Say Hello to Muni’s New Buses

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Muni’s brand new buses are rolling in. The first of the 62 low-floor, 40-foot long hybrid New Flyer Buses purchased by the SFMTA are being prepped at a Muni maintenance shop, as captured by Dave Longa on Flickr.

As we reported, the SFMTA plans to roll out 13 of these buses this month, followed by a roll-out of 5 buses per week from May through July, replacing motor coaches that have been in service in 1999. Not only should the low floors make the buses easier to board, but the biodiesel-fueled hybrid engines are expected to require far less maintenance than the old buses. That means Muni riders can look forward to some nice, clean vehicles and worry a little less about breakdowns making them late for work.

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  • CBrinkman

    Beautiful. And much easier for seniors and those with mobility challenges to use. Thanks for the picture!

  • Anonymous

    Otherwise very nice buses, the dual bike rack is still a major shortcoming for those of us with a multi-transport commute strategy. These racks often run full on several lines at peak hours.

  • Snazzier than AC Transit’s new ones. Throw em on the 43!

  • Anonymous

    Why only two doors?

  • At the minimum, these buses look tasteful and modern with aerodynamic appearance. It is better than the AC Transit’s Gilligs, which they’re making a great deal of (buy America!) even though they are not much different mechanically (regular diesel) and appearance-wise than those VTA purchased 11 years prior. SamTrans has Gilligs too but at least they have the aero appearance.

  • The same company sells a 3-bike capacity, too…

  • Michael Morris

    Maybe someone can give us an idea of which lines would get the buses? Looks like it’s not big enough for the 38 or 49 lines but would be great for packed buses like the 5, 30 and 22.

  • Mario Tanev

    It would also be good to know if the rear doors can finally open automatically without the driver having to force them using a special procedure.

  • Mario Tanev

    One thing nasty about these buses is that there is no rear window. It makes for a more cramped and gloomy experience inside the bus.

  • Anonymous

    A few on the F Line, joining the overcrowded streetcars that yes, locals who live in the North Waterfront area have to use, would be great.

  • Tony

    It’s not electric, so probably the 2, 28, 29, 43, 44, etc. Wonder how the seats are configured.

  • mikesonn
  • Good idea to show the inside — I added that on to the post.

  • Tony

    The side-facing destination sign is in an interesting spot. Hopefully the interior has a layer of graffiti proof coating, including windows. Let’s see how long they stay clean. Otherwise, pretty sleek looking.

  • Peter M

    Which yard are these buses going to? That determines which lines they’ll run on. If it’s Woods (Where the pictures where taken) they’ll run on the same lines that the other low-floor hybrids are already running on, or if it’s Kirkland (Where the buses they are replacing are) they’ll end up on the rest of the diesel lines like the 28, 43, and 47.

  • Anonymous

    I was just thinking about this the other day. It seems to me that now that we have all-door boarding, drivers should just be automatically opening the rear doors at all stops regardless (like they do in other cities), right? Or is some other wrinkle standing in the way of this?

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of which, does anyone actually like sitting in the side-facing seats? Of course we all do it because at the end of a long day, a seat is a seat. But especially on older buses, in bad traffic, when the driver is having a bad day, or on hills, I find myself smashing into my neighbor and/or getting quite an abdominal workout trying to sit up. I’ve never been through the process of laying out seats in a bus, so I’m guessing there are tradeoffs, but some days I long for a schoolbus with all the seats facing forward.

  • Mario Tanev

    On the current buses it’s not automatic – the bus driver needs to execute a special procedure that is different than opening the front doors.

  • Jack

    Drunk engineer this bus is 40ft long, it’s not long enough to have three doors

  • h. h.

    The AC transit Van Hools do, don’t they?

  • h. h.

    The AC Transit Van Hools do, don’t they?

  • Half the seats are reserved for seniors, disabled, etc. (whole lower level). Hmm…

  • Jim

    The 3-space rack extends too far out than legally allowed. Muni would need an exemption in the vehicle code to allow for a 3-space bike rack. GG Transit and a smattering of other transit agencies around CA have an exemption.

  • Jim

    The New Flyers will replace the Gilligs, which will allow for the NABIs to be placed into the reserve fleet.

