Muni is aiming to have its newest hybrid buses on the road this summer as it moves to replace the remainder of its aging fleet, including coaches that have surpassed their useful lives.
Leading bus manufacturers New Flyer and Nova, along with a number of sub-suppliers for bus parts such as door systems, met with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials Monday to discuss bid proposals, due back July 31.
"We obviously want to maximize competition, but I think having these two firms who build the most buses in North America to compete, even if it's head to head, will be a good thing for us," SFMTA Transit Director John Haley said. "It doesn't preclude other people from bidding."
Up to 400 new hybrid buses -- 30, 40 and 60 feet long -- could be purchased to replace Muni's aging bus fleet within five years. The first to be replaced will be the 60-foot buses on lines like the 8X-Bayshore Express, which are 13 years old, a year over their useful lives. Those buses also were not rehabilitated at their midlife points.
The SFMTA hopes to have the first new buses in service by the end of this summer, Haley said, and 10 percent of the bid evaluation will be adherence to the manufacturing schedule.
"The best way is to replace a percentage of the fleet every year so all buses don't get old at the same time," he said. "So you're constantly renewing the fleet and doing midlife overhauls."
The buses will be purchased with a combination of federal and local funds, which already have been secured.