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Electric Transit, Inc.
Fate dissolved
Founded 1994
Defunct 2004
Headquarters Hunt Valley, Maryland, United States
Industry Transit
Products Trolleybuses

An ETI trolleybus in San Francisco

Electric Transit, Inc. (ETI) was a joint venture between the Škoda group in the Czech Republic and AAI Corporation in the United States which made trolleybuses for Dayton and San Francisco, constructing a total of 330 trolleybuses. ETI was formed in 1994, and ownership was divided as 65% by Škoda and 35% by AAI. The latter was a wholly owned subsidiary of United Industrial Corporation. Up to that time, Škoda had built more than 12,000 trolleybuses since 1935,[1] but none for cities outside Europe and Asia.

History and production

ETI's first trolleybus was Dayton 9601, model 14TrE.

The company was awarded its first contract in November 1994, when the Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority, of Dayton, Ohio placed an order for 63 two-axle trolleybuses.[2] The order was later reduced to 61 vehicles,[3] and ultimately to 57.[4] Three prototype trolleybuses were delivered in December 1995 and January 1996.[3] These were designated by ETI as model 14TrE, the E standing for "export", and were given fleet numbers 9601-9603 by MVRTA.[4] Following modifications to the design, construction of the 54 production-series ETI trolleybuses for Dayton took place in 1998-99. These were model 14TrE2 and were numbered 9801-9854 in MVRTA's fleet. Among the modifications were the moving of the wheelchair lift from the rear door to the front door, which necessitated widening the body from 98 in (2,500 mm) to 102 in (2,600 mm) and changing from a one-piece windshield to a two-piece one.[1]

An ETI 14TrSF trolleybus descending a hill in San Francisco

In July 1997, the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) contracted with ETI for the provision of 250 trolleybuses, comprising 220 ‘standard’/two-axle (40 ft (12 m)) and 30 articulated (60 ft (18 m)) vehicles.[5] ETI designated the two types for San Francisco as models 14TrSF and 15TrSF, respectively. In February 2000, Muni exercised contract options to purchase an additional 20 two-axle and three articulated vehicles. Two prototypes for the two-axle trolleybuses (numbered 5401-2) were received by Muni in January 1999 and June 1999, respectively, while an articulated prototype (No. 7101) was received in April 2000. The 238 production-series two-axle trolleybuses (Nos. 5403-5640) were delivered between May 2001 and early 2004. The production-series articulateds (7102-7133) were all delivered in 2003. All 273 of Muni's ETI trolleybuses had entered service by April 2004.[6]

With both the Dayton and San Francisco orders, the chassis/body-frame (or shell) and motors of each vehicle were fabricated at Škoda's plant in Ostrov nad Ohří, Czech Republic, then shipped to a facility in Hunt Valley, Maryland (near other AAI facilities) for initial fitting-out.[7][8] Except in the case of the prototypes, final fitting-out was undertaken in leased premises located in the two cities purchasing the vehicles, Dayton and San Francisco.

ETI originally was based in Dayton,[7] but after completion of the contract for that city, the Dayton office was closed and ETI moved its administrative office to Hunt Valley, sharing space with partner AAI there.

In 2003, ETI engaged in a competitive bidding for a large contract (245 trolleybuses) being offered by TransLink, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, but lost out to New Flyer Industries.[9] The joint venture did not seek any further new business, and in May 2004 it finalized an agreement with San Francisco Muni to transfer to Muni its remaining contractual obligations.[10]

See also

  • Trolleybus makers (list of current and former trolleybus manufacturers)
  • United Streetcar – another joint venture between Škoda and a U.S. company


  • Various issues, Trolleybus Magazine (ISSN 0266-7452). National Trolleybus Association (UK). Bimonthly.
  • Bushell, Chris (Ed.) (1998). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 1998-99 (ISBN 07106-18123). Jane's Information Group (UK).
  1. 1.0 1.1 Wilkins, Van. "New Electric Trolley Buses in Dayton", in Bus World (ISSN 0162-9689). Summer 1996, p. 18.
  2. Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority (now GDRTA) (Nov. 1, 1994). “RTA Awards Official Contract for 63 New Electric Trolleybuses.” Press release.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Trolleybus Magazine (TM) No. 206, March-April 1996.
  4. 4.0 4.1 TM No. 207, May-June 1996.
  5. Finnie, Chuck (June 1, 1999). “Muni trolley firm in crisis”, San Francisco Examiner, p. A-1.
  6. TM No. 256, July-August 2004.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bus frames have arrived", Dayton Business Journal (March 25, 1997). Retrieved on 2009-06-20. 
  8. "About Trolley Buses: Procurement Program Highlights". San Francisco MTA. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.
  9. Bouc, Frantisek (July 15, 2004). "Trolley bus maker hits the brakes". The Prague Post.
  10. United Industrial Corporation: May 4, 2004 news release.

External links

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