Strathcona County Transit announces its new arrival: the double-decker bus!
Alberta’s first double-decker public transit bus has finally arrived and will be cruising the streets of Strathcona County this September. The high capacity double-decker bus is the first of 14 double-decker buses scheduled to arrive in the County over the next five months.
Comfortably seating 80 passengers, the double-decker buses will greatly assist in transporting commuters between Sherwood Park and Edmonton during peak travel times. The double-decker bus is a fully accessible, low-floor transit bus that features high-backed, cushioned seats that are very suitable for inter-municipal transit. The double-decker is also outfitted with a bike rack.
“We are thrilled to make history in Alberta by welcoming a brand new fleet of double-decker buses in Strathcona County,” says Mayor Linda Osinchuk. “I’d like to thank the Alberta government for supporting this innovative and sustainable approach – together we are adding to our passenger’s commuting experience while taking more vehicles off the road.”
“These distinctive new buses will help Strathcona County residents get to work, school, medical appointments, recreation and other places they need to go,” said Ric McIver, Minister of Alberta Transportation. “The Alberta government is committed to helping municipalities plan for the future and is pleased to sponsor this initiative. This is a great example of how the province partners with municipalities to develop practical infrastructure solutions and build Alberta.”
The 14 double-decker buses were jointly funded through Strathcona County’s Transit reserve ($3.485 M) and the Alberta government’s Basic Municipal Transportation grant ($2.885 M).
The double-decker model was chosen after reviewing and testing other high capacity models, such as the articulated (bendy) bus and highway coaches. Customer and staff feedback from the year-long Double-Decker Demonstration Project (September 2010 – August 2011) was favourable. In addition, Strathcona County Transit's lease and year-long test of a double decker bus was also recognized by Alberta Municipal Affairs with a Municipal Excellence Award for Innovation.
The Alexander Dennis Ltd double-decker bus was first introduced to North America by BC Transit in 1999. Alexander-Dennis has over 300 double-decker buses operating in North America, from Nevada to Toronto. In Canada, double-deckers already operate in British Columbia and Ontario and have proven performance in winter and extreme weather driving conditions. It is the first new style of transit bus that has been introduced in Alberta in over 30 years.
When will the buses go into service?
With the popularity of Strathcona County Transit’s commuter routes, certain trips have more passengers than seats. To increase the number of seats available for passengers, Transit has begun the process of purchasing 14 double deck buses. The first one has arrived and will be used primarily for training until delivery is taken of the next set of buses in the new year. It is anticipated that we will be ready to put them into service in the spring of 2014. We thank you for your patience as we train our operators and prepare these buses for use.
Media coverage from August 26, 2013 launch event
Global news clip for the double-decker starts at 10:35
CTV news clip starts at 11:20
Strathcona County's double-decker innovation recognized by the Alberta Government
Strathcona County Transit's innovative lease and year-long test of a double decker bus has been recognized by Alberta Municipal Affairs. The Honourable Mention was announced at the recent fall conventions of Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). The on-road trial of a double-decker bus had never before been used for public transportation in the province. This project provides valuable first-hand information to aid in the final decision on whether to permanently purchase these buses for public use.
Strathcona County Transit's mission:
To provide local, intermunicipal and specialized public transit services for the community that are Customer-focused, Accessible, Reliable, Efficient and Safe (CARES).