SamTrans to purchase 30 zero-emission buses

Posted: 10 June 2022 | | No comments yet

A combination of battery electric and hydrogen-fuel cell electric buses, the new vehicles will support SamTrans to transition to a 100 per cent zero-emission bus fleet by 2034.

SamTrans zero-emission buses

Credit: SamTrans

SamTrans has announced that its Board of Directors have voted to replace 30 diesel buses with 20 battery electric buses (BEB) and 10 hydrogen-fuel cell electric buses (FCEB). This purchase helps accelerate the transport agency’s planned full conversion of the fleet from a projected 2038 to 2034.

SamTrans will be introducing a mix of BEB and FCEB at the launch of its zero emission bus (ZEB) fleet deployment in order to assess how the two technologies perform under different conditions and which buses better serve which routes. This will also allow the agency to asses what it would require to meet the different buses infrastructure needs. Ultimately, SamTrans will develop a plan for the full ZEB conversion of its fleet by 2034, six years before the state mandated conversion in 2040.

Fully funded by a combination of federal, state and SamTrans sales tax funds, the new buses will replace the 2009 40-foot diesel buses – some of the oldest vehicles in the SamTrans fleet. In order to ensure continued reliable service for passengers and compliance with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) guidelines, the diesel buses are due for replacement as they have reached the end of their useful life.

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The new 40-foot buses will be used throughout the SamTrans service area and can carry approximately 38 seated passengers with up to another 18 riders standing. Like all of the agency’s buses, the new buses have priority seating for seniors and people with mobility constraints, in addition to exterior bike racks that can accommodate up to three bikes.

Furthermore, the new buses will have USB charging ports on all double seats to enhance the customer experience. The buses will have disc brakes, as they require less maintenance and upkeep. The buses have a low-floor design, which will mean that they will be equipped with ramps rather than lifts, and Q-Pod wheelchair restraint systems to secure wheelchair users that are easier for operators and include additional safety features beyond the existing ratchet-based system.

SamTrans expects the buses to begin service in 2023.