EDITORIAL: Time to get on the buses

TransLink's double-decker pilot an opportunity to form new habits

TransLink says a pilot project testing the merits of using double-decker buses to ease on-board congestion on long-distance routes is showing its worth.

Two of the vehicles, borrowed from manufacturer Alexander Dennis, have been shuttling passengers from a handful of neighbourhoods – South Surrey and White Rock included – to Vancouver on a rotating basis since late November.

That TransLink has received “fantastic” response from those passengers comes as little surprise.

Many Semiahmoo Peninsula residents can attest to the discomfort of having to stand for 40 minutes or more on one of the standard-size buses due to lack of available seating. The experience is certainly not one to evoke excitement at the thought of repeating it day after day after day – as countless local commuters do.

Others will lament the frustration of delays from not being able to board an already-full bus.

The stories are far from new.

Double-deckers – offering nearly twice the seating capacity of the standard, 47-seat buses that typically operate on the routes – are already a mainstay in cities around the world.

For many, the two-level red icons popular in England come to mind first. However, the vehicles have been operating much closer to home for more than a year, in Victoria.

The pilot wrapped up its South Surrey/White Rock runs this week, and is currently running in Langley. TransLink plans to add 32 of the double-deckers to its fleet by 2019.

Company officials say passengers are reporting a more comfortable, relaxing ride, and are also lauding the panoramic views from the buses’ top deck, as well as the ‘festive atmosphere’ and novelty of trips aboard the double-deckers.

It would be surprising to hear that such improvements were not well-received.

Hopefully, it will encourage other commuters to get onboard and out of their cars – at least once, just for fun, and ideally, as a new habit.

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