To celebrate SamTrans’ 40th Anniversary, we’ll be highlighting historical moments from 1976, the first year of the agency’s existence. Beginning in May 2016, the monthly series will examine a corresponding milestone that occurred four decades ago.

June 1976:

While SamTrans absorbed the fleets and infrastructure of 11 different bus agencies, that didn’t mean the fledgling Transit District had everything it needed for its official start of service on July 1, 1976.

Nope—the District still had to go out and buy some stuff before it could officially set up shop, and in June 1976, SamTrans began purchasing the equipment and vehicles it needed for service.

Burlingame Transit

With a fleet of buses, the District needed to make sure that the vehicles were maintained in a regularly-scheduled fashion. So, on June 23, the San Mateo County Transit District’s Board of Directors agreed to spend $34,537 to purchase various shop and garage tools from several local companies. With that procurement, the District’s mechanics were set up with the equipment necessary to detail the SamTrans bus fleet.

The District wasn’t done buying things that day, though. Also on June 23, the SamTrans’ board agreed to buy three more buses to help round out their fleet. The vehicles, purchased from Plaza Apartments, went for $2,700, $3,750, and $4,250, respectively. By comparison, the District recently spent $25.4 million on 40 brand new low-floor buses.

Yeah, things were a touch cheaper back in 1976, but not everything came at bargain basement price. Capping off a flurry of acquisitions on June 23, the District agreed to buy three mobile lift systems. Unlike the buses which they would serve, the mobile lift systems cost a pretty penny—$60,324, to be exact, or roughly five times the amount used to purchase the aforementioned three buses.

Still, that procurement needed to be made, and with those transactions, the agency was set and ready to begin service operations on July 1, 1976.

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