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GO going to double-deckers

Bi-level bus more cost-efficient

Dozen to be put on busy 407 service


Double-decker buses will soon be motoring through Greater Toronto.

GO Transit plans to buy up to 12 “bi-level” highway buses for its growing 407 bus service.

“The benefits are pretty obvious: We can move more people without adding substantially to operating costs,” said GO chairman Gordon Chong. “It’s innovative and it’s cost-effective.”

A double-decker bus costs about $850,000 and seats 88 passengers, for a cost of less than $9,700 a seat. A regular coach costs $560,000 and seats 57, or more than $9,800 a seat.

GO tested a bi-level bus borrowed from B.C. Transit on a Yonge St. route in 2002 and found it to be more efficient than articulated buses, the long accordion-style buses that bend in the middle, which need longer bus bays.

The double-deckers — expected to be in service in 2006 — would run on GO’s 407 service, which uses York University as a hub. GO carries about 10,000 passengers a day on that service, in 350 trips. That’s up from just 800 people a day in 2000.

“If it works out,” said Chong, “we will have a brand for GO: bi-level trains and double-decker buses.”