Double Decker Buses

For more information on the new Double Decker Bus features, benefits, technical details and frequently-asked-questions, please click on the tabs below:

Features and Benefits of the Double Decker Bus

The new double-deckers offer many features and benefits for OC Transpo riders and the environment:

 

All around the town


The first double-deckers will roll out in October, with 75 in service by April 2013. Commuters from Orléans, Kanata and Barrhaven will be the first to experience the advantages of double-deckers on busy express routes. These new and improved buses have no physical operating restrictions in Ottawa, with clearance under bridges and room to spare.

 

Comfort


Relax and enjoy the panoramic view from the upper deck. With seating for 82, longer rides from the suburbs will be easy, and comfy seat cushions soften the ride even more.

 

More capacity … more riders


The Double Deckers have a planned capacity of 90 passengers, compared to 70 riders on an articulated bus and 45 on a standard bus (incl. standees), which translates into room for more riders using fewer buses.

 

A smart investment


Lower operating costs will save up to $9.6 million per year compared to smaller buses and the purchase price has already been reduced by 11.9% from the 2011 budget.

 

Smaller footprint – on the road and on the environment


Its' compact 42' length means more passengers can be served with fewer buses at busy downtown platforms, reducing congestion. These high capacity buses use less fuel per passenger, which reduces emissions.

Double Decker Bus Technical Details

Enviro 500, Trident E500 LHD EPA 2010
Chassis Low Floor Double-Decker Bus

Engine

Cummins Diesel with EGR and SCR, ISL 330HP EPA10

Transmission

Allison B500R

Braking System

WABCO/Knorr Bresme S-Cam Brakes on Rear/Tag Axles
Knorr Bremse SB7000 Front Disc Brakes ABS Traction control

Wheels and Tires

305/70R x 22.5 x Michelin XZU2 LRL Tires on 8.25" x 22.5" rims

Steering Gear

ZF 8098 integrally powered, variable ratio steering gear

Cooling System

Split system with rear mounted aluminum radiators for charge air cooler on nearside and engine cooler on offside - both with automatic fan drive

Fuel Tank

114 US Gallons (430 litres) capacity, twin stainless steel fuel tanks

Body Type

High capacity Enviro500, Trident E500 LHD Chassis, low floor 42', double-decker with full air conditioning

Body Construction

Stainless steel underframe structure fully integrated with chassis frame
Extruded aluminum body frame with main exterior body panels in aluminum composite

Seating Layout

Total 82: lower level seating 27, upper level seating 55, plus 2 wheelchair positions

Passenger Alarm

All new Double decker buses have a passenger alarm at the rear of both levels and one at the top of the stairs in the upper saloon.

Double Decker Bus FAQ

  1.     Why did OC Transpo purchase double-decker buses?
  2.     Where will the double-deckers be used?
  3.     When will the double-deckers be on the road?
  4.     What are the safety and accessibility features available on the double-deckers?
  5.     Can passengers stand on the second level of the double-deckers?
  6.     How will I know if there are any available seats on the upper level?
  7.     Can passengers get up from their upper-deck seat and go down the stairs while the bus is moving?
  8.     What is the cost of the double-deckers?
  9.     Are double-deckers used in other North American cities?
  10.    What's the savings breakdown from double-deckers?
  11.    How do double-deckers compare to other buses in the OC Transpo fleet?
  12.    Will the new double-deckers have any impact on other routes?
  13.    Will any schedules change due to the double-deckers?
  14.    Do drivers and mechanics need special training for the double-deckers?
  15.    How will double-decker buses perform in Ottawa winters?
  16.    What did OC Transpo learn from the three-year pilot project?
  17.    Are there any operating restrictions for the double-deckers?
  18.    What changes have been made to accommodate the double-deckers in the garages?
  19.    Do double-decker buses have environmental benefits?
  20.    Other than on bus routes, where can the public see the double-deckers?
  21.    Will double-decker buses be equipped with bike racks?

 

1.     Why did OC Transpo purchase double-decker buses?


The purchase of 75 new double-decker buses will create a better customer experience, while adding to OC Transpo’s financial sustainability. The double-deckers have a higher passenger capacity than the articulated buses they will replace, allowing the transit system to operate more effectively and efficiently. 

