Purchase of New Electric Trolleys Approved by Board of Supervisors
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages the transportation network, today announced that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to authorize the acquisition of 185 40 foot trolley buses to replace Muni’s aging fleet. The new vehicles will replace buses currently in service that are over 17 years old and account for 40 percent of system wide delays, due to mechanical issues.
“We desperately need the new 40-foot electric trolley buses to improve the ride for passengers and the impacts on our environment,” said Board President London Breed. “These new buses will serve passengers on the city’s hilliest and busiest routes and will replace the oldest and most problematic buses in the system. We can’t have them on our roads soon enough.”
This is the most recent milestone for this procurement, which has received unwavering support from Mayor Ed Lee, the SFMTA Board of Directors, and the Board of Supervisors to improve the reliability of Muni by replacing and renewing the rubber tire fleet.
“Replacing aging vehicles is vital to Muni’s reliability and performance,” said SFMTA Chair Cheryl Brinkman. “This city deserves a safe 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.”
Electric trolley buses are rubber-tired vehicles with motors powered by electricity from overhead wires. Although their operations can be less flexible than that of motor buses, trolley buses are more energy efficient, much quieter and much less polluting. They are better on hills, require less maintenance and are longer lasting than motor buses.
“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.”
The approval by the Board of Supervisors culminates in the last of four bus procurements targeted to replace and expand our current fleet. Our first new vehicles entered service in 2013 and the last trolley in this purchase will arrive in 2019. The contract approved today concludes the largest zero emission procurement in North America and will provide new life to some of our largest passenger routes such as the 1 California, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 30 Stockton and 45 Union-Stockton. Muni’s trolley routes carry 200,000 riders a day, through some of the city’s hilliest streets and most dense neighborhoods. As battery technologies advance, the new vehicles position us to explore the potential of converting to an all-electric fleet. Key features include: air conditioning, generous seating and accessibility features, a more spacious interior design and key safety features including door and visibility improvements.
“This is a critical step in our overall program to improve service by upgrading our most visible assets: our vehicles,” said SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley. “We are replacing our oldest and most troublesome vehicles with new high tech vehicles while continuing our national leadership in reducing emissions and greenhouse gases.”
The SFMTA is aggressively pursuing replacement and rehabilitation programs on all its entire fleet of Muni 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 public transit system. By updating the bus fleet, the SFMTA is ensuring the city is preparing for economic growth while making sure the transportation system is accessible, equitable and sustainable.