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VIDEO: Here Come the New 40’ Trolleys

By 
Friday, February 9, 2018

While our brand new LRV 4 trains are getting a lot of attention for adding a little sparkle to the Muni rail lines, our rubber tire bus riders will soon notice brand new 40’ trolleys rolling down the streets of San Francisco. All of Muni’s current standard-length 40-foot trolley buses (which you may know by the trolley poles that attach them to overhead wires) are on routes like the 1 California and 24 Divisadero and will be replaced with a new fleet by 2019. The first arrived earlier this week and is currently undergoing testing before rolling onto the streets. These new trolley buses, just like the nearly 300 currently in the fleet, are completely electric and make up the largest electric bus fleet in the nation.

New 40' trolley getting ready to hit the streets.

The older fleet of trolley buses, which first debuted in 2001, needs to be replaced more than any other fleet of Muni vehicles. They’re overdue to be retired, and finding replacement parts to maintain them can be a challenge since the manufacturer, Electric Transit, Inc. (ETI), has been out of business since 2004. These new trolley buses will help us meet our goals of making Muni more reliable, safer, and quieter for our neighborhoods.

New 40' trolley getting ready to hit the streets.

Right now, about 40 percent of Muni breakdowns occur on ETI trolley buses, even though they only make up 20 percent of Muni’s fleet. Also worth mentioning-- they lack the ability to travel “off-wire” for very long, delays on their routes can be especially disruptive.

New 40' trolley getting ready to hit the streets.

That’s where our new fleet comes in. All of Muni’s new buses – hybrid-electric and electric trolley – are manufactured by New Flyer, which has a strong track record in the U.S. of providing reliable buses with state-of-the-art technology that streamlines maintenance. These new 40’ trolleys feature a much-needed upgrade in battery power with its ability to travel “off wire” for greater distances. The old trolleys can only track a few blocks, at most, without tapping into wire from overhead lines. Our 40 foot New Flyer trolleys can travel several miles without the wires at up to 40 mph. Another new feature includes the ability for operators to press a button from their seat to re-attach trolley poles to the wires in the event they detach. These new features are crucial and will be a big time-saver in the event of construction, a street blockage, or power outage.

Coming to a line near you:

Muni’s Trolley Bus Routes: 1 California, 2 Sutter, 3 Jackson, 5 Fulton / 5R Fulton Rapid, 6 Haight/Parnassus*, 14 Mission, 21 Hayes, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 30 Stockton, 31 Balboa, 33 Ashbury, 41 Union, 45 Union-Stockton, 49 Van Ness/Mission*

*Currently served by hybrid-electric buses due to construction.

You can check out our video tour of the new 60’ trolleys that are already on the streets on our Youtube page.

Here Come the New 40’ Trolleys