TransLink has been testing two double-decker buses on longer routes since November, and is now looking to purchase 32 of them by 2019.
The buses will cost around $1 million per vehicle, which TransLink admits is more expensive than a typical diesel bus, however says the cost is more comparable to a Vancouver trolley.
“This is adding twice the capacity of our typical highway coach and it adds about 83 per cent more seating,” said TransLink’s Chris Bryan. “Not only are you getting on the bus, you’re actually going to usually find a seat as well.”
Bryan says TransLink plans to use the double-decker buses for any long haul routes into Vancouver that last more than 40 minutes, such as South Surrey, White Rock, Tsawwassen ferry terminal, and Langley.
The Township of Langley hopes to have the double-decker buses running through their routes as its population is growing by approximately 3,000 people per year.
“Not only does the Township of Langley use this service, but BC Transit connects here from Abbotsford and Chilliwack,” Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese said. “We need the capacity and these double-decker buses fit that need. The fleet is aging, it needs to be replaced, and this is an alternative that I think will have a lot of merit.”
Froese says LRT expansion into the Township of Langley is part of the 10-Year Vision transportation plan, but for now buses will drive on the Fraser Highway.
Froese also says there’s a commission looking into road pricing and how to fund extra transit needs.