A double dose of bus envy

A double dose of bus envy
Photo courtesy of Oran Viriyinci on Flickr

An unusual sight revealed itself through my windshield a few weeks ago. I was downtown and couldn’t help but notice the largest bus I’d ever seen was at a stop in front of my car. (Yes, even Ms. Metro gets behind the wheel sometimes.) 

At first I assumed the vehicle was for sightseeing, since I’ve noticed double decker's packed with tourists exploring the city. However, this bus had a roof, was blue and white and read “The Double Tall” on the back.  Even with that familiar of a coffee-inspired name, I could see the bus was clearly not an advertisement for Starbucks.  Eventually “The Double Tall” made a right turn and unmasked an enormous “Community Transit: Smile and Ride” sign on the side. 

I’d never seen a double decker bus for us commuters before and wanted to know more. I discovered that the company who makes the famous London double decker's created these ‘andsome (Londoner slang) vehicles.  While I haven’t stepped foot on one myself, apparently the upper level offers an unparallelled scenic passage between the suburbs and city.  While these Community Transit (CT) buses do travel to downtown Seattle, their point of origin is farther north with the southern most locale being in Shoreline. This means commuters like me who bus within the city of Seattle don’t get a “Double Tall" unless we’re actually placing an order at Starbucks. 

According to the CT and Metro websites, these buses pack in more of us peeps, cost the same as articulated buses (or bendy accordion buses, as I call them) and had fewer maintenance and operational concerns. With so many perks, I’d think the old school, single story, rambler-like vehicles would become a thing of the past and these big boys would be everywhere.  I understand bus ridership is up (which by the way explains why there’s rarely an empty seat and I become a kind of contortionist in order to effectively maneuver past fellow passengers when boarding and exiting), and these two story rides seem like the solution to effectively transporting people. That said, as you’ve likely heard, both CT and Metro plan to cut service and Metro is increasing fees. I don’t know about you, but paying more and getting less makes me sad, mad and a tad confused.  Bet you can’t wait to ride with me and a bunch of other agitated Seattleites.

Well played Community Transit, for making me envious of your fancy pants unattainable bus from the North.