Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Interest in the Double Talls

British reporter Tim Deakin visited Community Transit this week to learn more about our Double Tall double decker buses.

Deakin is writing an article about bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited's efforts to crack the U.S. market with its double deckers. Currently, The RTC of Southern Nevada has 150 double deckers that serve the Las Vegas area, and Community Transit has its fleet of 23 Double Talls. Several other U.S. transit agencies have either single buses, smaller fleets or demonstration double deckers in operation.

Deakin wanted to know how our drivers, mechanics and customers liked the buses, and was particularly interested in the build process for our buses. Community Transit's bus purchase, which was funded largely through the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (stimulus bill), was the first Buy America-compliant double decker order for ADL. That meant the buses, which have historically been built in Great Britain, had to be substantially built in the U.S. with American-made parts.

"We found there were some language barriers, even though we spoke the same language," said Strategic Planning and Grants Manager June DeVoll, who oversaw the bus purchase. "We could be using the same words, but they meant completely different things to us and them."

Despite the complexities and slight time delays involved in adapting a very British product and process to the American way, and the use of a new set of subcontractors from a different continent, the buses went into operation last year and have been a hit with our drivers, mechanics and, especially, our customers.

I explained to Deakin that when we had the one leased double decker from 2007-09, we created a web page to list the routes and times that bus was in operation because we got so many inqueries from people who wanted to ride that bus. We were resolved not to do that with the new fleet but, again, we were inundated with requests. Now, communications and dispatch staff collaborate to maintain a list of routes and times you can catch any of the 23 Double Tall buses.

Deakin is a freelance journalist based in London and says the article will appear in the trade magazine Buses sometime later this year.


  1. Thank you for the article about the E500s. I just wonder, any plans so far you guys will purchase more double decker buses in the near future? I heard few years ago when you announced the purchasing of 23 E500s, that you guys might be buy 97 more E500s for the replacement of old buses. Is it true? By the way, not only E500s are good for CT, but also good for Sound Transit, I think. I am hoping there will be more E500s in Seattle.

  2. I'm disappointed with these buses. The windows (with a view?) Are completely covered with advertising and many passengers block the front seats. The front seats are really cramped and in the winter the buses have a massive condensation problem that has not been resolved yet. I once had a driver unable to pull out of the transit center because the windsheild was completely covered in unmanageable condensation. Major safety problem. These buses nned the ads removed from the windows and community transit needs to figure how to run the ac and heat (dehumidifying) at the same time. Until then, I dream of the days when I can drive to work.

  3. At this time there are no specific plans to purchase more double deckers. We review our bus replacement schedule every year and match that up with our local reserves and expected federal grants. I would say the hope is to get more Double Talls as they provide more passenger capacity and handle well in various conditions, but no final decision.

    As for the advertising, we really would rather have the buses look nice and clean with just our logo, but the economy has pushed us to find new ways to bring in revenue and there is demand for advertising on these buses.