It has been quite a while since we’ve received new buses, especially a new model, here in Metro Vancouver. This past Monday, the newest buses of the fleet, New Flyer Xcelsior XDE60s, commenced revenue service on the #49.
West Vancouver also has some Xcelsiors, but they are the 40 foot diesel versions as shown on the right. They have been in service since January.
According to New Flyer, Xcelsiors boast several advantages such as better fuel economy, streamlined design, and a better experience for both the driver and passengers.
These new buses look a lot sleeker than their predecessors, however I would have personally preferred the “charcoal top” version of the livery.
On the inside, there are a few differences in comparison to existing buses. TransLink made an excellent decision in bringing back push bars to activate the rear doors. In the past few orders, buses were fitted with ultrasonic sensors to activate the rear doors. From personal observation, many passengers had difficulty activating the sensors to open the door. Also, doors wouldn’t close because people were standing too close to the door, although they were not obstructing the door in any way. The return of the push bars should solve these problems.
There are no more seats in the articulation joint. Buses used to have double seats (in the oldest models), or “bum bars” that were later converted into single “angel wing seats”. Now there’s a nice stanchion on both sides that better allow standees and people moving across the joint.
There are rear-facing seats right before the articulation joint. Considering you aren’t sitting directly in front of someone, I’d say this is fine, although I prefer the bench seating in the old models. It seems like the wheel well on these new buses are wider (but why?).
The Xcelsior buses are air-conditioned, which is a first for urban buses in Metro Vancouver. The only other buses in the fleet that are air-conditioned are the Orion suburban highway coaches.
There are 25 of these articulated Xcelsior buses and they are assigned to the Richmond depot. This means you will likely find them on the #49, #480, #403 and #620 in the near future.
The shorter versions of the buses are in West Vancouver, and you can find them now on a variety of West Vancouver routes.
Check out my Facebook album if you want to see some other photos.