The first double decker bus specifically designed for Auckland’s commuter services has hit the road.
Ritchies Transport launched the Auckland Transport-branded double decker this morning on the Northern Busway.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown was on the first service this morning along with representatives of Auckland Transport, Ritchies, invited guests and some lucky commuters.
Mr Brown welcomes the arrival of the first double decker. He says “Aucklanders are demanding a world-class integrated transport system.
“Double decker buses mean we can maximize our existing route structure and they will play their part in unclogging Auckland along with other initiatives being introduced this year including integrating ticketing and our new fleet of electric trains.”
Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy says “This is a welcome addition to Auckland’s public transport landscape. Double decker buses have the potential to increase capacity on some of our busiest routes without putting extra buses on our already busy roads.
The Scania bus was built in Malaysia for Ritchies and arrived in Auckland last week. It can seat 86 passengers compared to the 51 seats in other buses on the Busway route.
The new bus is a trial but Ritchies director Andrew Ritchie expects it will be a success and we will see more double deckers on the Northern Busway.
Mr Ritchie says “The double decker is a pleasant experience for passengers, people like riding them and the bus drivers also like them.”
Other bus companies in Auckland are lining up various routes for double decker trials. NZ Bus and Howick and Eastern have been assessing various routes in Auckland for double deckers to meet increased demand and to replace ageing bendy buses.
The new double decker bus is 4.25 metres high and 12.1 metres long whereas a bendy bus is 22 metres long.