Double-decker CapMetro bus hits the road

KXAN Staff - AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Starting Monday morning, you'll get a chance to ride Capital Metro's brand new double-decker bus.

The bus is going to run one of CapMetro's busiest routes: from Tech Ridge in north Austin down to the University of Texas and through the city ending at Riverside Drive and Interstate 35.

CapMetro expressed an interest in double-decker buses for commuter routes after recent pilots in Atlanta, Oakland and Reno. Tests in other cities have shown that these double-deckers attract more riders due to its comfort level and the experience. Also, if there are more seats available, riding the bus becomes more attractive.

While the pilot program is only two weeks long, passengers will be able to ride the double-decker for free. The buses cost $850,000 while a regular bus costs around $500,000. According to Capital Metro, these buses are just as fuel efficient and hold 100 passengers, double the number of people compared to a regular MetroExpress bus.

Surveys will be conducted during the trial period to see how much support there is for a full-time double-decker bus service. Reviews from riders, bus operators and maintenance staff will be compiled and reviewed. Those reviews will then make their way to the Capital Metro board of directors with findings and recommendation

In August, CapMetro released its 10-year plan dubbed "Connections 2025," which focuses on adding 11 additional high-frequency routes. However, the agency is seeing a drop in overall ridership. In July, the transit agency said their ridership decreased by 8.4 percent on fixed routes from the previous year.

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