Soon enough, those sweltering rides on Vancouver’s 99 B-Line may be a thing of the past.
TransLink has announced that 21 new articulated buses (the ones with the hinge in the middle) will be added to its fleet in coming months. And, for the first time, they’ll all have air conditioning.
But there’s more good news. Going forward, all new buses purchased by the agency will have air conditioning. TransLink says this the decision was made to improve the “comfort and safety of both passengers and drivers” during the warmer months, according to Vancity Buzz.
The change may also reflect Vancouver’s ever hotter summers. The city experienced its hottest summer on record in 2014, a trend expected to continue into the future. For sweltering riders, air conditioning has become less a luxury than a necessity on long cross-city trips.
The 21 new buses (technically, Flyer Xcelsior XDE60 articulated 60-foot, three-door models) will service the ever popular 99 B-Line along Broadway, as well as the 96 B-Line in Surrey and the 135 and 44 routes. While passengers may still be packed like sardines, they can at least look forward to a reprieve from the heat this summer. The new vehicles, expected to be in service by March, will also feature better seating, smoother opening electric doors and more green-friendly diesel hybrid engines.
Riders on other routes, however, shouldn’t hold their breath. TransLink has more than 1,000 buses in its fleet, and it will be decades before all vehicles currently in service are replaced by new ones. Electric trolleys generally have a lifespan of around 25 years, while traditional gas guzzlers (like the longer articulated buses) last about 15-20 years, Kenneth Chan reports.
The new 60-foot buses will carry 104 passengers each. TransLink put in an order for 25 of the 60-foot articulated buses and 17 40-foot buses back in 2012 with Winnipeg-based New Flyer, at a cost of $28 million, according to the Georgia Straight.