In an effort to give passengers a little bit more elbow room, C-Tran plans to start running larger buses on one of its busiest commuter routes.
Tuesday, the C-Tran Board of Directors approved the purchase of two 60-foot buses.
The agency expects the new buses to begin operating next year on Route 164 Fisher’s Landing Express.
According to C-Tran documents, traffic congestion is such that running more buses on the route wouldn’t be as effective as just running bigger ones.
Currently, Route 164, which runs from the Fisher’s Landing Transit Center in east Vancouver to the transit mall in downtown Portland, operates with 40-foot buses.
Two of those 40-foot buses each have more than 500,000 miles on them and have reached the end of their useful life.
The agency plans to replace those and begin running the route with two new 60-foot articulated buses like those that currently operate on The Vine in the Fourth Plain corridor.
Unlike The Vine buses, the new 60-foot buses will look similar to those that run on C-Tran’s other fixed routes.
They also won’t be exclusively dedicated to Route 164 and may be used on other lines, as well.
According to C-Tran documents, purchasing the new buses is not to exceed $2.5 million, including state sales tax. Only 5 percent of the costs will come from local funds; the remaining 95 percent is split between a Washington State Department of Transportation Regional Mobility Grant and a Federal Transportation Administration grant.
The proposed change is the most recent the C-Tran administration has been making to its services.
Due to worsening highway congestion into the Portland metro area, Route 164 is one of several express routes that has struggled to keep pace with its printed schedule.
In September, in order to improve reliability and keep the route on a more reliable schedule, C-Tran added two morning trips from Vancouver, removed six “reverse commute” trips as well as two peak trips and made a few schedule adjustments.