  • Mario Tanev

    As far as I understand they are not exclusive. You’re supposed to stand up if a senior boards. I wouldn’t mind if all seats were that way, although that could actually have the opposite effect of fewer people surrendering their seats.

  • And the Gilligs were bought in to replace the 1987 New Flyers. I think that Muni would’ve kept those really old buses going except that at some elections SF voters passed a ballot measure to ban those buses with two stoke (dirty) diesel engines. The Gilligs from AC Transit had their original two stoke engines replaced sometime before arriving to Muni.

  • From a safety perspective, it is not as safe to use rear door for boarding if the front door can be used. So even with all-door boarding, the front door should be used first and the rear door if necessary. It would also if a slight deterrence for crime and fare evasion for routes with low ridership (and inspection).

    There’s no point to implement all-door boarding for routes that are not crowded, except that it is much preferable to have a single policy for every line rather than separate policies for different line categories.

  • AC Transit only had three doors for the first batches of Van Hools. Later AC bought redesigned Van Hools with only 2 doors, and now AC is buying Gilligs similar to what VTA had 11 years ago.

    The Buy America restriction pretty much has eliminated Van Hools from further consideration, even though Van Hools were able to produce “boutique buses” whereas American manufacturers are more like Walmart when it comes to product selection. Even so, 3 door buses often have seating and door arrangements uncommon to the rest of American made buses. Some people really dislike AC Transit’s 3 door Van Hools because most of the side seats (especially the front end) require a step up. Van Hool had to put the the fuel tank and other parts under the seats because the buses need low floor aisle all the way to the back of the buses. American buses just put them under the floor on the rear of the buses.

  • h. h.

    Ah, thanks for the explanation. I was wondering how those buses were configured. At first I thought perhaps they had flat mid-engines similar to the M.A.N. buses in the 1980s but that would not work either because of the low floor. Now I get it.

  • davistrain

    The interior color scheme reminds me of the 1939 Muni colors–as seen on streetcar 1010.

  • What they do is that they put the engine on the side instead of the center. In the early 3-door Van Hool, they put it on the left rear side. Later version (as well as all articulated), they put it in the center left side.

    American manufacturers once built full low floor buses (capable of 3 doors) too but have discontinued production. First is Novabus LFS (early version), and second is Orion VI. They all had rear side engines. I think the lack of popularity of 3 doors and maintenance issues pretty much led to their discontinuation early on.

  • Mario Tanev

    It’s not unreasonable to say that on uncrowded routes riders should board through the front. But 40′ doesn’t mean uncrowded. Rear boarding through 3 doors would help some crowded 40′ lines like 22, 24, 44, 28 (some of these are trolley lines but still 40′).

  • Mike


  • Anonymous

    The Orion Is were retired in large part because of cracked frames.

  • You’ll survive. I promise. 😉

  • Please put these on the 28 and 28L lines. I don’t understand how the 18 Parkmerced has nicer buses than the crowded 19th Ave buses!

  • Here is another example of the people who design the buses do not ride the buses. The seating layout is very poor. only wheelchair seating on the low floor area which has a narrow front door.The back door is difficult to use also and the control box behind the operator takes extra space as well as the space above the front wheels is not usable. its overall lines are very attractive, it is just what the engineers did with the inside.Just hope it has a quite and smooth ride.

  • cour

    these busses still stink. could have done better.

  • Ashrondli

    Buses drive around, Busses are kisses, so stinky kisses.

  • Ray H.

    I just saw these buses running on the 9L, 48, & the 16X lines earlier. So most likely the new coaches will probably run on the Muni lines along with the 2007 Hybrids as well. I got a feeling that these new buses aren’t going to run on the 2, 10, 12, 19, 28, 28L, 43, & the 47 lines as a majority of Muni passengers thought it would..

    Muni’s currently in the process of ordering new 60 foot trolley buses by the way.

  • J415

    These buses are you mentioned are at out of the Kirkland yard which only houses Neoplans and Nabis for now. I would hope they would replace those Nabis soon though

  • Bob

    NABI moved their production entirely to the U.S. So they are all American made now as well.


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