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Release date: September 2004: Muni to Acquire Hybrid Buses

*** Press Release ***

September 8, 2004

Muni to Be First Transit Agency in California to Acquire Buses With Latest Hybrid Bus Technology

At yesterday's regular board meeting, the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board of Directors approved a Request for Proposals (RFP) from bus manufacturers that will result in the acquisition of a fleet of diesel-electric hybrid buses for the Municipal Railway (Muni).

Muni will be the first California transit agency to buy buses with the latest hybrid bus technology, taking advantage of new California Air Resource Board (CARB) regulations that Muni worked hard to have implemented.   This technology has recently been adopted for the bus fleets of transit agencies in other major cities in the U.S., including New York City, Boston, and Seattle.

MTA Executive Director Michael Burns states, "Muni is poised to be the first major multi-modal transit agency in the world to be emissions-free by 2020, and hybrid buses are an important step toward that goal."   Muni's Zero Emissions 2020 Plan, presented to the MTA board earlier this year, calls for Muni to establish an all-electric drive fleet that includes hybrid buses, battery buses, and fuel-cell buses by 2020.   The acquisition of the diesel-electric hybrid buses is in accordance with the plan, and will allow the removal of the oldest diesel buses from Muni's fleet.

The RFP will be for 56 40-foot hybrid buses with an option for 56 more.   In addition, an option for 40 30-foot hybrid buses may be included, depending upon the results of investigations of the latest advances in hybrid-bus technology.

The vehicles will be low-floor buses and will meet all of the accessibility specifications under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.   The new buses are intended to replace the 1988 and 1989 New Flyer 40-foot buses and the 1990 Orion 30-foot buses that are now in Muni's fleet.

The RFP will ask that a prototype vehicle be available by June 2005, with actual vehicle delivery from the second half of 2006 through early 2007.

In 2001, Muni began an Alternative Fuels Pilot Program that identified diesel-electric hybrid buses as the most promising new bus technology for San Francisco's challenging operating environment.   Hybrid buses performed better than buses using other alternative-fuel technologies when tested under normal operating conditions in San Francisco, which include steep hills, frequent starts and stops, and heavy passenger loads.   Also, industry experience has shown that hybrid buses are more reliable than buses using other alternative-fuel technologies.

The acquisition of the hybrid buses is also consistent with Proposition I, approved by San Francisco's voters this March, which mandates that Muni remove the diesel buses from its fleet that were purchased before 1991, and replace them with CARB-certified buses.

The diesel-electric hybrid buses will significantly reduce both NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and PM (particulate matter) emissions, while also reducing fuel consumption.   It should also be noted that the reduced fuel consumption and increased reliability of a hybrid bus are likely to result in lower total maintenance costs over the life of hybrid bus, in comparison with the total maintenance costs of a standard diesel bus.


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