OC Transportation Officials to Consider Double-Decker Buses - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

OC Transportation Officials to Consider Double-Decker Buses

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- It is not something you see on Delmarva, but you could see double-decker buses driving around in Ocean City if transportation officials are able to bring the idea to life.

When the buses, parked in the resort town's Public Works Complex, are out and in full operation, they will cover a lot of ground.

Ocean City's buses have been racking up mileage for years. According to George Thornes, the town's superintendent of transportation, Ocean City has 65 buses, with three that are paratransit.

"We get funding from the federal government and the state, and their limits are a minimum of 500,000 miles or 12-years-old on the heavy duty [buses]," Thornes said. He said 31 buses have surpassed the limit.

Transportation committee members have suggested the purchase of double-decker buses as part of a few upgrades for the system. The idea is very preliminary. Thornes said research on ridership, costs and other factors must be done first.

"We're going to have to make a determination: Do we have the money, capital wise, to purchase it? Do we have the money to operate it after we receive it?" he said.

According to Thornes, a full analysis of equipment will be conducted. In Fiscal Year 2014, Ocean City received $1,362,000 in grant money for three 40-foot diesel buses. The town received a second grant during Fiscal Year 2015 for the same amount. However, the money was not specific to the type of bus that could be purchased.

The Maryland Transit Administration once loaned the resort town six to 10 buses every summer, but that ended years ago.

Some people shared their thoughts with WBOC on the double-decker idea.

“It's probably going to be pretty weird at first, but everybody's going to get used to it,” said Randy Miller, who works in Ocean City. “It'll help a lot of people out."

"I think it would be great, but I think the prices would go up more to cover the cost of them,” said Paul Seeberger.

No decisions are final. The town's transportation committee will discuss the idea at its next meeting on April 7.

In the meantime, Thornes said the department is looking for new bus drivers. If the city moves forward with the plan, training will be provided on how to drive the double-decker buses.


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