Double-decker buses like this one – painted to blend with TransLink’s colour scheme – began test runs in South Surrey/White Rock in late November, as part of a pilot project. (File photo)

Double-decker pilot project wraps up in South Surrey/White Rock

TransLink officials cite 'fantastic' response

A pilot project that had double-decker buses operating on busy routes heading out of South Surrey/White Rock since late November wrapped up its Peninsula testing this month, and TransLink officials say response to the experiment has been “fantastic.”

“We’ve had more than 370 people so far who have travelled on the bus… fill out our post-trip questionnaire and provided some pretty positive feedback,” media spokesperson Chris Bryan told Peace Arch News last week.

“One person described a festive atmosphere on the bus… one person said it was ‘the most relaxing bus trip I’ve ever been on.'”

Simulated buses were seen on South Surrey streets in September, and a pair of the real deals – borrowed at no charge from manufacturer Alexander Dennis – were rolled out two months later, rotating on routes travelling toward Vancouver from Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Delta.

The pilot targeted long-distance routes on which rush-hour commuters were often left standing for much of the journey due to the high demand for the service on the standard 47-seat coaches.

The double-deckers have nearly double that seating capacity. Bryan said on an average weekday, each one is making approximately 12 trips and carries around 500 passengers.

The pilot is to continue until March.

“Bad news is you’re not likely going to see them out (in South Surrey/White Rock again for the pilot project,” Bryan said.

“As of (Jan. 11), both buses will be on the 555 Carvolth… to Lougheed station during the week, then the two buses will move to the 620 (South Delta/Tsawwassen ferry to Bridgeport).”

Commuter feedback continues to be sought. It will “inform our procurement process,” Bryan said, noting TransLink plans to add 32 double-decker buses to its fleet by 2019.

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