The transbay bus commute to San Francisco has now become smoother and more luxurious with the purchase of 54 state-of-the- art commuter-style coaches — the first 16 of which will begin service Nov. 8 with free Wi-Fi and comfy high-back seats.
Actually, AC Transit Board President Greg Harper and General Manager David Armijo chatted with Line E passengers on the coach’s inaugural run from Berkeley to San Francisco this morning, and, by all accounts, it was an enjoyable ride.
“These are great-looking buses and they offer a great way to get to work,’’ said Harper. “They are precisely what we hoped they would be. They are ideal for the transbay commutes.”
The dark green Gillig buses are the third in a series of locally-built coaches acquired as part of the agency’s “A Better Ride” campaign and its Buy American Goods policy. In March, 60 low-floor forty-foot Gillig buses were put into service. In June, 23 New Flyer 60-foot, articulated buses were added to the fleet. Now: the 16 commuter buses with 38 more due before spring.
The commuter bus’s low floor minimizes the potential for boarding missteps. Once aboard, passengers will enjoy high back upholstered seats, individual reading lamps, free WiFi, luggage racks and great views of the Bay.
What they won’t see are the advanced suspensions, steering, propulsion, and other chassis systems that have become the reliability hallmark of Gillig’s low floor urban buses. But riders surely will notice superb heating and ventilation to cope with the region’s temperature moods, and the front and back passenger doors for quicker access and egress.
Equally important, there is mechanical sameness that allows parts, training and preventative maintenance to be consistent with the other Gillig buses in the fleet.
Bottom line, it means fewer and faster repairs, more vehicles on the road providing service, enhanced on-time performance, less maintenance costs and, for our customers, A Better Ride.