EVERETT — Sound Transit is stacking up on double-decker buses.
The agency announced last week that it’s ordering 32 more, on top of the five already in its fleet. All of the new buses are headed for Snohomish County-based routes, starting next spring.
Leaders from Sound Transit touted the advantages of the tall buses over the long articulated buses they’ll be replacing.
“They take up less space on the roads,” said Everett City Councilman Paul Roberts, who serves on the agency’s board of directors. “I have had the opportunity to ride them. They’re fun, they’re attractive. There are a lot of reasons they work with our system.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine, Sound Transit’s board chairman, said in a press release that the new buses would allow the agency “to carry more people on some of our most popular and crowded routes with the same number of buses and drivers.”
When weather cooperates, the views from the upper floor aren’t bad, either.
The buses are scheduled to start production in November in coach maker Alexander Dennis’ Nappanee, Indiana, plant. They cost roughly $1 million each. Sound Transit reserved the option to buy 43 more in the future to put double-deckers on all of its Snohomish County routes.
Sound Transit, for now, only runs the tall buses along I-5 to Seattle. Some could start traveling I-405 to Bellevue next year, after crews create more clearance at the Bellevue Transit Center, said Bruce Gray, an agency spokesman.
CT operates Sound Transit’s tall buses on contract out of its Kasch Park facility in Everett. That remains the plan for the additions next year.
The two-story coaches seat 80 people, compared to 56 on the articulated buses they’re replacing. With standing room, there’s room for about 100 passengers in all. The tall buses are considered best for long-haul commuter routes when most people get on and off at the same spots. The articulated buses they’re replacing will be deployed to other routes.