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Double Deck Bus Pilot Report (FINAL) rspdf (5-30-08)

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  • San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) Double Decker Bus Pilot Demonstration

    Alexander Dennis Inc. Enviro 500 Model

    December 2007January 2008

    Paul Bignardi Transportation Planner IV

    Transportation Planning and Development Division Long Range Planning

    May 2008


  • 2

  • San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) Double Deck Bus Pilot Demonstration Table of Contents --------------------------------------------------------------------- Executive Summary 1 Background / Introduction 9 A Short Chronicle of Double Deck Buses 10 The SFMTA Pilot Demonstration 11

    Part I: The Vehicle Alexander Dennis Inc. Enviro 500 11 Part II: On-Street Operation / Maintenance / Storage 15 Part III: Internal SFMTA Technical Data 17 Part IV: Survey Data Collection and Analysis 19 Part V: Observations by the Report Author: SF Pilot Demonstration 28 Part VI: Observations by the Report Author: Service--Las Vegas 31 Part VII: SFMTA & Alexander Dennis Staff Vehicle Design Meetings 32

    Pilot Demonstration Summary: Strengths / Challenges 36

    Part I: Strengths and Challenges 36 Part II: Double Decker Bus Placed into a Service Perspective 38

    Report Recommendations 39

    Part I: Four Alternative Courses of Action 39 Part II: Report Recommendation 39 Part III: A Closer Look at the Four Alternatives 40 Part IV: Endnotes 42

    Appendices A: AD Enviro 500 Fact Sheet B: AD Enviro 500 Full Size Vehicle Graphic Cutaway Diagrams 40 Design C: Contract Agreement between SFMTA and Alexander Dennis for Loan of Enviro 500 Bus D: SFMTA In Service Route Schedule: Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008 E: Passenger Survey Form (Full Size) 2007-2008 F: Passenger Survey Data Matrix 2007-2008 G: Passenger Survey Comments 2007-2008 H: Passenger Survey Data / Comments Senior and Disabled Passengers I: Recommendations from the Mayors Office on Disability J: Muni Accessibility Advisory Committee Comments: Mtg. 11-15-07 K: SFMTA Operator and MTAP Survey Data and Comments L: Passenger Survey 1990 M: SFMTA Preparation for Double Decker Pilot Demonstration


    N: BUSRide Article: Las Vegas Double Decks (October 2007)

  • O: AD Enviro 500 Full Size Vehicle Graphic Cutaway Diagrams 42 Design P: Summary of Calgary Double Decker Trial (2003) Q: Artist Renditions of Enviro 500 in SF Muni paint scheme


  • Executive Summary Background / Introduction In Fall 2007 the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) decided to conduct a pilot demonstration of a double decker bus. An arrangement with the Alexander Dennis Corporation (AD) was worked out to have one vehicle (Enviro 500 model) at SFMTA from December 2007- January 2008. The push to test this vehicle came from planning work performed as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects. BRT plans include the introduction of new vehicles on BRT routes proposed for Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard. A concern over space constraints at SFMTA yards also contributed to a decision to do a pilot demonstration. This pilot using the AD Enviro 500 occurred seventeen years after Muni tested a Leyland double decker bus in early 1990. The format of this report is cumulative each successive section builds upon the previous one, leading to a recommendation near the end of the document. The format is followed both in the Executive Summary and in the main report. The report was prepared in this way to provide the reader with the relevant information collected during the pilot demonstration prior to discussion of the recommended course of action. However, if you want to go straight to the recommended course of action, it is on page 7 of the executive summary. In the main report it is on page 39. A Short Chronicle of Double Decker Buses Double decker horsecars existed in the 19th century, but it is not clear regarding how and why two level transit vehicles became popular, especially in the United Kingdom. In 1956 the English Routemaster double decker was introduced and remained in service in London for almost 50 years. This iconic model, required two-man operation, loaded from the rear and held about 60-70 passengers. By 2000, it was being replaced by double deckers that loaded from the front and articulated buses. At the start of 2008, a half-dozen or so transit vehicle manufacturers continue to produce double decker buses. Around the world, double decker buses are operated in over a dozen large cities including London, Hong Kong, Dublin, Berlin, and Singapore. In North America, several dozen buses are in service in Las Vegas, NV, Victoria, B.C., and in New York where they are used as tourist buses. Las Vegas purchased its first 50 double deckers for use on the Deuce route on the Las Vegas Strip in 2005. Daily ridership is over 40,000 on the Deuce route. At this time, Alexander Dennis Corporation (AD) is the only double decker bus producer that has achieved Buy American standards. AD has offices and factories in Guildford, UK, and an office in Canyon Lakes, CA, near Los Angeles. The SFMTA Pilot Demonstration The Vehicle The SFMTA pilot demonstration bus was an AD Enviro 500: 40 long (480), 8.3 wide (101), 14 tall (168), 51,000 lbs., with 3 axles and 83 seats (57 upper / 26 lower). The


