The buses being retired were in service for more than two decades and accounted for 40 percent of systemwide delays, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Considered the backbone of Muni, the vehicles carry 200,000 riders daily on 14 lines, including 1-California, 5-Fulton, 14-Mission and 30-Stockton, which alone transports 32,000 passengers per day. More than 300 trolley buses, which operate greenhouse gas-free, are due for replacement.
“By investing in new, high-performing, quiet and green electric trolley vehicles, we are able to provide better options for moving around The City,” SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said in a statement.
The nearly $95 million purchase from New Flyer, which has previously done business with the SFMTA, was approved by the SFMTA board and Board of Supervisors.
It will be funded through federal and state money as well as local Proposition K funds.
“We’ll see the first trolley coach in January 2015,” said John Haley, transit director for the agency.
To speed up the purchasing process, the SFMTA entered a bid for the vehicle contract with New Flyer and King County Metro in Washington state.
King County Metro assigned 240 standard and 93 articulated bus options under an existing contract with New Flyer.
In purchasing the 60 buses, the SFMTA negotiated a separate agreement with New Flyer that considered details such as seat material, door sizes, color scheme and training.