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Muni mulls pure electrics for short bus refresh

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Muni mulls pure electrics for short bus refresh
Muni's 30-foot Orion hybrid buses first arrived in 2007 and are nearing the end of their scheduled service window.

Muni’s 30-foot diesel hybrid coaches are nearing the end of their useful lives and are in need of replacement, San Francisco transit officials say.

A staff report from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says the current buses last for 10 years or 350,000 miles. The buses will reach the 10-year mark by the end of the year and some buses will surpass the 350,000 miles traveled by the end of year too.

According to the staff report, the transit agency will consider proposals that include hybrid diesel or electric propulsion systems. If an electric propulsion is chosen, the request for proposals calls to include charging stations for the buses are part of the final contract.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency currently has 30 of the small Orion buses operating on community routes such as the 35-Eureka, 36-Teresita, 37-Corbett, 39-Coit and 56-Rutland.

Last Tuesday, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved a request for proposals to replace the transit agency’s oldest diesel hybrid fleet of buses. The buses began in service in 2007.

The buses suffer from an increase of maintenance issues, which has led to a decrease in reliability with an average distance between failures of 4,000 miles, according to the SFMTA.

The SFMTA estimates the total budgeted cost of the project at $45 million.

The final contract will need approval from the SFMTA Board of Directors and from the Board of Supervisors.

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