Double-decker buses provide customers with more seating – a total capacity of 90 passengers, with seats for 82 - compared to existing articulated buses with seating for only 55 passengers of their total capacity of 70. These higher capacity double-deckers will move more people in greater comfort and provide savings on operating costs, in compensation for operators and maintenance staff, and savings in fuel, repairs, parts and tires. 

In surveys conducted as part of the pilot project, more than 80 per cent of respondents felt that double-decker buses offered great value through their increased seating and total capacities, and that double-deckers could ultimately help more people reach their destinations quickly. The buses have many attractive features for customers including seats with more leg room on the upper deck. 

 

2.     Where will the double-deckers be used?


Double-deckers will replace articulated buses on busy, frequent and long-distance express routes from Orléans, Barrhaven and Kanata. Busy and frequent routes allow for carrying more customers with increased comfort. The new double-deckers will be used mostly during peak periods. 

These buses will be introduced into service gradually, as the buses are delivered by the manufacturer, as they are made ready for service, and as employee training on the new buses is completed. During the week of October 15, OC Transpo will bring eight double-decker buses into regular service. 

As part of a gradual roll-out, express routes 35 in Orléans, Route 61 in Kanata and Route 77 in Barrhaven will have many of the double-decker trips.  As more double-deckers enter the fleet, a number of double-deckers trips will be added on the following routes: 20, 21, 30, 31, 34, 38, 41, 60, 62, 66, 68, 70, 71, 72 and 93. Decisions for routes starting in January 2013 will be based on the newest ridership data available in late 2012.

 

3.     When will the double-deckers be on the road?


The first few double-deckers buses are now at OC Transpo’s Industrial Avenue garage. These buses will be used for operator training during September and begin operating in service in October 2012. It is anticipated that all 75 of the new double-deckers will be in service by April 2013.

 

4.     What are the safety and accessibility features available on the double-deckers?


The double-deckers offer the same or enhanced accessibility features, including co-operative seats and automated next stop announcements. The Enviro500 is fully compliant with applicable accessibility standards and regulations. The buses feature anti-slip material on the stairs and a better designed handrail in the stairway for increased comfort and safety.

 

5.     Can passengers stand on the second level of the double-deckers?


The second level of the double-deckers buses is designed for seated passengers only. After servicing each stop, operators are required to check the display monitor. If passengers are standing in the stairwell or on the upper level, the operator will make an announcement using the public announcement system advising those passengers to take a seat or to proceed to the lower level.

 

6.     How will I know if there are any available seats on the upper level?


Passengers can view the available seating on the upper level on a monitor located in the stairwell leading to the upper level.

 

7.     Can passengers get up from their upper-deck seat and go down the stairs while the bus is moving?


For safety reasons, passengers should not move from the upper deck to the lower deck while the bus is moving. Operators will remind passengers to keep the stairwell clear while the bus is moving. Passengers on the upper level are asked to wait for their stop before descending the stairwell to the lower level.


8.     What is the cost of the double-deckers?


The expected capital cost for the project is $72.1 million. This is $9.7 million lower than the original $81.8 million capital budget approved by Transit Commission and Council in March 2011 for double-deckers and the supporting infrastructure. The savings were achieved by the lower-height redesign of the bus; the redesign removed the forecasted costs for overhead bridge modifications. Transit Services continues to seek out additional savings in the project’s capital budget.


9.     Are double-deckers used in other North American cities?


Yes. Double-decker buses have been used for years for urban transit in large cities around the world, including London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seattle as well as in other Canadian municipalities, including Victoria and Kelowna in British Columbia and Greater Toronto.


10.    What’s the savings breakdown from double-deckers?


In addition to the reduction by nearly $10 million from the original capital budget for the buses, the introduction of the double-deckers represents a significant operational cost savings throughout the OC Transpo fleet. The annual cost savings is estimated at $8.1 million starting in April 2013, with savings anticipated to increase to $9.6 million annually in future years. Double-deckers replace articulated buses, which replace retired 40-foot buses which have higher operational costs due to less seating capacity and more frequent trips required. This is an integral part of the Transit Commission and Council’s plan for long-term financial sustainability for OC Transpo.

With the new double-deckers, there will be 56 fewer buses in service every day. The 2012-13 plan is to have 85 per cent of double-deckers available. There is anticipated savings with expected higher reliability and ridership growth.


