The days of riding double-deck buses in Kelowna are over.
The last seven double-deckers in the Kelowna Regional Transit fleet were sent to Victoria earlier this summer after B.C. Transit, which manages the local 70-bus fleet, determined it was cheaper and more efficient to use regular 40-foot buses in the Central Okanagan instead.
“It’s kind of sad to see them go,” said Jerry Dombrowsky, transit and programs manager for the City of Kelowna.
He said the seven double-deckers were removed from the fleet and replaced with conventional buses before the latest change to transit services went into effect here last week.
The double-deckers were introduced to the Kelowna fleet 10 years ago, and during the 2010 Winter Olympics were sent to Whistler to ferry spectators during that event.
Dombrowsky said B.C. Transit, through a business case, found the double-deckers were too costly to run all day as they were not filled with passengers most of the time. For the times that they were filled, it was deemed cheaper to use an additional conventional bus on the route, he said. Because of that, and with the addition of more conventional buses to the system to replace the double-deckers, capacity is being maintained.
When they were introduced, only Victoria and Kelowna received double-decker buses as part of their public transit fleets.
They were deemed just as good in the winter conditions as single level buses and only minimal tree trimming on some routes had to done as well as overhead wires moved to accommodate them on some local roads.
But Dombrowsky said it did take longer to load them at bus stops because of the second level, and that impacted schedules.
“It might not seem long at the time, but over the course of the day, it added up,” he said.
In terms of both capacity and the number of buses in the fleet, there will be no change as a result for the departure.
Despite his company operating the buses as part of the Kelowna Regional Transit system, Colin White, general manager of First Transit, declined to comment on the loss the double-deckers, referring all comment to B.C. Transit.
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