The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced a 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 more than 20 years old and account for 40% 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.”
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.
To expedite the purchasing process, the SFMTA joined a current, competitively bid vehicle contract with King County Metro in Washington and New Flyer. Under this agreement, King County Metro assigned 240 standard and 93 articulated option buses under their existing contract with New Flyer to the SFMTA.
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 funded through federal, state and local support, including Proposition K funds. The SFMTA expects to have a prototype on the road in 2015.