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 used on its daily commuter routes to Seattle. The order will give Community Transit a total of 40 Double Tall buses, the second largest fleet of double deckers in the nation behind Las Vegas.
Many of the Community Transit’s current fleet of Double Talls run on commuter routes 413 and 415 that stop at the Freeway Transit Station on I-5 in Mountlake Terrace.
“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. The 17 new buses are expected to be in service in the summer of 2015.
Final specifications on the new purchase order are being worked out before the Community Transit’s Board of Directors takes action, 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.
The price tag for the new order of Double Talls is expected to be approximately $17 million, with federal bus replacement funds covering $10 million of the total cost. The 2013 Washington State Legislature approved $3.9 million for the bus purchase; Community Transit will spend about $2.5 million, coming from its bus replacement reserve fund.
“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.”
The Double Tall buses in Community Transit’s current fleet are 42 feet long and 14 feet tall, and have seating for 77 passengers plus designated standing room. The 14-years-old articulated buses that the new double deckers will replace are 60-feet long and seat 60 passengers.