Public transport in South Korea, could be set to take on a whole new look with theintroduction of British-style double deck buses.

The move follows a decision by GyeongGi Provincial Government to trial double deck vehicles similar to those used in London and Hong Kong, as part of a bid to alleviate overcrowding for commuters traveling between Seoul and its surrounding suburban areas.

The first stage of the trial started on Monday, December 8, and will run through until December 31. During this time a high-capacity, low-emission Enviro500 double deck bus – built by British company Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) – will operate on inter-urban routes between Suwon and Sadang; Namyang and Jamsil; and Gimpo and Seoul Station.

Paul Davies, Director and General Manager of ADL’s operations in Asia Pacific, commented: “We are delighted to be working with GyeongGi Provincial Government, GyeongGi Research Institute and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to determine the suitability of double decks for these important commuter routes. We know from the vast number of ADL double decks operating successfully in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, across North America, and of course in the United Kingdom, that they provide a unique transport solution.

“In general, they have the same ‘footprint’ as a conventional single deck bus but are capable of carrying twice as many seated passengers, comfortably and safely. They are also highly manoeuvrable, fuel efficient and hugely popular with passengers. It is a proven fact that the introduction of double deck buses increases passenger numbers, boosts revenue earnings and contributes to reduced traffic congestion.”

The Governor of GyeongGi Provincial Government, Mr Nam Gyung-Pil, stated: “We are delighted to have the Enviro500 here to thoroughly evaluate this vehicle on our roads and with our passengers.  From my initial journey on the bus on Sunday, I am certain the commuters travelling to Seoul will appreciate the increased capacity of this vehicle which will minimise their wait time and get them to their destination quicker, as well as the high level of comfort and the views from the upper deck.  The low floor access will revolutionise public transport for wheelchair passengers.”

Mr. Davies added: “This is an exciting time for ADL. We have been working extensively in global markets and are now seeing more and more transport authorities and bus operators recognising the advantages and commercial benefits of well thought-out double deck routes, both for inner-city and inter-urban commuter operations. In short, double decks simply make sense.

“Our next-generation Enviro500, which has enjoyed unprecedented success since its launch just two years ago, is low-entry and has wide aisles, making access easy for both the elderly and mothers with young children. Couple this with its in-service performance, which is second to none, and it is evident why the Enviro500 is the best-selling high capacity, three-axle double deck in the world.

“In the next few weeks we will learn from the forthcoming trials and work with the transport authorities and the provincial government to fine-tune and customise the perfect vehicle for Seoul and its surrounding suburban areas.”