June 20, 2013

S.F. Muni rolls out New Flyer hybrid buses

As part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) plan to replace the entire bus fleet over the next five years, the agency began rolling out 62 low-floor biodiesel-electric hybrid buses from New Flyer Industries.

To expedite the purchasing process, the SFMTA joined a current, competitively bid vehicle contract with the State of Minnesota. The total vehicle cost will be approximately $33.8 million or $752,000 per vehicle. These new vehicles will replace 13-year-old buses currently in service.

In addition to standard safety and customer service features, such as the digital voice announcements, the new Muni hybrid buses feature a 15-inch low-floor design for easier boarding. They also have graffiti-resistant seating material, a contactless rear door system, more hanger straps for standing customers and a new feature: all-door boarding exterior buttons that allow customers to open the back doors to board.

Like all of Muni’s non-electric vehicles, these biodiesel-electric hybrid buses use B-20 fuel and a fuel treatment that allows the emissions to burn hotter and cleaner. The batteries on these hybrids use the vehicle’s power to restore energy to the battery pack, thereby using less fuel and reducing emissions. All interior and exterior lighting on these buses is provided by more efficient and cost-effective LEDs. The biodegradable coolant is synthetic and not petroleum-based.

The buses are made, wherever possible, from composite materials, which are lighter and stronger than traditional materials. For example, the floors are made of a composite material that absorbs no water rather than marine-grade plywood.

The New Flyer hybrid buses are also among the first in Muni’s fleet to be outfitted with the transit system’s new state-of-the-art onboard surveillance system. The new digital video recording system allows staff to review, investigate and download data from a moving or stationary vehicle within the Wi-Fi catchment area and auto-archive relevant information. A key feature is the ability to remotely monitor the system to ensure that all aspects are working properly.

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