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First New Muni State-of-the-Art Train Makes Debut in Service

Friday, November 17, 2017

San Francisco— The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages the transportation network, welcomes Muni’s newest train into service in San Francisco, with new features that will make these trains more comfortable, reliable, and rider-friendly. These include a new seating configuration that will provide wider aisles for more capacity, better customer signage, quieter cars and improved design that will reduce delays.  This new car represents the first of more than 200 vehicles that will add more train service that will reduce congestion, improve service frequency and overall service for hundreds of thousands of daily riders.

The train rollout plan is ahead of schedule. The initial rollout plan specified that 24 trains would be in service by the end of next year and now the agency is currently on pace to rollout 68 new vehicles over the same period of time. The new trains will ultimately expand the fleet by 68 and then eventually replace it.

“With this critical investment, we are providing the people of San Francisco with a modern transportation network,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  “Our new and expanded fleet of light-rail vehicles will offer our passengers a safe and comfortable ride while supporting and connecting the growing communities of our City.”

This is the most recent milestone for this procurement, which has received unwavering support from Mayor Lee, the SFMTA Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors to improve the reliability of Muni by replacing and expanding the light-rail fleet.

“An incredible amount of work went into making sure these state-of-the-art, once-in-a-generation vehicles are going to work well for Muni riders for many years to come,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “When we initiated the contract, it was the largest light rail vehicle contract ever awarded in the United States and we are pleased that this project is ahead of schedule.”

The new Siemens-manufactured trains are sleeker, quieter and safer than the current train fleet. The new trains are also expected to be far more reliable, running an average of 59,000 miles without breakdowns, compared to less than 5,000 miles with our current trains. These trains also have far fewer mechanical parts within the doors and raising steps, which are the single biggest cause of delays in the Metro system. All of the trains are built locally at the Siemens plant in Sacramento, California.

The first vehicle enters revenue service a little over three years after the Siemens was provided their Notice to Proceed in September 2014. This represents an accelerated schedule, much faster than similar procurements which typically take four or five years to achieve the same milestone. The project team has also spent much of 2017 putting the first cars through a rigorous set of tests to make sure they perform as expected. This upfront time and effort will allow for an increased delivery rate and get the cars into service sooner than planned.

Features of the new state-of-the-art trains

  • New trains will eventually expand the fleet by more than 70 percent;

  • Significantly less malfunctions with doors and steps. These are the biggest reasons for delays on the current Metro trains, which have more than 200 moving parts;

  • Destination sign is visible from up to 200 feet away;

  • Space designed for strollers, leaning pads, and pull-down seats; and

  • Longitudinal seating allows for wider aisles to increase capacity, which was informed by public input.

Funding

  • The identified funds for this project include funding from FTA, Prop 1B, Prop K Transportation Sales Tax, TIRCP funds, future SFMTA revenue bonds, and other funds;
  • San Francisco Supervisors approved base contract for 175 vehicles ($648 million); and

  • Another 85 vehicles were approved for a total of $1.2 billion.

The first train to go into service will honor Larry Martin, a respected community leader with a distinguished legacy of civil rights and union advocacy for the people of San Francisco. He was a dedicated City employee whose career began at Muni in 1966. Along with acting as the President of the Recreation and Park Commission, Larry was a respected leader of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A and a pillar of San Francisco’s African-American community. His lifelong activism with the unions made him known to many as the “Members’ President.” He was a committed advocate whose impact will be experienced by San Franciscans for generations to come. A plaque was unveiled today on the inaugural light-rail vehicle in his honor.