Hearing will focus on light rail vehicle shortage and lack of reliability, as well as Muni's plans to keep these vehicles running until the arrival of the next generation of light rail vehicles
San Francisco, CA - Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener will call for a hearing on the state of Muni's light rail vehicles (LRVs) - including the existing vehicle shortage and lack of reliability - as well as Muni's plans to keep the light rail fleet viable and improve reliability over the next number of years through the arrival of the new Siemens light rail vehicles.
The Board of Supervisors recently approved purchase of the Siemens vehicles - eventually leading to nearly double the vehicles as well as vehicles that are much more reliable - but those vehicles won't begin to arrive for several years, and it will take 15 years for the entire fleet to roll out. In the meantime, Muni will continue to operate its existing Breda fleet, which is one of the major sources of reliability problems in the system, given design defects and frequent breakdowns.
"We all eagerly await the next generation of light rail vehicles - since we will have more vehicles and more reliable vehicles - but we won't have these trains tomorrow," said Supervisor Wiener. "It's not enough to promise high-quality light rail service for some point in the future. Muni riders need to have confidence that we have a plan to keep our current fleet working and meeting the public's needs. Current light rail service isn't acceptable. There isn't enough service, we see enormous and unsafe over-crowding, and vehicles break down way too often. We need to know what Muni is doing to improve this situation and how the agency intends to get us over the hump to the next generation of vehicles."
The $1.2 billion contract approved by the Board of Supervisors authorizes the purchase of up to 260 light-rail vehicles from Siemens Rail Systems. The initial purchase will bring in 175 light rail vehicles with a city option to buy another 85 vehicles. Delivery of the first new vehicles will begin at the end of 2016, with these initial train cars slated for the Central Subway (the T line). The rest of the fleet will roll in over the ensuing decade, with vehicles coming on line to gradually replace the existing light-rail vehicle fleet made by Italian manufacturer AnsaldoBreda. This roll-out will be gradual over the next 15 years.
The hearing will take place at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee of the Board of Supervisors later this fall.