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Double-decker Buses in Houston
Thursday, May 24, 2007 4:57 PM  

Could Houstonians find a bit of London in the Bayou City some day? Double decker bus

John Walsh, METRO's senior director of bus maintenance, invited the manufacturer of the familiar, red double-decker bus to stop in Houston "to allow us to kick the tires, so to speak, and to do a preliminary assessment of the buses' efficacy for the Houston environment."

Towering 14 feet high - six inches taller than a typical truck trailer - the buses made by Alexander Dennis are well-engineered with a long track record of safety. Double- deckers were a major part of bus fleets through the 1940s, and the bulk of Hong Kong's fleet is made up of these two-story deckers.

"The buses make sense where high capacity is a requirement," says Walsh, adding that the ride on these tall buses is excellent and the driver's work station ergonomically well-designed. The price ranges from $750,000 to $850,000.

Double-deckers are already serving tourists in New York City and on the strip in Las Vegas - and the bus that stopped in Houston will be going to Everett, Washington.

But will they tip over?

"The design has a low center of gravity and is tested with a load on the upper deck and tipped over 30 degrees without going over. That is pretty significant," says Walsh.

During its test drive in Houston, the double-decker navigated our streets well and entered the Downtown Transit Center with no problem.

Whether METRO ends up with one is still uncertain. "We have to look at all potential solutions to give our customers a vehicle that is functional and meets their needs," says Walsh.








Posted by Mary Sit
Filed under:


DominicMazoch said:

Would it take longer to load than a regular or acticulated unit? How about phone, cable or power lines? I don't think it could run under the Judge Henamdez Tunnel/North Main Subway just nort of IH-10!
# May 24, 2007 6:41 PM

MetroBusFan said:

NOTE:  My kind of post!  Thanks, Mary!!!!!

Hey---I seen this bus while I was on the #77 line.  It was stopped when my bus passed right by it.  It was spotted on San Jacinto street.  If Vegas can do it with this kind of bus, why not us?  No offense but this beats the articulated bus any day.  BTW, the model I saw was the Enviro 500 model---similar to what Vegas (CAT---Citizen's Area Transit) has.

"...and on the trip in Las Vegas"  Mary---you must mean STRIP, right?  That service that the bus is running is known as The Deuce.

I sure wish we could get these.  If we do, how will the bus get painted?  *LOL*  Good luck with that!

# May 24, 2007 8:25 PM

wi11ie said:

Well Sir,

I was fortunate to be at the Downtown Transit Center when that bus was there.

After a brief tour I was able to sit in the Drivers compartment. One word ...SWEET! Controls were totally in reach, field of vision was amazing,and it was the best feeling seat I have been in for a long time. Bus seemed to be very quiet while running and the camera system was easy to view.

New Flyer.. take note.


# May 24, 2007 8:49 PM

Mary Sit said:

Yes, MetroBusFan, I meant "strip" and have since corrected it - thanks for the heads up. I had fixed it on another version, but somehow published the wrong one. Glad you like reading about double-deckers. I used to ride them when I lived in Hong Kong and in London as a kid - they're lots of fun!

# May 24, 2007 9:58 PM

txilya said:

Off the subject:

Mary, I suggest you post an update on Q Card testing & implementation timeline.

5/25/07 10:12am

# May 25, 2007 10:12 AM

MetroBusFan said:


    You're welcome.  Yup---glad about reading this.  This is my cup of tea!


      STOP RUBBING IT IN!  Just kidding.  Glad you liked the features you mentioned about the bus.  I agree---"New Flyer..take note."  I suggest New Flyer take lots of notes.  To me, this bus is the king of the road and I think the queen is the articulated bus.  My two cents!  See ya!

# May 25, 2007 1:01 PM

MetroBusFan said:

"Whether METRO ends up with one is still uncertain. "We have to look at all potential solutions to give our customers a vehicle that is functional and meets their needs," says Walsh."

WHAT?!  Am I missing something here?  I think this bus will meet the needs of anybody---'cuz it sure meets mine for some things.  This bus seats more than an articulated bus (could be used on Park & Ride routes); at least it's a LOW FLOOR bus, once you're on the top deck, you can see yourself sitting higher than anybody else.  Personally, I like 'em---period.

"Citizen's..."  Get rid of the (') but you get the idea.  Thanks.

# May 25, 2007 1:09 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Now does the double decker ride smoother than the New Fliers?  I know the NF is mostly low floor, but it just seems to have a lesser ride quality than the regular transit buses of the past.  (I have not riden the new NF METRO has just gotten in.)

# May 26, 2007 8:34 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Even at 14' high, could it clear ANY of the HOV lanes....considering overhead signage and some close overhed bridges (especially on IH 45 N.)

# May 26, 2007 8:38 PM

MetroBusFan said:

Dom:    That's something METRO would need to look into if they're really into getting this model.  I couldn't tell you myself but I can say this much.  If we do get these kinds of buses, where will they go?  What routes will they actually run?  That can be something we all would need to think about.
# May 29, 2007 9:23 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Now, this might upset some people.  In the UK, and in the Far East there are double decked.....drum roll.......LRT cars!

# May 31, 2007 9:58 PM

MetroBusFan said:

"Now, this might upset some people.  In the UK, and in the Far East there are double decked.....drum roll.......LRT cars!"

Uh-huh.....yeah.....some people.....but unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  That may just well be a WONDERFUL THING!  That way, if METRO wants to have more one-car trains during rush hour, at least it won't get too crowded.  There's a catch, though.  If we decide (in the future) to go about the double-decker LRT thing, METRO would have to increase the height of certain things in order for this to be a success.  

# June 1, 2007 1:05 PM

DominicMazoch said:

I just looked at the Alexander Dennis site on the NET.  I looked at their single floor units.  Low floor, better layout than New Flier.  Driver layout seems to be better.  (Wi11ie, I guess it is like the double decker.)  Wish METRO could try some single deck units.  It meets the UK version of ADA and polution, which I think are stricter than here.  Could they be built here to comply with the 51% content rule?

They do not build articulated units.

Also, I saw a bus on the site with the First Transit logo.  Guess they have crossed the pound!

# June 11, 2007 11:19 PM
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