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Customers give double decker bus high marks

Customers at Burnsville Transit Station got a close-up look at the Enviro 500 double decker bus last week. Customers at Burnsville Transit Station got a close-up look at the Enviro 500 double decker bus last week.

MVTA customers gave a double decker demonstration bus high marks in an informal survey last week at transit stations in Burnsville, Eagan, Apple Valley and Shakopee.

The Enviro 500, a double decker bus produced by Alexander Dennis, was staged at MVTA stations as part of a demonstration display.

Of the surveys completed, 98 percent of customers indicated they would like to see MVTA add a double decker to its fleet.

Because of current height issues, the bus could only be used on special routes such as State Fair trips.

However, the capacity of the double decker – about twice a typical coach bus – would also have potential on more heavily used express routes serving Minneapolis and St. Paul.

MTVA Executive Director Luther Wynder said it’s a good time to continue discussions with regional transportation partners to ensure that future infrastructure projects can accommodate the height of the double decker. The bus on display last week has a height of 13 feet, six inches. Alexander Dennis also produces a double decker that is under 13 feet high.

Although the double decker costs more than current coach buses, over time the return on investment is favorable in terms of cost per passenger.

Because of the favorable feedback from customers, Wynder said MVTA would like to bring the double decker back to transport passengers on a trial basis.

Other amenities

MVTA customers also provided feedback on other amenities in the survey. Customers were asked to rank what bus amenities are most important to them.

According to survey results, seat comfort was the No. 1 most important amenity to MVTA customers. After seat comfort, the next most important amenities of surveyed customers were (in order of importance): temperature control; WiFi; electronic charging stations; and PA system quality.