SouthWest Transit is considering adding a double-decker bus to its fleet according to a report in Finance and Commerce.

The transit agency recently told the Metropolitan Council that it's interested in buying a 14-foot tall Enviro 500 bus made by Alexander Dennis Ltd. for $535,000. The bus, akin to those seen in London or catering to big city tourists, would have room for 100 passengers compared with seats for 57 people on typical coach buses.

SouthWest said it has an opportunity to buy the bus at a discounted rate because it has been used in demonstrations during a recent transit conference. The bus normally retails for $800,000.

Dave Jacobson, SouthWest's chief operating officer, said the bus could be used on some of the agency's high-capacity routes and for service for special events such as the State Fair. SouthWest serves about 1 million passengers a year and has several routes that are nearing capacity, he told the magazine.

If it gains Met Council approval, SouthWest would join transit agencies in Seattle, Las Vegas, and Davis, Calif. who use double-decker buses.

SouthWest Transit serves the metro area's southwestern suburbs of Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska.



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