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Community Transit plans to add 17 more Double Talls to its fleet
Snohomish County, Wash. – In an order designed to perk up Snohomish County commuters, Community Transit is finalizing plans to purchase 17 new Double Talls to replace aging articulated buses on its daily commuter routes to Seattle. The order will give Community Transit 40 Double Talls, the second largest fleet of double deckers in the nation behind Las Vegas.
“Riders love our Double Talls and they turn heads everywhere they go,” said Community Transit CEO Joyce Eleanor. “People throughout the region are familiar with these buses even if they don’t ride them. We get visitors from all over the country who want to check them out, and the Double Tall does not let them down.”
Community Transit’s current fleet of 23 Double Talls carry about 10,000 riders into and out of downtown Seattle every week. A list of which routes they operate on can be found at www.communitytransit.org/doubletall.
The 17 new Double Talls will replace the oldest model of 60-foot articulated buses in the commuter fleet, which were manufactured in 1999. Because the Double Tall can fit 30 percent more riders than the buses they are replacing with better fuel economy, they save money. And, thanks to federal and state grants, Community Transit will get the replacement double deckers for just 15 cents on the dollar.
About $10 million in federal bus replacement funds will be used for the purchase. The 2013 Washington Legislature also awarded $3.9 million to Community Transit to buy Double Tall buses for Seattle commuter service, citing the fact that the buses will reduce about 200,000 vehicle trips a year on I-5. That’s the difference in ridership capacity between the Double Talls and the articulated buses they will replace.
Community Transit will spend about $2.5 million from its bus replacement reserves for the approximately $17 million order.
“The Double Talls are a great investment for so many reasons,” said Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine, chair of the Community Transit Board of Directors. “They attract new transit riders, which is one of our primary missions. They also allow us to increase ridership at a time we’re not able to put new service on the road. Finally, the Double Talls require less maintenance than a 60-foot bus while taking up less space on the road and less space in our bus yard.”
Final specifications on the purchase order are being worked out before the Community Transit’s Board of Directors takes action, which is expected in September. If approved by the board, it will take about 18-24 months for the buses to be built and delivered. The new buses will be an updated model that is shorter and lighter than the Alexander Dennis Enviro 500s that comprise the current Double Tall fleet.
Because federal money will be used for the purchase, the buses must meet Buy America standards and be built in the U.S. Community Transit’s original order of 23 double deckers was the first time the Scotland-based manufacturer had met Buy America standards. Because of some design modifications and improvements, the new double decker model must undergo Federal Transit Administration new vehicle testing, which will slightly lengthen the delivery timeline.
The new Double Talls are expected to be in service in summer 2015.
“Aside from the great views on the upper deck, the buses tower over traffic, reminding people sitting in their cars going nowhere that Community Transit is a great alternative,” said Eleanor.
Community Transit is responsible for providing transportation options for Snohomish County residents, including bus and paratransit service, vanpool and ridesharing options. Call Community Transit at (425) 353-RIDE or (800) 562-1375 for bus information, or (888) 814-1300 for carpool or vanpool information, or go to www.communitytransit.org. You can also read our blog at www.communitytransit.blogspot.com, visit our Facebook page or see us on YouTube. Support local businesses and Community Transit when you Buy Local for Transit; read more at www.communitytransit.org/buylocal.