A little bit of London, makes its way to the streets of Austin. Capital Metro will be running a double decker bus on one of their busiest routes.
It’s part of a test pilot program that will run on the 935 Tech Ridge Express Route, October 31st – November 11th. Passengers will ride for free during that time.
Cap Metro hopes it will help get more people where they need to be, in a timelier manner. A normal Cap Metro bus fits about 50 people with standing room, the double decker fits up to 100. Mariette Hummel works for Cap Metro. “We are always looking to move more people in one vehicle and high capacity transit like this. Fitting double the people you can fit in a regular Metro Express Route, that’s a really great way to get people off the road and into one vehicle,” she said.
There’s no cramming in this bus, if you head to the top, you'll get to ride in comfort with soft reclining seats, foot rests, and the extra perk of panoramic views. Ollie Nielsen works for Alexander Dennis, INC., the company who manufactured the bus. “It just gives transit a new finer image, I would say it's different and more importantly the ridership really enjoys it.” The British company manufacturers the buses in Indiana, and already have buses on the road in other US cities including Seattle and Las Vegas. “It's such an unknown concept to North American transit, whereas in Europe, every two buses are double deckers,” Nielsen said.
During the pilot program, Hummel said Cap Metro will consider things such as viability, where the bus fits and can ride, and most importantly how Austinites feel about it. “We're just going to look at that and see if it's something we would like in the future, and that the people of Austin more importantly would like in the future,” she said.
Starting Halloween, the double decker will be picking up three trips a day on the 935 Express Route, at 6:52 am, 3:55 pm, and 6 pm.