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About Trolley Buses
Trolley buses (also known as "trolley coaches" or "trackless trolleys") are rubber-tired vehicles with motors powered by electricity from overhead wires. "Trolley" refers to the trolley poles on the roof of the bus that are used to transmit the electricity from the overhead wires. Thus, "Electric trolley bus" is a redundant term, but must be used occasionally to differentiate real trolley buses from the faux trolley cars and cable cars that are actually small buses.
The first trolley bus service in this country was in Hollywood's Laurel Canyon in 1910. Trolley buses began operating on Staten Island, New York, in October 1921, and in Philadelphia in October 1923. Philadelphia has had continuous trolley bus service since that time.
Although their operations are less flexible than that of motor buses, trolley buses are more energy efficient, much quieter, and much less polluting. Also, they operate better on hills, require less maintenance, and are longer lasting than motor buses. Modern trolley buses have an auxiliary power unit (APU), which allows the buses to travel off-wire for several blocks and avoid anything blocking their normal route, such as an excavation in the street or a street fair. The use of trolley buses is generally restricted to lines on which a high-enough frequency of service can justify the expense of the electric power system installation and vehicle costs.
San Francisco has the largest trolley-bus fleet of any transit agency in the U.S. and Canada. San Francisco's trolley buses (as well as its streetcars and the cable motors for the cable cars) are almost entirely pollution-free, since their electric power comes from the city's hydroelectric Hetch Hetchy Water & Power Project. For many people, trolley buses' quieter, cleaner service outweighs the unsightliness of the overhead wires necessary for their operation.
Munis Current Fleet:
344 Electric Trolley Buses:
Muni's Future Fleet:
16 Routes; in addition, Muni is looking at plans to convert some diesel lines to electric trolley buses.
333 Trolley Buses:
Electric Transit Inc. (ETI), holds the contract to manufacture trolley buses for Muni.
ETI has a 3-step manufacturing process that begins in the Czech Republic, moves to Hunt Valley, Maryland, and ends at Pier 15 in San Francisco:
Prototypes: Two 40 Standard Prototypes and one 60 Articulated Trolley Bus Prototype completed 9,000 - 12,000 miles of prototype testing on 17 Muni routes in San Francisco in 1999 - 2002.
Production delivery schedule:
2001 - 2003.
Total Project Budget for ETI trolley buses and Facilities Modifications is $234,504,193-- funded by federal (81.5%), state (5.2%) and local (13.3%) sources.
New Passenger-Focused Vehicle Features
New Operator Safety and Convenience Features
Technical Specifications of New 40-foot Standard Trolley Buses
Other Technical Information
For Muni route, schedule, fare and accessible services information anytime: Visit www.sfmta.com or call 311.
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