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GO adding new, lower double-deck buses to its fleet



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Image: Metrolinx / GO Transit.

Last week, Metrolinx announced that it’s introducing new fully accessible, low-floor, low-height double-decker GO Transit buses into service starting today, Monday, July 25.

The double-deckers are 39 centimetres (15.35 inches) lower than GO’s first generation of double-decker buses and 24 centimetres (9.45 inches) lower than the second generation. This means they can clear more bridges and trees, increasing the number of routes they can travel on.

For example, the new buses can access four major terminals that current GO double-deckers can’t, due to low overpasses or roofs:

  • the Hamilton GO Centre;
  • Union Station GO Bus Terminal;
  • Yorkdale GO Bus Terminal; and
  • York Mills GO Bus Terminal.

Starting today, the new buses operate in Highway 407 West service, along the 45 Mississauga / York U and 46 Oakville / York U routes. Starting in September, they replace the single-deck buses that now operate along the 15 McMaster, 16 Hamilton / Toronto express, 18 Lakeshore West and 47 Hamilton / York U routes.

Metrolinx has ordered 253 of the new buses from Alexander Dennis Ltd. GO plans to add 38 to its fleet by the end of this year and will introduce all 253 into service over the next four years.

According to Metrolinx, the new buses are “fully accessible”. They feature:

  • lower floors;
  • longer, more gradual entrance ramps;
  • a wider area for passengers with passengers with wheeled mobility aids to maneuver;
  • automated next-stop announcements and display technology.
  • eight electrical outlets — four on each level — for passengers to use, with two in the wheeled mobility device area;
  • more room to store luggage;
  • reclining seats on the lower floor; and
  • tinted windows to protect passengers from ultra-violet rays and to help control the on-board temperature.

These — and all — GO double-decker buses seat 81 passengers, while single-level buses seat just 55. About 25 percent of GO’s buses are double-deckers. GO expects its fleet to include 75 percent double-deckers by 2020.

Scotland’s Alexander Dennis describes itself as “the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer… and the fastest-growing bus and coach builder in Western Europe”. However, the Metrolinx order has resulted in as many as 30 new full-time jobs at a new Dennis facility in Vaughan. Local workers are building the chassis, installing the engines, axles and steering components and inspecting the final product.