Thirty aging diesel SamTrans buses are set to be replaced with 20 battery electric buses (BEB) and 10 Hydrogen-fuel cell electric buses (FCEB), a move that will get the transit agency to full conversion by 2034, or four years earlier than previously planned, and six years before the state-mandated conversion in 2040.
Recently, the SamTrans Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a $13.9 million contract with New Flyer of America for the FCEBs and a $22.8 million contract with Gillig LLC of Livermore for the BEBs. The new buses are expected to begin service in 2023. The purchases are fully funded by federal, state and SamTrans sales tax funds, according to SamTrans.
The new buses will replace the 2009 40-foot diesel buses, some of the oldest in the SamTrans fleet. They can carry about 38 seated passengers with up to an additional 18 standing, and will have USB charging ports on all double seats, a low-floor design that will have buses equipped with ramps rather than lifts, and Q-Pod wheelchair restraint systems to secure wheelchair users that are easier for operators and have more safety features.
Photo courtesy of SamTrans