Calif.’s SamTrans Board of Directors voted to replace 10 diesel buses with Proterra battery electric buses. These new buses, along with the 25 hybrid buses already in service, are part of SamTrans’ effort to reduce its fleet’s emissions.
The $9.2 million purchase is fully funded by a combination of federal, state, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and SamTrans funds. The new buses will replace the 2003 40-foot diesel buses, some of the oldest vehicles in the SamTrans fleet. The diesel buses have reached the end of their useful life and are due for replacement to ensure continued reliable service for passengers and compliance with Federal Transit Administration and Metropolitan Transportation Commission guidelines.
The new 40-foot buses will be used throughout SamTrans service area and can carry up to 38 seated passengers with up to another 18 riders standing. Like all SamTrans buses, the new buses have priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities and exterior bike racks that can accommodate up to three bikes.
In addition, the new buses will have USB charging ports on all double seats. The buses will have disc brakes, which are becoming an industry standard as they require less maintenance and upkeep. The buses have a low-floor design, which will mean that the buses will be equipped with ramps rather than lifts, and Q-Pod wheelchair restraint systems to secure wheelchair users, which are easier for operators and include additional safety features beyond the existing ratchet-based system.
The board also voted to furnish SamTrans’ maintenance facilities with charging stations for the electric buses. These buses can be expected to begin service early in 2019.