Double deckers for NZ

Fifteen double decker buses have been ordered for an Auckland bus company

Auckland bus company Howick & Eastern Buses will introduce 15 double decker buses to its fleet with the first to start running later this year.

The operation is owned by Souter Investments and the buses will be used predominantly on east Auckland commuter routes between Botany and downtown Auckland.

Fifteen double decker buses have been ordered at a total investment of $12 million.

Brian Souter, of Souter Investments, says the new buses will be among the most efficient on Auckland’s roads.

"We are really pleased to be bringing a new style of bus to east Auckland passengers, and to support the local bus-building industry," he says.

"These double-deck buses are shorter than a regular Howick & Eastern commuter bus, yet can carry nearly twice the number of passengers.

"That means fewer buses on the roads, and reduced carbon emissions per passenger."

All but two of the 15 buses will be built in Tauranga by Kiwi Bus Builders and Alexander Dennis.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says double-deck buses are most welcome on one of Auckland’s busiest and most congested commuter routes.

"Being able to carry more passengers, without adding to congestion on our roads is an example of how Auckland’s public transport companies are innovating as passenger numbers grow.

"I congratulate Souter Holdings and Howick & Eastern Buses on this initiative, which will be of benefit to both bus passengers and other road users," says Brown.

Auckland Transport chairman Lester Levy says public transport performance has improved dramatically in recent years along with patronage.

"Improving services and catering for growth in demand for public transport requires a new approach.

"Urban double-deck buses will almost certainly become more common in the future.

"It’s a smart way to add capacity without adding pressure on roading infrastructure; it will encourage more drivers out of their cars and is a more environmentally sound solution to congestion."

Howick & Eastern Buses general manager Sheryll Otway says the double-deck buses are an exciting first for the company and set a new standard for Auckland public bus transport.

"Our new double-decks are another big step forward in customer service and will be used predominantly on the Botany corridor, which has experienced strong growth in passenger numbers in the past 12 months.

"We think that passengers will appreciate not only the new buses, but also the new features such as free Wi-Fi and power points and USB ports at every seat."

The Howick & Eastern double-deck buses are expected to be in service in the last quarter of 2015.

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