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

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
Mercer Island Marine Patrol recovers Bellevue man who drowned in Lake Washington

Mercer Island’s Marine Patrol recovered an adult male who drowned in Lake… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
Bellevue, Mercer Island emergency responders search for missing man in Lake Washington

Staff Report Members of the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) Marine Patrol… Continue reading

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. 	File photo
Researchers track ‘mysterious’ kokanee salmon in region

Kokanee in Lake Washington and Sammamish are genetically unique. Over the past decades, their numbers have dwindled.

A protective mask hanging on a front door. (Sound Publishing file photo)
King County to lift indoor mask mandate on June 29

About 1.3 million county residents have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

File photo
King County leaders propose emergency funding for gun violence prevention initiative

Sixty-nine people were reportedly shot during the first quarter of 2021.

Pills taken during police investigation (photo credit: Bellevue Police)
Renton man charged with homicide after selling fentanyl pills to a Bellevue woman

Law enforcement warns of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths.

t
Bellevue shines in fastpitch and lacrosse action

Bellevue fastpitch hurler Rachel Treves fires away during the Wolverines’ 11-1 victory… Continue reading

Photos by Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
King County Council approves $631 million emergency COVID budget

Staff reports The King County Council approved a seventh round of emergency… Continue reading

Flames attack the hillside in Bonney Lake on Sept. 8, 2020. (East Pierce Fire & Rescue photo)
WA firefighters brace for potentially busy weekend

Washington state Department of Natural Resources firefighters were preparing for what could… Continue reading

Most Read