The Spokane Transit Authority will be purchasing a set of double-decker buses for use on the Cheney Line, one of its High Performance Transit routes set to begin service next year. A $2.95 million FTA grant awarded this week will help fund the purchase of up to seven coaches, which would enter service in 2023, replacing normal coaches that will temporarily be used on the route.
The Cheney Line is one of several “High Performance Transit” (HPT) projects that were funded by the STA Moving Forward ballot measure, which was passed on its second try in 2016. While the program’s centerpiece is the City Center Line, a BRT corridor set to open in 2022, the other projects will also bring major improvements for Spokane County commuters. Each HPT corridor will have frequent service with buses every 15 minutes during peak periods, enhanced bus stops, special branding, and other features that fit some characteristics of American-style BRT lite.
The Cheney Line in particular will share similarities with the long-haul Community Transit and Sound Transit Express commuter routes where double-deckers have been used over the past decade to great success. It will only have a handful of stops and operate primarily as an express service between Downtown Spokane and Cheney, home of Eastern Washington University. Two routes, 6 and 66, will combine to form 15-minute headways on a common trunk between the two hubs while also serving a new transit center at West Plains.
The project’s $13.47 million budget will be covered by a mix of STA Moving Forward funds as well as grants from the FTA and WSDOT.