By: Sara Miller
GO Transit commuters may have noticed a few new changes on the GO buses Thursday morning.
The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Glen Murray, has announced a new fleet of 25 double-decker buses.
The new series of Enviro 500 LHD buses will include features such as LED reading lights, power outlets and front-mounted bike racks.
They hold more passengers and are 10 centimetres lower than the original double-decker models introduced in 2008, allowing the bus to operate on 34 new routes.
Marjorie Richards, a GO bus commuter, told Humber News Thursday that the new double-decker buses have a better functionality than the older models.
“What I really enjoy about the new GO buses is the accessibility features,” Richards said.
“I work with children who have special needs and I frequently do summers trips with them to different cities. The new buses have more room for wheelchairs and come equipped with a pull out ramp, making it easier compared to the older models which used a electronic lift.”
“This [bus] basically runs with twice as many people per bus compared to the single floor models with only one driver,” Murray told Humber TV at the GO bus unveiling Wednesday.
The buses will also be able to carry 81 passengers in total, 26 more than the older models which could accommodate just 55 passengers.
“It also uses less fuel and it is a very high fuel efficient vehicle, making it environmentally friendly and cost efficient.”
The buses will cost $800,000 a piece for a grand total of $20 million.
MetroLinx, which coordinates all transit for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton, said in an email the older double-decker models will not be replaced with the arrival of the newer ones.
“These new double-decker buses won’t replace the existing fleet of double-decker buses, but operate alongside them on various GO Bus routes throughout the region.”
The announcement comes a day after MetroLinx announced a plan to to raise money for The Big Move, a transportation project that would allow rapid transit, expansion of train stations and an inter-graded fare system.
In a news release, president of GO Transit Gary McNeil said that the new buses is a important factor for improving transit systems.
“Improving existing public transit service is a key component of The Big Move — Metrolinx’s strategy for a modern, efficient and integrated transportation system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Our new double-decker buses will help us serve our customers by improving their commuting experience.” he said
The Ontario government has committed $11.5 billion for the implementation of this plan.
In the same news release, Murray said the buses will give passengers an enhanced and easier commute.
“By adding more GO Buses, we are providing commuters with more travel options and making it easier for them to get to work, school or appointments,” Murray said.