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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Really? There is no North American company that can do this? Double-deckers are awful for regional transit (no passenger comfort/safety) and can't support the summer season in Niagara region


  • No luggage bays
  • No washroom
  • No straps to tie down luggage
  • No stroller storage
  • Passengers are chauffeured at highway speed in a "city bus" design where in a rollover, passengers *can* die
  • In a crash, all of the loose luggage become flying projectiles, passengers *will* be seriously injured

6 comments:

gmcnewlook said...

yeah i dont understand gos fascination with double deckers.... what was wrong the good ol MCIs? (though go never ordered bathrooms for theirs either, the only time go did have coaches with bathrooms was because they were second hand coaches but go locked the bathroom.... so that doesnt really count)

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Hey, now! Are we putting down 21st-century style progress?
Rag-tag and cutting corners is the current rage among the industries. Get used to it.

Alex Wilcox said...

I don't quite understand the issues you have with the new double decker buses that are being produced. There is only one truly Canadian manufacturer of buses, New Flyer, which only recently bought MCI, the manufacturer of GO's current buses. NovaBus and Prevost, though headquartered in Quebec, are both owned by Volvo. Gillig is the only remaining "All American" transit bus manufacturer, after New Flyer bought NABI a couple years back. VanHool is Belgian, and their products are imported. Orion closed down. Having some competition in Ontario bus manufacturing is good, otherwise we get the "Bombardier Problem."

A few years back, Metrolinx put out a Request for Proposals for a bus with a wheelchair ramp, luggage space, and seating like a motorcoach. A number of companies took the documents, but it isn't known who actually responded.

The Enviro 500 SuperLo seems to be the outcome of that RFP. Unlike the current Double Deckers, there will be luggage bays over the rear wheels. There is no washroom, but there isn't a washroom on any other GO bus. The bus meets the same crash standards as any other bus, there is no real difference between a city or highway coach.

I understand that the existing Double Deckers have design issues, but there are some massive improvements with the new design. Level wheelchair boarding means mobility devices load quickly, and without malfunctioning lifts. 20+ more seats seems like a good tradeoff for a slightly smaller luggage bay, which will be plenty big enough for most trips. They're also made partially in Ontario, unlike any existing GO bus.

Here's a (bad) rendering:
http://www.alexander-dennis.com/mobile/news-media/no-stopping-the-bus-as-adl-heads-towards-record-year/

Warren Downe said...

This isn’t news, Toronto Star. It was news last Fall (http://bit.ly/1tlMN0x). Only the chassis assembly is built in Vaughan. The buses are completed in Nappannee, IL, so it’s not really a “Vaughan-made” super low model. Finished buses are then upgraded and maintained at GO Transit garages, e.g. Streetsville, where the operating integrity of the units is compromised, e.g. improper filter installations leading to passengers breathing soot (http://bit.ly/1MNMZ63).

Ali Gator said...

Yes, Alex, it’s difficult to keep up with the M&A transactions amongst bus manufacturers.

Have you spent significant time in the DD’s, either as a driver or a passenger? This is my sixth year riding the deckers — DDH’s and DDL’s. I much prefer MCI’s; they are quieter buses with more comfortable seats. MCI’s do not need to be geo-fenced; they are GO Transit’s only “go anywhere bus”. I want to see a super-low ADL cruise underneath the railway overpass on Plains Rd. in Burlington (I’m from Missouri).

In theory, mobility devices load quickly on the deckers, but that is negated by WMA passengers now buying larger scooters that are difficult to maneuver onto the buses.

I disagree with your assessment of “a slightly smaller luggage bay”. The DDH’s have no cargo bay. DDL’s have a cupboard suitable for carry-on cases, duffle bags, and back packs, which most folks take on board with them anyway. Really big suitcases will not fit in the back of the bus; they must be brought on board. If need be, you can fit two bikes nose to nose in there, but it’s easier to take the bikes inside the bus and tether them in the accessibility area, if there’s space available. That raises a compliance issue, but I’m not going there tonight.

How many seats in the super-low DD’s will be lost to make room for the enlarged cargo bay? What is the difference in the number of (seated) passengers on a super-low DD versus those (seated plus standing) on a MCI?

I don’t really care who manufactures the buses or where the assembly plants are located. As a customer, I want reliability. Although, I’ve heard of problems with MCI buses, I’ve never had one let me down. I cannot say the same for ADL buses.

Alex Wilcox said...

Ali,

I have not spent nearly the same amount of time riding the double deckers as you. Most of my experiences with the ADL products have been in Ottawa, which uses the same buses as GO's newer Double Deckers. There does not seem to be a huge reliability issue with them in Ottawa, though I cannot really compare them to a coach bus on similar routes, and will take your word on ride comfort.

The new double deckers are apparently 3.9 m tall. The Plains road overpass is signed with a clearance of 4.0m. This should be enough for them to fit, though the new design remains taller than an MCI.

By slightly smaller luggage bay, I was referring to the design of the new buses. I understand that the existing small cupboard is not sufficient, but I believe the space on the new design likely is. It will be slightly smaller than an MCI, but it does appear large enough for bicycles. The new buses will have 83 seats, more than any existing double decker or MCI in GO's fleet, and a higher total capacity than an MCI with standees.

The issue of the wheelchair lift is a big one. When a lift, with it's many moving parts, breaks down, passengers are left stranded. With a ramp, even if it malfunctions, it can still be operated by hand. I have witnessed many bus riders maneuver their mobility devices onto all types of city buses similar to and including double deckers with no issue.

I think that GO and ADL have a good solution that addresses most of the concerns of riders. Though there is a comprimise with the comfort and slight loss of luggage space, and we will have to wait and see on the reliability, these new buses seem like they could be a success.