San Carlos, Calif.’s SamTrans Board of Directors approved the purchase of 55 heavy-duty clean-diesel New Flyer buses at its February Board Meeting. The purchase of $48.9 million buses, which is primarily funded by the Federal Transit Administration, allows for the replacement of 55 2002 model articulated buses that have exceeded their useful life under FTA regulations.
The new vehicles will be 60-foot, Xcelsior low-floor articulated buses. They are more environmentally friendly than the older models in the fleet, producing 87% less nitrogen oxides and at least a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency. Battery-powered buses were considered, but it was determined that current technology did not fully meet the duty-cycle of performing the ECR route that these buses are intended for. The new buses also will offer riders Wi-Fi capability and USB charging stations on board.
Staff informed the board that this is intended to be the last diesel bus purchase that SamTrans will make because the Transit District would eventually like to convert its current fleet to electric buses in the future. The District plans to submit an order for 10 40-foot battery-electric buses later this year.
“These buses will ensure our riders can travel comfortably and efficiently along El Camino Real” said Board Chair Charles Stone. “Now we must prepare our infrastructure for the next generation of zero emission vehicles so we can continue to move SamTrans in a greener direction.”
The buses are expected to be ready to begin service in late summer of 2019.