The Sound Transit double-decker buses replace the articulated buses on Everett to Bellevue routes along I-405. The 14.5-foot tall buses seat more people for an equal footprint and similar fuel economy. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

The Sound Transit double-decker buses replace the articulated buses on Everett to Bellevue routes along I-405. The 14.5-foot tall buses seat more people for an equal footprint and similar fuel economy. Kailan Manandic/staff photo

Double-deckers descend on the Eastside

The new 14.5-foot tall buses will run from Everett to Bellevue, with stops in Bothell and Kirkland.

Sound Transit recently rolled out double-decker buses in a regional partnership along the I-405 corridor.

The new buses will run along Sound Transit routes 532 and 535, which include stops in Bothell, Kirkland and end in Bellevue. They’ll replace the 60-foot long articulated buses, fitting more riders and offering a view high above traffic.

“More seats and more room mean more comfort for transit riders in Bellevue,” Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak said. “We appreciate Sound Transit’s efforts to increase the capacity of commuter routes, especially as our region continues to deal with congestion.”

Sound Transit maintains an operational partnership with Community Transit, which is the only agency in the region with facilities to maintain and operate double-decker busses. Originally introduced throughout Snohomish County in 2014, the Sound Transit double-decker fleet now includes 37 busses.

The double-decker buses can seat 77 passengers with an overall capacity of 120, compared to an articulated bus with a seat capacity of 59 and a 90-passenger overall capacity.

“Community Transit has a fleet of 70 double decker buses, which we call ‘double talls.’ We also operate approximately 37 Sound Transit double-decker buses,” said Martin Manguia, spokesperson for Community Transit. “Together, that makes 107 double-deckers in service in the Puget Sound area. This is the second largest double decker fleet in the U.S., after Las Vegas.”

While the double talls offer more seating for the same footprint and about the same fuel economy as the articulated buses they are replacing, there are some complications in bus routing. Sound Transit has had to work closely with Eastside cities to “prune” the routes and ensure the 14.5-foot tall buses have enough clearance throughout the stops.

“Roads with low bridge clearances are off-limits. Once we identified corridors we wanted the buses to run on, we had to contact local jurisdictions to see if they would trim trees along those roads,” Manguia said. “Sometimes the answer is ‘yes,’ sometimes it is ‘no.’ Sometimes a yes has a lengthy timeline, as in the case in the Bellevue area.”

Additionally, double-deckers present a cost-related obstacle, costing more than an articulated bus and requiring base modifications to house and maintain the vehicles. According to Manguia, the base-upgrades cost about $6 million, which was partially shared with Sound Transit.

The buses were officially implemented along the I-405 corridor at the end of March and according to Sound Transit spokesperson, Rachelle Cunningham, the rider response has been positive.

“When we introduce them into our routes, people are super excited about them,” Cunningham said. “The view from up top is spectacular, especially in our region.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Bellevue College selects Gary Locke as interim president

Locke formerly served as governor of Washington State

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. FILE PHOTO
King County sheriff releases message about Minneapolis Police officer

Mitzi Johanknecht calls video of officer kneeling on neck of George Floyd ‘heartbreaking and disturbing’

File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
                                File photo of construction near North Bend on Aug. 16. Sound Publishing file photo
Rural King County mayors want state to let them enter Phase 2

Mayors cite heavy economic damage from prolonged shutdown.

New dashboard shows how far along King County is to meeting Phase II metrics

The county has met more than half its goals, but the ones it hasn’t met are critical in determining how many people are still being infected, and how quickly people are being tested.

As sales tax plummets in King County, mental health and drug program funding dries up

County will need to make severe cuts to MIDD program this year.

Auburn Mountain View Cemetery Manager Craig Hudson, center, confers with maintenance workers David Partridge, left, and Zach Hopper in March 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
State allows weddings, funerals, religious services to restart with restrictions

Gov. Inslee issues new rules during May 27 news conference.

State loosens cougar hunting restrictions

The regulations will impact 19 areas around the state.

Most Read