Newsom unveils first bus in fleet
of hybrid MUNI buses
Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler.com
By Tamara Barak and Caitlin Cassady, Bay City
April 10, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency chief Nat Ford this morning unveiled
the first of what will be a fleet of diesel-electric hybrid Muni
"This is part of our effort to have a zero-emission fleet
by 2015. The hybrids are more fuel efficient, produce less emissions
and are less costly," than the 20-year-old diesel-powered
buses they will replace, Newsom said. More than half of Muni's
vehicles already run on electricity provided by overhead cables.
The new buses are in line with Proposition I, passed by San Francisco
voters in 2004. The law mandates that Muni replace diesel buses
that were purchased before 1991 with green powered vehicles.
The city will put about five hybrid buses into service each week
until it reaches its goal of 86 new vehicles.
The 30-foot and 40-foot buses feature larger passenger windows,
as well as low floors to accommodate disabled and senior citizen
boarding, according to Ford.
They will also feature cameras installed in the roof "to
deter improper behavior on the vehicle," Ford said.
The hybrid vehicles, which feature a small diesel engine that
powers an electric generator, will save about 20,000 gallons of
gas per vehicle each year, Ford said.
They will also save the city considerable money in maintenance
fees, as the hybrid buses are generally considered more reliable,
according to Ford.
Once all the buses are acquired, San Francisco's fleet of hybrid
vehicles will be the third largest in the U.S., Newsom said. New
York City, Boston and Seattle have also employed the technology.
Muni isn't the only city agency to overhaul its fleet to reduce
As of March 19, more than 400 garbage collection vehicles in
San Francisco had changed over to alternative fuels, according
to Norcal Waste System Inc. spokesman Robert Reed.
The alternative fuels cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5,400 tons
per year, a 21 percent decrease from when the trucks were using
The three companies that work under the umbrella of Norcal Waste
System Inc. - Sunset Scavenger, Golden Gate Disposal & Recycling
and S.F. Recycling & Disposal, Inc. - started experimenting
with alternative fuels in 2001 when they built a liquefied natural
gas filling station, Reed reported.
The pilot program for the alternative fuel fleet consisted of
eight transfer trucks and five collection trucks.
The remainder of the fleet was switched over in March and the
trucks run on liquefied natural gas or biodiesel B-20, a blended
fuel, which is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent low-sulfur
diesel, according to Reed.
In addition to Muni's efforts to go green, the transit system
is also attempting to become more user-friendly. Beginning today
at 5:30 p.m., the SFMTA will offer Fast Passes on its Web site.
For more information, log onto http://www.sfmta.com.
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