It’s here, and it’s real: the first of a new generation of light rail trains have arrived in San Francisco, marking a huge milestone for the fleet that will play a major role in transforming the Muni Metro riding experience in the years to come.
With Cap-and-Trade funding from CalSTA’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is purchasing eighteen new light rail trains moving the agency one-step closer to fulfilling its “Transit Capacity Expansion Program.”
As ridership is expected to grow 40 percent over the next two decades, SFMTA is working to replace old light rail trains and expand its fleet. By providing an attractive alternative to commuting alone, transit options can help drive smart growth and development near transit corridors. The new trains are also better for the environment, reducing transportation-related emissions, the State’s largest source of GHGs.
The first of these state-of-the-art trains went into service in November 2017 with the remaining cars expected on city streets by the end of 2018. Passenger feedback is overwhelmingly positive as riders are excited about the spacious layout, the smooth, quiet ride and new features such as improved lighting, more signage, and better climate control.
“An incredible amount of work went into making sure these vehicles are going to work for us in San Francisco – for our riders, for our hills, for our environment on the streets,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation at the SFMTA. “So much detail went into making sure that we’re really going to get the performance, the comfort, the safety that we want in our system.”
SFMTA’s “Transit Capacity Expansion Program” includes replacing 151 existing light rail vehicles, and expanding its fleet by 64 light rail vehicles, for a total of 215 new light rail vehicles overall. Siemens is manufacturing the vehicles at a solar-powered facility in Sacramento. The purchase is one of the largest light rail procurements in U.S. history.