These clean, friendly and easy to use buses also have world-class accessibility features to keep all San Francisco residents and visitors on the move. The new low-floor design, which has been improved from the first version of low-floor buses at Muni, means that the kneeling height of the floors is just 10 inches from the street. The front door ramps have a slope that is as flat as possible for easy maneuvering and is nearly level at the curb. The ramps can also be deployed manually if necessary. The rear-door widths of 41 inches will provide an additional option for those who can use the rear door to exit or board. In addition to these innovative features and wider internal space, these buses include Muni’s standard two staggered wheelchair securements. The internal LED destination signs and digital voice announcements help guide those who may need visual or auditory assistance.
The SFMTA Multimodal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) provided advice on the specifications and prototype for these buses. This community input has been crucial to improving the riding experience for our customers.
Better for Bus Operators
The new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses were designed in close coordination with Muni Operators, the men and women who provide Muni’s more than 200 million customer trips per year. The improved Muni Operator features include better work area ergonomics as well as more comfortable and adjustable seats. The steering columns on these new hybrids are integrated into the dashboards to allow for tilting and telescoping. This, along with adjustable brake and throttle pedals, provides for greater comfort and control. The powerful engines moving these buses will be able to sustain speeds of eight miles per hour on a continuous grade of 23 percent and 15 miles per hour on a 10 percent grade. With San Francisco’s notorious hills, that means greater power on the inclines and a smoother, less lurching ride for everyone on board. Finally, the over-raise feature gives these buses a lift on particularly steep hills to prevent them from bottoming-out.
In order to expedite the purchasing process, the SFMTA joined a current, competitively bid vehicle contract with the State of Minnesota. The vehicles specified under the Minnesota contract were updated to include features necessary for San Francisco’s unique operating environment and high passenger loads. The total vehicle cost will be approximately $33.8 million or $752,000 per vehicle and is funded through federal, state, and local support. These new vehicles will replace 13-year-old buses currently in service.
The SFMTA is aggressively pursuing replacement and rehabilitation programs on all buses, light rail vehicles, and historic streetcars. Within the next two years, SFMTA expects to purchase 60 articulated trolley buses to replace current 20 year old vehicles. These programs directly support the agency’s two-year budget, focusing on maintenance and infrastructure improvements.