Community Transit receives federal grant to expand double tall fleet to 70

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Community Transit already has the second largest U.S. fleet of double decker buses in regular transit service, and thanks to a new federal grant it will soon be expanding that number.

This week, the Federal Transit Administration announced a $1.37 million Bus and Bus Facilities grant award to Community Transit to purchase expansion Double Tall buses.

On Thursday, April 5, the Community Transit Board of Directors approved the purchase of eight Double Tall buses that are expected to go into service in late 2019. Added to the agency’s 62 Double Tall buses already in service, Community Transit will have a total of 70 double deckers carrying passengers between Snohomish and King counties.

Community Transit also operates Sound Transit double decker buses, which will soon total 37, for a Puget Sound fleet of more than 100 double deckers that run out of the agency’s Kasch Park Operating Base in south Everett. Las Vegas operates more than 200 double decker buses.

In 2011, Community Transit began replacing some 60-foot articulated buses with Double Talls. Six of the new Double Talls will replace articulated buses, while the other two are expansion buses.

Double Tall buses seat about 30 percent more passengers than 60-foot buses, use less fuel and require less maintenance. The triple-axle Double Talls also perform well in icy and snowy conditions when articulated buses are typically taken out of service. At 42-feet long, they also take up less road space on the congested I-5 freeway and downtown Seattle streets.

More information about Community Transit’s Double Tall buses, including a list of which routes and times they serve, is atwww.communitytransit.org/DoubleTall.

In addition to the eight new Double Tall buses, the board Thursday authorized the purchase of 28 more buses to replace aging vehicles and expand the fleet to meet expanding service.

Community Transit will order two more 60-foot bus rapid transit buses for its Swift fleet. These buses will be used interchangeably between the current Swift Blue Line and the Swift Green Line, which will start service in spring 2019. Buses on the Swift Blue Line average 15 hours of use each day and rack up 65,000 miles each year, which requires more frequent maintenance. The two extra Swiftbuses will ensure that both the Swift Blue and Green lines can meet 10-minute weekday service frequencies.

The agency also will purchase 26 new 60-foot articulated buses to replace the oldest buses in its current fleet. Among those older buses are buses manufactured in 2000, which will have 19 years of service when they are retired next year. These buses were decommissioned for several years when the agency cut service during the recession, but reinstated as service began to grow.

Community Transit is in the midst of a voter-approved service expansion, which will see service grow by 40 percent by 2023.

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