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The first of a seven-strong fleet of double-decker CityCats will ply the Brisbane River before Christmas.
Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner allocated $30 million over the next four years to begin the construction of Brisbane's next generation of CityCats.
The first, now being built at Murarrie by Brisbane shipbuilder Aus Ships for a cool $3.7 million, will include "almost ceiling-to-floor" glass windows on the ground floor, a viewing area at the front for inside passengers and an open-air upper deck.
Brisbane councillors were told on Tuesday the CityCat would be in service before Christmas.
Cr Schrinner said the double-decker CityCats would take "river transport in the city to the next level".
"CityCats are an icon of the city, just like double-decker buses are an icon of London," he said.
"It won't be just one [double-decker]. One of them is under construction now and we have six more being ordered."
Brisbane has 21 CityCats: eight were built under former lord mayor Jim Soorley between 1996 and 1998, six between 2004 and 2009 and seven between 2010 and 2015.
Deputy mayor Krista Adams said travel website TripAdvisor rated catching a CityCat along the Brisbane River as the city's third most-popular attraction.
CityCat No.22 is the same length as the previous vessels - 27.2 metres - with a stairway at the rear to allow passengers to go to an upstairs deck, where there are 16 seats.
The ground-floor layout has been modified to include six wheelchair spaces including two spaces with outside access.
The view from downstairs will not be interrupted by the skipper's wheelhouse, which sits on the top level.
The downstairs level includes a lounge area at the front and a "kiosk" at the rear, where staff will check and sell tickets.
Bathrooms on the vessels have been enlarged.
The CityCat's frame is finished, outfitting has started and the motor has been added. Other electrical work, gearboxes, CCTV equipment, Go Card facilities and the seating are being finalised.
Sea trials and training will be held before the vehicle is put into service.
Councillor Jonathan Sri asked about the feasibility of upstairs access for wheelchairs, but acknowledged significant improvements had been made for wheelchair access in the design.
Cr Adams said the design team had to include the need to be able to provide safe access from the CityCat in the case of an emergency, which made upstairs access complex.
She said that was one reason more glass was included downstairs, why a lower-level viewing area was installed and why dedicated wheelchair access points were being included.