Muni orders 33 additional electric trolleys

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is purchasing an additional 33 articulated low-floor electric trolley buses to add to its growing new fleet of buses.

New Flyer of America Inc. will manufacture the additional 33 60-foot buses for the transit agency for the amount of $55.5 million. The SFMTA Board of Directors approved the contract at its regular Tuesday meeting.

Gary Chang, who is the project manager for obtaining the new buses, said the transit agency has already put in at least 300 new vehicles successfully into the system:

“In general, public has been very pleased with the performance of the vehicles and also the feedback we have been getting has just been, really happy with the performance.”

Chang said the completed delivery date for the additional vehicles will be by the end of next year.

He said the new vehicles that have been coming in will help Muni lower the average age of its fleet of buses and also provide a cost-effective maintenance program for the transit agency.

Another advantage of the new low-floor buses is ease of operating the wheelchair lift, said Chang:

“Because I recall when I first joined Muni back the in the 90s, actually the wheelchair lift is actually the very costly number one item to maintained for the labor and parts. With the simpler design of the wheelchair ramp, the general public really love it.”

This is also the first Muni bus with an air conditioning system, said Chang. The contract will need approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Chang said he will come back to the board in about another six months for the procurement of the 40-foot electric trolley buses.