A Transit RidersÝ Association for San Francisco

Box 190966, SF, CA 94119 ´ 415/273-1558 ´ www.rescuemuni.org

February 16, 2001

Chair and Members
San Francisco Board of Supervisors / County Transportation Authority
1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Members:

Rescue Muni urges you to vote to fully fund Muni's planned purchase of 175 new diesel buses. We strongly believe that this is the right choice, both for better transit service and for clean air.

Buying the buses is the right decision for service reliability. This purchase gets a similar number of old, severely polluting, unreliable buses off the streets 2-3 years sooner than does a purchase of CNG buses and fueling infrastructure. In addition, the cost savings of diesel over CNG allows Muni to run more service, thus reducing auto traffic and pollution more.

We agree with those advocating a CNG bus purchase that reducing pollution is important. However, Muni has a much better way to do this: extend trolley coach service. Trolley coaches are a 50 year old technology that Muni uses every day; they are zero emission (and use a renewable power source, Hetch Hetchy); and they are much quieter than motor coaches. We are urging the SFCTA and Muni to make a commitment to expand trolley-coach service as part of the plan to buy diesel buses.

In addition, according to Muni's analysis, the choice of "clean diesel" coaches (these buses, using low-sulfur fuel and with particulate traps added) will produce lower emissions over 15 years in three of four categories (particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide) and only slightly higher emissions in one category (NOx) in comparison with alternative-fueled buses. This is largely because Muni will be able to get the old, polluting buses off the street sooner - which is critical for service.

Muni's choice this month is really diesel or nothing. If Muni doesn't extend the Neoplan bus contract, we will have a minimum of 2-3 more years of poor service from some of the oldest buses in use anywhere in the United States. We feel very strongly that this would be an unacceptable choice - that it would "un-rescue" Muni by making service much worse (and contribute severely to air pollution). We urge you to choose better transit ˇ and cleaner air - over more delays.


Thank you very much,


Andrew Sullivan
Chair, Rescue Muni

cc: MTA Board of Directors; Muni Director Michael Burns