The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced March 11 that the Notice to Proceed has been issued for the purchase of 60 new electric trolley buses from New Flyer Industries, following approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and SFMTA Board of Directors.
The new vehicles will replace buses currently in service that are over 20 years old and account for 40 percent of system wide delays, due to mechanical issues. Notice to Proceed allows the SFMTA to move forward with the first phase of upgrades to the trolley fleet, as there are more than 300 buses that need to be replaced over the next several years.
“Replacing aging vehicles will help improve Muni’s reliability and performance,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “San Francisco deserves a safe, reliable and affordable 21st Century transit system, and these sustainable upgrades will improve service for our City’s working families and workforce for many years to come.”
“Vehicle shortages and reliability are one of Muni’s main challenges in terms of providing dependable transit service. We need more vehicles, and we need to replace aging vehicles – many far past their useful life – with newer vehicles. This procurement is a key step in the renewal of our aging fleet,” said Supervisor Wiener, District 8.
Trolley buses are the backbone of the transportation system carrying 200,000 riders every day. They serve neighborhoods throughout San Francisco with 14 routes including the 1 California, 14 Mission, 5 Fulton and 30 Stockton, which alone carries 32,000 riders daily. Not only do trolley buses offer a smoother, quieter ride but they contribute zero greenhouse gases.
“The people of San Francisco deserve modern, reliable transportation services that support the quality of life and economic vitality of the city,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “By investing in new, high-performing, quiet and green electric trolley vehicles, we are able to provide better options for moving around the city.”
In order to expedite the purchasing process, the SFMTA joined a current, competitively bid vehicle contract with King County Metro in Washington State and New Flyer Inc. Under this agreement, King County Metro assigned 240 standard and 93 articulated option buses under their existing contract with New Flyer Inc. to the SFMTA. In order to make an initial purchase of 60 articulated trolley buses, the SFMTA has negotiated a separate agreement with New Flyer that takes into account specific needs such as: color scheme, seat material, door sizes, training and spare parts.
The total cost of the purchase is $94,950,444 and is funded through federal, state and local support, including Proposition K funds. The SFMTA expects to have a prototype on the road in 2015.
The SFMTA is aggressively pursuing replacement and rehabilitation programs on all buses, light rail vehicles and historic street cars. With more people travelling throughout the city on a daily basis, more stress is being placed on the outdated transit system. Programs like these will help update the fleet and accommodate plans for more development and growth in San Francisco.