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Now you can legally ride high

GO unveils double-deckers

By IAN ROBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

Diane Mobbs was surprised how GO Transit’s first new double-decker bus “drives like an ordinary bus” after taking it for a spin on Hwy. 407 before yesterday’s official unveiling.

The safety and training officer is gearing up to teach others how to handle the first 12 new 4.3-metre-high British-built coaches.

Another 10 arrive in April.

They will be the only public transit double-decker buses operating in Toronto since the eight owned by the TTC were retired due to poor performance in winter.

‘VERY SMOOTHLY’

No. 8005 drove “very smoothly” on Hwy. 407, Mobbs said. The 78-passenger bus is packed full of safety features, such as an all-important electronic low-bridge alert.

Premier Dalton McGuinty, standing 6-foot-2, grinned when asked if he had to bend over on the upper deck.

Riders can stand on the first deck, he said, but upstairs “you don’t ride standing up.”

But still riding upstairs will be “a big attraction” for riders, he said. “It’s exciting.”

He defended ordering buses not built in North America: “We are a global economy.

TRACTION FEARS

“I think Scotland is the only place that makes these buses,” he said, adding that if Canada insists on no overseas buying, other nations might stop ordering rail coaches built in Thunder Bay.

Capable of carrying 37% more riders than one-level buses, he called the wheelchair-accessible Alexander Dennis Ltd. coaches “good for the environment.”

Maintenance workers worry about traction in winter. Those used in Victoria are often parked in winter due to traction problems on ice and snow, one said.

The double-deckers will be used mainly on Hwys. 403 and 407 routes.




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