VICTORIA -- BC Transit is issuing a warm farewell to Victoria’s original double decker buses, which were first introduced to the city 20 years ago and are reportedly the first double decker buses to ever be used in a North American public transit system.

Double decker buses were first added to Victoria’s bus fleet on Aug. 1, 2000. According to a new BC Transit video series – Tales from the Top Deck – one passionate bus driver was largely responsible for having double deckers brought into service.

Trev LeFeuvre, a former BC Transit operator in Victoria, says he remembers the predicament that BC Transit was in two decades ago. Ridership was increasing in B.C.’s capital city, but downtown blocks were too short to accommodate several high-capacity buses.

"I was happening to visit my family in the U.K. and double deckers were all over the place. So I said, 'Why can’t we have double decker buses?'" LeFeuvre explained in the video series.

The transit driver says he suggested the idea to management, who initially laughed at the proposal.

But LeFeuvre persevered, eventually leading BC Transit to bring North America’s first public double decker buses to Victoria.

"He was relentless at the general manager at the time. Almost daily," said BC Transit vice president of asset management, Aaron Lamb, in the video.

"That’s perhaps an understatement," added former fleet manager Alan White. "Probably without Trev, it never would have happened."

Since their introduction 20 years ago, Victoria’s original 10 double decker buses have carried more than 17 million passengers, and travelled more than 11 million kilometres combined.

One double decker bus, Bus 9004, has driven more than 1.2 million kilometres alone, or the equivalent of three one-way trips to the moon, according to BC Transit.

"It’s great to see the fact that they’ve lasted this long," said LeFeuvre.

Victoria’s 10 original double decker BC Transit buses are set to retire in early 2021. They will be replaced by new double decker buses in the future. BC Transit says the new two-storey buses will be packed with new features and that details will be rolled out in the months to come.

Of the original 10 double decker buses, one is being transferred to a transit museum in the U.S. The remaining nine are set to be dismantled and recycled.