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Ride tall: Sound Transit to purchase new double-decker transit buses

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Popular double-decker buses part of 21-bus fleet replacement order

Some bus riders will get a new view on their commute when Sound Transit rolls out several new double-decker buses for service between Snohomish County and Seattle next year. The Sound Transit Board today approved the purchase of five new double-decker buses along with 17 traditionally-sized buses to replace aging fleet.

The double-decker buses are similar to the popular "Double Tall" buses currently operated by Everett-based Community Transit. Sound Transit will run the new tall buses on crowded routes connecting Seattle and Snohomish County.

With 77 seats, each new 13′ 6″ tall bus will offer around 40 percent more capacity, enabling Sound Transit to serve more riders with the same number of buses and drivers. The double-decker buses will be limited to Snohomish County routes because Community Transit has experience maintaining and operating them following the launch of their "Double Tall" service in 2011. Sound Transit contracts with Community Transit to operate its Snohomish County-based routes.

The 17 new standard-height buses will be 40 feet long, offer 37 seats and operate with compressed natural gas (CNG). They will replace buses connecting Pierce County and Seattle.

Total purchase price for the 22 replacement buses is $15 million including taxes and contingency. The double-decker buses will be manufactured by Alexander Dennis Limited in Indiana. The CNG buses will be manufactured by Gillig Corp. of California.