mean my idea is nutty or hare-brained, nor does it mean that I’m the only one who thinks this. I must say, it’s hard to take you seriously on this topic when every SINGLE time you have spelt “buses” as “busses.” Yes, we all DID read your comments…did you go to school?

      1. The fact that I don’t agree with you isn’t what makes your idea nutty or hare-brained. It’s that your idea and your attempted defense of it belie serious ignorance as to the purpose of grade-separated rail, the capacity of the DSTT, the drawbacks of shared bus-rail operations, and the history of planning for Central Link.

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/busses

        Busses is a variant spelling of buses. Do you know how you use a dictionary? Get your s*** straight before you try to be snarky.

  8. These are super handy in Cork. Just have to place them strategically because obviously for some routes they don’t work with particular alignments due to wires and underpasses.

  9. I don’t commute down to Seattle, but keep looking for reasons just so I can ride on a double tall. I just read they currently have 3??? on the road. Imagine how often they will be seen when all 23 are on the road!

    I pretty much use local routes to get to and from work, so these really don’t impact me very much at all. Other than I’ll probably look for completely trivial reasons to ride down to Seattle just to catch a ride on a double tall.

    1. 421 and 413 are pretty convenient, they stop at Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station or Lynnwood Transit Center. From there, it’s simply a matter of catching a 511 back to downtown.

      But if you live in Snohomish county, that’s a different story.

    2. Actually, Swift Rider, you will be the most impacted of anyone here by the success or failure of double talls to reduce runs and service hours on CT’s commuter routes. CT pours much of its available operating budget into these routes, at the expense of local service and any Sunday service at all.

  10. Why are the most people worrying that Double Talls take longer to load and unload? If so, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Victoria, which have double decker buses’ service, would never use double deckers. Especially, there are 3 million people taking double decker buses in Hong Kong everyday, but we have never had any technical problems with those buses.

    I see somebody says London uses double decker buses because it dislike articulated buses. It’s pretty ridiculous. There are articulated buses in London as well; but the reason why double deckers are more welcomed is they are more efficient and nimble than articulated buses. Double decker buses don’t need much space on the street; their performance is so good in bad weather condition like snowing even though CT’s ones don’t have a chance to show this kind of performance.

    I don’t see any excuses to doubt double decker buses’ ability. If somebody worries about beneficial result of double deckers buses or whether it is too big for an agency, there are still other choices in Alexander to fit to what each agency needs, like Enviro400 which is shorter than E500.

    Maybe we should see if it is good for CT.

    1. Do the aforementioned cities have a proof-of-payment system? Metro has to make an informed decision about which buses to purchase based on a number of factors, including how double-talls, two-door articulateds, and three-door articulateds compare in loading/unloading time with front-door payments systems, all-door payment systems, and POP with partial use of off-board payment/tapping.

      1. Sort of, the biggest three have VERY HIGH adoption of contactless smart cards like our ORCA.

        London has off-board payment for all buses in their central area, with ticket machines at bus stops selling single-trip and day passes (90% of riders use their Oyster Card).

        Singapore has a distance-based fare system on buses (tap-on/tap-off), 83.2% of riders use their EZ-Link card to pay.

        95% of people in Hong Kong have and use their Octopus Card.

      2. So much of what we want to do (encourage Link transfers, eliminate the RFA, POP or even just having a security guard with an ORCA reader at the back door at a TC) goes hand-in-hand with ORCA adoption. How did these places get to where they are?

    2. They said the same things about the MCIs when they first were bieng considered, they would take longer to load unload etc, of cource NYC had been using them in urban express service for several years at that point. Also, as for loading/unloading. If people wouldent wait until the last minute to gather their belongings up, and proceed towards the door, boarding and alighting would be that much quicker. Nothing bothers me more than someone waiting until the bus comes to a complete stop before they start gathering their things to alight from the coach.

  11. For those worried about snow and ice, they run double-deckers in Kelowna, B.C., and while I was there, I never saw one have any problem on the roads. We’re talking compact snow and ice that would have crippled Seattle.

    1. The drivers here in Victoria (and Kelowna, where they also run them) report that they perform ok in the snow, but worse than regular buses. The deckers they send into the interior have spiked tires to help mitigate this.
      One interesting feature of all of BC (save Vancouver) have what amounts to a single bus fleet is that we get spiked-tire deckers here in Victoria, where we don’t need them.

  12. Double-tall buses have 77 seats and room for 20 standees, for a total of 97 passenbers/bus.

    [hijacking]

  13. Does anyone know how these Double Talls are powered? I can’t find a thing about this? Diesel? Natural gas? Gasoline? Hybrid? Kind of odd no one’s talking about that, isn’t it?

    1. Most likely a standard diesel engine.

      There is a hybrid option available from the manufacturer, using GM Allison’s technology, same as KC Metro’s tunnel buses. So technically they can equip HUSH mode on the double deckers but they wouldn’t fit in the tunnel.

      1. As Oran said, they can come with a hybrid option. Victoria tested one for a few months. I don’t think BC Transit has bought any new deckers yet, so we are still using the old diesel-only buses.

      2. Not weird really. I think they don’t mention it because most buses use diesel. So it’s a given. It’s like saying my car runs on gasoline. Duh. Nothing special about that.

        CT has no natural gas facilities. And they don’t tout it as a hybrid like they do with Swift buses.

        No one uses gasoline powered buses anymore (except in So Cal).

  14. Just got back from a trip to Berlin.

    Best I can tell, the double-deckers in use there are identical to these, except for a slightly more open floor plan and a rear-facing passive-restraint wheelchair spot.

    They drive them exactly the way Germans drive every vehicle, i.e. FAST! Short dwell times, no delays pulling into traffic flow, tight turns made quickly, lights rarely missed.

    I was stunned how much more rapid they managed to be on winding city-center routes than RapidRide pledges to be on any segment.

    These things. Here. Now.

    1. The London double deckers zip around much quicker than you’d expect. I don’t remember them having the headroom problem that the CT double decker has either though. I had to duck to go upstairs. My other impression of the CT double decker was how much space on the lower floor was not taken up by seats.

      1. London double decks are built to a height of 14′ 6” * so the top deck will be taller than your 14′ double talls. London specifies one wheelchair space and between all the sniping and bitching going on in this blog i’m sure someone said yours have two spaces, hence the lack of lower deck seats.

        London will be rid of all artics by the olympics in 2012. We don’t like ’em, plain and simple.

        * there are a few exceptions to this before some smart arse points that out….

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