A new initiative has been launched that could change the face of public transport across Mexico City and other Latin American traffic hot-spots. It came in the form of a low-emission double deck bus that is set to go into trials on the famous Reforma route and the old district. It is believed to be the first modern, air-conditioned two-tier transit bus to go into service in Latin America and transport executives across the continent will be watching the experiment with intense interest.

The double deck, which can carry over 120 passengers, is an icon of British technology and is part of the transport landscape in cities as far apart as London, Hong Kong and Singapore. More recently however, as authorities have aggressively tackled the twin problems of traffic congestion and air pollution, it has emerged as the backbone of fleets in New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto.

Viewing the double deck, Guillermo Calderón, Managing Director of Metrobus, said it was important to constantly seek new transport solutions with the potential to ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution and give passengers an exciting new experience. He commented that the Enviro500 double deck, built by British company Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), meets all of the criteria for a new-generation of transport and he looks forward to seeing the results of the month-long trial. The fact that it is lighter, more fuel efficient and has the same footprint as a conventional single deck – but carries twice as many people – explains the decision by the city authorities and Metrobus to put the double deck through its paces on the historic, inner-city section of the Reforma route.

Pleased to see the ADL double deck on Mexican soil, UK Ambassador, Duncan Taylor, stated: “The United Kingdom has a proud heritage in innovation and manufacturing from the automotive sector to advanced engineering and aerospace. Nowadays, British companies keep developing this legacy by means of developing pioneering products and technologies which are used around the world.”

Gustavo Marqueta, ADL’s Business Development Director, commented: “This is an exciting time for us. We have been working intensively in export markets for some years and have experienced a definite up-surge in interest surrounding double deck buses. We are delighted to be working on this ground-breaking partnership with Metrobus and the City, and I look forward to a positive outcome. In short, double deck buses simply make sense. They are now well beyond the novelty factor with transport authorities around the world recognising that they provide a unique, appealing transport solution – and one that generally increases passenger ridership and revenue.

“Our Enviro500 is also low-entry which makes access easy for both the elderly and mothers with young children. Couple this with the fact that the turning circle of the vehicle is best-in-class and it becomes evident why the Enviro500 is the best-selling high capacity, three-axle double deck in the world.” He added: “Our challenge now is to learn from the forthcoming trials and to work with Metrobus and others to fine-tune and customise the perfect vehicle for Mexico City.”