San Franciscans will be able to enjoy brand new light rail vehicles later this year, when the San Francisco Municipal Railway is set to debut it’s fleet of state-of-the-art trains, Muni officials announced today.
During a preview at the Muni Metro East Maintenance Facility, located at 601 25th St., Muni officials along with Board of Supervisors President London Breed unveiled a train from the new fleet.
The trains, which are being built in Sacramento by Siemens Manufacturing, are equipped with features that are meant to provide a more comfortable, reliable and rider-friendly experience, Muni officials said.
New features include wider aisles thanks to longitudinal seating, meaning more room for strollers, leaning pads and extra seats for disabled riders. The trains can also fit up to 20 more people than the current trains, according to Muni.
Other features include sturdier doors and steps, as malfunctions on the two areas are the biggest reason for delays on the current system, said the SFMTA. Safety improvements include shortened brake distance and improved visibility for drivers.
Additionally, brighter and easier to read destination signs can be seen from as far as 200 feet away, according to Muni officials.
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“The Muni metro is really the backbone of the Muni system that moves more than 100,000 people everyday, it’s really the core of the system and yet the vehicles that comprise the main metro are a little tired,” Muni’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said.
Reiskin added, “We have an insatiable demand for light rail in this city and this is the first of 64 cars that are going to be added to our fleet of 150. A significant expansion of light rail capacity, and not the old tired car, but brand new cars.”
The new trains are currently undergoing testing, which is scheduled to last about seven months. After that, the trains will be introduced to the public by late summer, according to Muni officials.
— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) January 13, 2017
Above, the SFMTA tweeted a video of the new “train,” more accurately a light rail vehicle, rolling on San Francisco trackways.
With the new trains, Muni hopes to eventually expand its fleet by more than 70 percent. According to Reiskin, Breed was a big supporter of the new trains, and he cited her involvement in securing a contract worth $1.2 billion for acquiring the new fleet.
“We know that as this city grows, as more people are living here, as more people are relying on our public transportation system we have an obligation as a city to make sure it is one of the best public transportation(systems) in the country,” Supervisor London Breed said, adding “Sadly, currently, our trains are breaking down on a regular basis, and that is unacceptable. This is why we needed these trains and we need them now. The current trains have to be repaired almost every 5,000 miles. These trains won’t need to be repaired for over 49,000 miles. What a significant difference.”