11.    How do double-deckers compare to other buses in the OC Transpo fleet?


Double-decker buses have a greater capacity than other OC Transpo buses. Double-deckers carry 90 customers per bus with seats for 82, with standing room for an additional eight customers. By comparison, a standard articulated bus carries 70 customers, with 55 seated and 15 standing. Moving more people more efficiently means both lower capital and operating costs per customer.


12.    Will the new double-deckers have any impact on other routes?


Yes. Articulated buses that are now used on express routes will be moved to main line routes and other express routes, replacing 40-foot buses. This change will also mean moving more people more efficiently.


13.     Will any schedules change due to the double-deckers?


Yes. Since each double-decker carries more customers than an articulated bus, the schedules for some routes will change starting in late December 2012. For example, an express route during a morning peak period would run every eight to nine minutes compared to the current interval of six to seven minutes. All of the routes affected by the switch from articulated to double-deckers and from 40-foot to articulated buses will be changed by April 2013. Information on updated schedules will be available on octranspo.com and as printed schedules prior to the schedule changes.

14.    Do drivers and mechanics need special training for the double-deckers?


Yes, maintenance staff is currently receiving training on the new buses. All 1,700 operators will be trained by the end of November, with the first priority being operators who are assigned double-decker routes during the September to December schedule period. 350 operators will be trained by the end of September, allowing the double-deckers to be in service in early October.


15.    How will double-decker buses perform in Ottawa winters?


The National Research Council performed cold weather and road performance tests on the double-deckers. The tests yielded overall positive results during testing of road performance during snow and ice conditions for traction stability. The testing for manoeuvrability and tilting were also very positive.


16.    What did OC Transpo learn from the three-year pilot project?


The three double-deckers in the pilot project introduced in 2009 gave OC Transpo valuable information for the introduction of the new double-decker fleet. Customers enjoyed the increase in seating, the comfort of the seats and the improved view. In the new buses, cameras have been installed on the first floor for customers to allow them to see if seating is available on the second deck and for the driver to see the second deck.

The results of the Ottawa pilot project confirmed detailed market research on customer and operator experience conducted by OC Transpo, as well as feedback received from BC Transit (Victoria and Kelowna), GO Transit (Greater Toronto) and Community Transit (Seattle), which has been operating similar vehicles over the past years.


17.     Are there any operating restrictions for the double-deckers?


No, there are no operating restrictions. The new buses will clear all overpasses in the Ottawa area where buses travel. OC Transpo made vehicle modifications requests with the manufacturer, changing the height specifications from the original three pilot project buses. The new double-deckers are 4.4149 metres tall, a 12-centimetre reduction in height from the three pilot project buses. There are no special permits required from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for the new buses.

OC Transpo staff is currently checking on the double-deckers planned routes to determine if any clearances are less than the normal standard. If any issues are found, OC Transpo will notify the utility companies to adjust hydro wires and contact the City’s Public Works department to adjust traffic signal wires or to trim tree branches. Tree trimming costs will be covered by OC Transpo.


18.    What changes have been made to accommodate the double-deckers in the garages?


The double-deckers will be based at the Industrial Avenue garage. The buses will enter the garage for maintenance with no vertical clearance restrictions. Changes are currently being made to several maintenance requirements including the exhaust ventilation, bus wash equipment and fuel and fluid tanks. The outdoor storage area at the Industrial Avenue garage has also been configured for the double-decker buses. The work for these modifications is being done within the approved capital budget of $72.1 million.


19.    Do double-decker buses have environmental benefits?


The purchase of these buses will help the City meet environmental goals and reduce our overall footprint. The double-decker buses are equipped with near-zero emission engines that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements for nitrogen oxide (NOx) exhaust emissions. As a result, emissions from these buses will be reduced by 83 per cent from 2007 levels. At the same time, manufacturer testing on the new engines demonstrate a further five to nine per cent fuel economy compared with the technology found on the pilot project double deckers.


20.    Other than on bus routes, where can the public see the double-deckers?


During October and November, OC Transpo will be hosting a number of “Open Bus visits” at locations throughout the city to showcase a double-decker bus to customers and riders of all ages. Visitors are encouraged to drop by and check out the bus and its features. In addition, each Councillor will have the opportunity to showcase a double-decker bus at an event in their ward during 2013.


21.    Will double-decker buses be equipped with bike racks?


Yes. In support of active transportation, all double-decker buses will be equipped with bike rack (Rack & Roll) systems.

 

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