DoubleDecker bus. Photo: AC Transit/ klynch
The double-decker bus that will be tested for three weeks starting today on several local lines. Photo: AC Transit/ klynch

AC Transit will begin piloting double-decker buses on several routes in the East Bay, including in Berkeley, and on some transbay routes today.

The test-run, which will last three weeks through March 15, will use an 80-seat bus on loan from the manufacturer Alexander Dennis. And anyone who gets on the bus will get a free ride during the pilot period as no fares will be charged.

Over the course of the test period, the bus will operate on selected trips on several transbay and local lines, including lines FS, J, L, NX, NX1, NX2, U, and the 51B. It will also be on display at AC Transit’s general offices in downtown Oakland and mid-day at the Transbay Temporary Terminal in San Francisco. (See links below for the full schedule.)

Passengers who ride the double-decker will be encouraged to fill out a survey to let AC Transit know what they think.

“As our ridership continues to grow, we’re looking for ways to efficiently accommodate more passengers,” AC Transit said in a prepared statement. “So we’re testing this bus in service to see if double deckers would be a practical, welcome addition to our fleet. This same bus, built by Alexander Dennis, operates in other US cities, including Seattle, Davis, and Las Vegas.”

Following the test period, input from riders, bus operators, and maintenance staff will be compiled and reviewed. Staff will then report to the AC Transit Board of Directors with findings and recommendations.

If a decision is made to purchase double-decker buses, they could be in service as early as 2017.

Read the project overview and check out the schedule.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...