Muni bumps order for brand-new buses

San Francisco is continuing its momentum in replacing its fleet of old and unreliable buses.

The Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors Tuesday approved a contract option to purchase an additional 152 40-foot hybrid buses and 113 60-foot buses from New Flyer America Inc., for $245 million between 2016 through 2019.

The original $68 million contract with New Flyer of America included purchasing 61 60-foot buses with options to purchase 200 additional standard vehicles and 163 articulated vehicles. The new total contract cost is now $412 million.

John Haley, SFMTA’s director of transit, said the transit agency is accelerating its purchase of new buses so that the Muni can meet in the increase service demands — especially with the number of special events in The City — and to improve Muni’s on-time performance.

The new buses have also helped reduce the number of buses breaking down, said Haley.

The transit agency has already exercised one of the purchase options this year, which included 48 40-foot buses and 59 60-foot buses.

The SFMTA has a funding shortfall to purchase the additional vehicles. It still needs $121 million to purchase the addition 265 buses.

Funding has already been committed from Proposition K ($64 million) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission ($46 million).

Haley said approving the contract option without having the full funding would not put the transit agency at risk. He said that if the funding was not identified, he would simply tell the manufacturer to stop production.

The transit agency is working closely with its funding partners to come up with the shortfall, said Haley. The contract will need approval from the Board of Supervisors.