MTS ordered the cars in 2016 and transit agency officials expect Siemens to deliver the remaining 44 over the next two years. Nine of the new cars will upgrade service on the Blue, Green and Orange lines. The other 36 will operate on the planned 11-mile UC San Diego Blue Line Mid-Coast extension, scheduled to be completed in 2021.
The new cars include vinyl upholstery rather than the previously used cloth for easier cleaning, low floors, a redesigned middle section for better passenger flow and wheelchair access and the relocation of operational equipment for easier maintenance. MTS plans to test and certify the cars before they enter operation as early as December.
Siemens, a major supplier of light-rail vehicles in North America, has delivered a total of 244 trolley cars to MTS since the trolley system’s launch in 1981.
“These vehicles represent the true partnership that exists between MTS and Siemens,” said MTS CEO Paul Jablonski. “We worked closely over the last two years to ensure that these vehicles meet the needs of our system, and our riders, once Mid-Coast becomes operational.”
Nearly 86 million riders used MTS services in fiscal year 2018. MTS estimates that the new cars will result in a ridership increase of roughly 11.3 million per year on the blue line extension.
–City News Service