  • vehicle was a low floor model (12 inches), with a 66 ceiling height on most of the lower level and a 57 inch ceiling height on the upper level. Two wheelchair securements and six accessible / senior / disabled seats were located on the lower level. The Enviro 500 was powered by a rear-mounted 330 hp SM 6 cylinder Cummins diesel mated to a 6-speed ZF automatic transmission. The bus was stored and serviced at Flynn Division. SFMTA decided to operate the double decker bus on major trunk lines with heavy ridership. A final schedule was approved to operate the bus on Route 49 (Van Ness-Mission), Route 14L (Mission), Route 38/38L (Geary), and on Route 1BX (California B Express). In on-street operation, the double decker bus was an extra that was spliced between two regularly scheduled buses. The SFMTA Pilot Demonstration Passenger Capacity & Flow Dwell Times The AD Enviro 500 contained 83 seats versus 55-57 seats for an SFMTA articulated diesel or trolley coach, with a total of 6 accessible / senior seats and room for 11 standees, resulting in an official maximum capacity of 94 passengers. Crush loads larger than maximum capacity often occur on SFMTA routes, and during the pilot demonstration, the double decker achieved crush load capacity, on two trips, with a peak load of 120 passengers. Alternate seating plans are available that could raise the number of accessible / senior seats to 8, with 6 more seats located one step up, but in these plans overall seating capacity is reduced to 71-75 seats. Dwell time for the articulated bus fleet and the AD double decker bus was recorded by automatic passenger counter (APC) units. Composite dwell time on the double decker bus was about 25%-33% greater than on articulated buses, with articulated buses averaging 18 seconds per stop, while the double decker bus averaged 29 seconds per stop. At some times, the extra delay was caused by passenger confusion due to the unexpected appearance of the double decker bus itself, and the free fare policy. The SFMTA Pilot Demonstration On-Street Operation / Maintenance and Storage Six operators were trained to drive the bus, which was also staffed by at least one Muni Transit Assistant Program (MTAP) staff at all times while in service. Several issues concerning operations and safety were raised prior to the bus entering service. The possibility of vandalism was a public safety issue, especially on the upper level (hence the presence of MTAP staff). Injuries to passengers due to lower ceilings, the stairway and step-up seats, was a concern, but no major injuries were recorded during the pilot demonstration. A street grade issue was tested by operating the double decker bus on the 1BX route, which included a very steep grade (Pine between Kearney and Grant), and the bus climbed the grade successfully. Ride quality was found by most passengers and staff to be superior to an articulated bus. Fuel economy of 3.5 mpg was recorded, which was 50% better than the average fuel economy of the articulated bus fleet. No major maintenance issues were cited by Flynn Division staff that were responsible for the bus during the pilot demonstration. The potential storage benefits to SFMTA of a


  • vehicle that is 1/3 smaller in size than a comparable articulated transit vehicle was a driving force behind the pilot demonstration. At this time, no SFMTA bus yards are designed to maintain double decker buses, but following the pilot demonstration, modification of the new diesel bus yard at Islais Creek to serve double decker buses was found to be conceptually feasible. More study was recommended. Data Collection and Analysis Part 1: Passenger Survey 2007-2008 & 1990 A total of 841 surveys were completed during the 2007-2008 pilot demonstration, and an amazing 7,149 surveys were completed in the 1990 pilot demonstration. Several questions in the recent survey were asked in 1990 allowing direct comparison between the two data sets. Highlights of the survey included the following points. Vehicle Questions 2007-08 1991 84% 94% did not have trouble climbing to the upper level 48% Not asked preferred to ride on the upper level 14% Not asked preferred to ride on the lower level 80% 85% preferred the ride quality on the double decker bus 85% 79% preferred the view on the double d

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