Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Riding the Double Talls

Crosscut today ran this great first-person account of riding one of our Double Tall buses for the first time. It made me recall the thrill of that first ride I took on our leased bus back in 2007.

In this article, Mr. Hinshaw discusses the benefits to Community Transit in using double decker buses for commuter service, mainly transporting more people without greater operating costs. Another benefit to the agency is visibility. People in Seattle see the Double Talls and think of Community Transit. Other transit agencies elsewhere in the country call us to ask about our experience with the buses, or if they find out I work here they say, "Oh yeah, you guys have the double deckers."

Hinshaw asks why a U.S. company doesn't get in the double decker market, and that's a legitimate question. But yet another benefit of Community Transit's order for 23 double deckers from U.K.-based Alexander Dennis, Ltd. is that the company set up a plant in California to build our buses. That did employ U.S. workers, and set a precedent for other agencies to purchase such buses with federal "Buy America" money.

The author confesses "a childlike glee" in running upstairs to get a front row seat. What about you? What was your first ride on a Double Tall like? Are you a regular Double Tall commuter? Are you still waiting for that first chance to board a double decker? What's your story?


  1. When the double tall bus was in test few years ago, I would really hate to get on it. It took so long for people to disembark the bus.

    I am surprised to see how fast and smooth people get off the bus from a double tall now. Occasionally, I may still be stuck by cash-paying riders but it is far fewer than before the use of ORCA card. Often, no one on the bus I ride pays cash but ORCA card.

    Right now, I am far more happier to see a double tall on my route because I know that I have a good chance to have a seat.

  2. It'd be very nice to see one of these on the 424 route one of these days but I've heard they only run out of one of the CT bases. Any chance that this may change in the future?

  3. Apart from Gillig in Hayward, CA, what U.S. Company makes transit buses?

    (P.S. NABI is Hungarian and Orion is German)

  4. I was about 2 years old, and it was a Birmingham (England) Corporation Bus, run by the City Council. It was the Inner Circle. And I LOVED being upstairs. Well, except for the time when we ran someone down, that is.

  5. @Scott, Route 424 is operated out of our Merrill Creek base while the Double Talls run out of our Kasch Park base. Is it possible? Maybe, but not in the plans at this time. Sorry.
    @Erik, the Enviro 500s we run were substantially built at an Eldorado plant in Riverside, CA. The chassis were built in the UK then shipped over for completion, making them Buy America-compliant.

  6. Yes the Double Tall coaches are very nice. They hold more people and are easier to drive in the high traffic conditions we have here in the Seattle area. I hear they also will handle much better in inclement weather than the 60' artic coaches. I'm sure this will be put to the test this winter. CT was smart in this purchase....