Muni to add 40 new trains to light rail fleet

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee along with city officials announced Tuesday that Muni’s new fleet of trains is already expanding with an additional 40 light rail vehicles.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors had originally approved the $648 million contract for 175 trains from Siemens Industry Inc. last year with two options to purchase an additional 40 and 45 light rail vehicles.

Last week the SFMTA board approved to proceed with purchasing the additional 40 light rail vehicles.

Lee said in a statement the expansion will help improve Muni service while The City’s population continues to grow:

“Expanding the fleet will make our City’s public transportation system more reliable, safer, easier to maintain, and ready to meet the demands of a growing City and growing ridership.”

SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan said that the new trains will last 10 times longer than Muni’s current fleet of Breda light rail vehicles and will fail less often:

“The existing LRVs have failures every 5,500 miles. Conversely, the new trains are projected to travel up to 59,000 miles before the first needed repair.”

The additional 40 light rail vehicles will cost $210 million. He said the SFMTA will seek $153 million in funds from California’s cap-and-trade program and $57 million from the transit agency.

If the SFMTA is not able to secure the cap-and-trade funds, Lee said the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the agency that plans and funds transportation projects for nine Bay Area counties — is expected to partner with the SFMTA to bridge the gap in funds needed to purchase the additional vehicles.

The transit agency recently completed an online and in-person survey on what riders would like to see on the inside and outside of the trains last December.

Muni buses are also in the process of replaced with newer vehicles. The transit agency said it plans to replace its entire rubber fleet by 2020.

Siemens will manufacture the new trains in their plant in Sacramento. The new trains will begin arriving in 2017, according to the transit agency.