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Monday, June 17, 2013

Muni Hybrid Bus Feted at Press Conference Immediately Conks Out

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 12:35 PM

click to enlarge No va... - @DSTEVENSONKTVU

It's traditional to christen a ship with a bottle of champagne. Not so with a Muni bus. Smashing bottles is a no-no, as is foamy, yellow liquid on the amenities.

Our city family today announced the introduction of 62 new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses, touting the graffiti-resistant surfaces and ease with which unwelcome moisture could be wiped away. You gotta admit, it's a handsome bus.

Then everyone loaded into the vehicle for a ride to City Hall. And, wouldn't you know it, the sucker didn't start.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the problem wasn't with the new bus, however, but a driver unused to said new bus. "This was an issue with the operator needing to learn how to use it."

That's a good sign. There's plenty of time for the operator to pick up this valuable new skill. And yet, it might have been good to do so before the big press conference touting this wondrous new bus.

Update, 1:59 p.m.: Rose says that the vehicle would not start because its back door was registering as being open. He is uncertain if the door actually was open. "We'll take a look at the remaining buses and make sure it's not an issue." The New Flyer hybrid electric buses cost about $700,000 a pop.

Update, 4 p.m. Rose confirms that the doors were not open, even though they registered as being open. Alas, this is a problem with a $700,000 brand-new device.

Rose says that maintenance personnel were able to tighten the bus' cables to remedy this situation with relative ease, and this fix will be made for all the new vehicles.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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