Tell SFMTA What You Think About New Metro Signs

The SFMTA is changing the signs in Muni Metro stations so that they are larger, full color, and provide more information. And the agency wants to know what you think. The image above from the SFMTA is for train arrival information, and there are three more signs seeking your commentary.

For reference, this is what the current sign looks like.

What do you think of these new sign designs? Here are the rest of the proposed signs.

When the train is in the station:

Arrival info for stations not serving the J-Church and N-Judah:

Arrival info when S-shuttles are in service:



  1. Loh Phat

    What’s the point of new signs if the information is inaccurate? The times are often wrong of don’t even list trains that are actually running only to have a train arrive that was not forecast at all.

    I’d rather have correct information than pretty signs.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  2. fermata

    Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Never thought anything was really wrong with the current visual display. Sure, it’s not pretty & colorful but it conveys the info you need. It’s too late now, but the money spent on an unnecessary redesign could have been put to better use.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  3. And what happens if they have have a 3 car K?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • fermata

      do 3-car trains even exist??? seems like most of the stops weren’t built to accommodate 3, but if I’m mistaken, start running those on the N line STAT!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • I recall there being an article a while back saying they were going to test them in certain parts of the system, but I’m not sure what ever happened with that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • All the underground stops support very long trains (~10 cars). At some point the plan was to couple trains as they entered at West Portal and run them through in batches.

        A great idea in theory, but apparently it didn’t work in practice. Probably has something to do with the fact that coupling and de-coupling trains with passengers on them isn’t very safe.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • The original metro system supported (and used) up to 4 car Boeing trains that would decouple into 1 or 2 car trains when exiting the subway.

        The newer Breda cars are too long to fit into the shortest subway station (Forrest Hill), so 4 car trains are no longer possible. With the introduction of “quick couplers” that were installed on the Bredas a few years ago, the train electronics can no longer signal the doors to open on longer than 2 car trains.

        With the introduction of the new train control software getting installed to support these new signs, the subway can support “double berthing”, so that multiple trains can pull into and leave the station at the same time, even if they aren’t the same sign designation.

        Since Forrest Hill Station is the limiting factor, indeed 3 car “double berth” trains are possible. I am pushing the MTA to install at least 3 train arrival signs per platform side, but we will see what will happen. The platforms will at least be wired to support additional arrival signs in the future.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • Seems strange that one of the least-used stations would be considered a limiting factor.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Why is it strange? The whole train can’t fit in the station! KMLT wouldn’t fit, so the max train size is 3. The other stations could have more, absolutely.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Erik

    The system crashes and you get no info at all for the next few hours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  5. Kristin

    Like others have mentioned, STUPID. What’s the point on spending money on a re-design when the trains aren’t on time or few and far between? I’d rather have money go to that instead..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. Detelini

    I am guessing that is the whole point – accuracy. Current signs are 100s years old and not able to communicate properly with the servers. Therefore the messed up arrival times. Not only are we getting new signs with correct info, but they also will look really good. (and no, i do not work for muni).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Erik

      Don’t the overhead signs usually say the same arrival times as the fancy color nextbus displays?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Dexter Wong

      The current signage dates back to the beginning of Muni Metro (late 70s-early 80s). For it to be 100 years old you’d have to go to Boston. Their subway dates back to 1897.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. loren

    as most folks have pointed out, if they actually work… then great! but if they’re as inaccurate and broken as often as the current set, then what is the fucking point? other than throwing more money away. i remember when the screens went up in the stations, and they NEVER worked well/consistently- not even in the beginning. i assume this will be more of the same.

    usually when i’m in the stations downtown, i just call 511 on my phone. the times i get are often different than what the screens are telling me, and are generally more accurate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • loren

      DERP! i was thinking of the overhead, multi-color screens that have all the lines and their arrival times when writing that. i now realize we’re talking about the older, digital-display ones that are everywhere.

      still, they are pretty inaccurate as well.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Vega

    It’s ok. How about make a sign like that but has real time updates if the train is delayed or running late from it’s normal schedule like:

    Inbound Current Time: 5:41pm
    T 5min (late 10min)
    M M 4min (late 5min)
    L 2min On time
    M 1min (late 15min)

    M and K/T lines late due to vehicle accident on Sloat and Portola. (scrolling)

    Everyone knows arrival times are not always accurate but we do like to know what’s going on. I think it’s good to put “min” because some people will not understand plain numbers. Good luck!

    Like my friend always says: “The city motto is: If it makes sense, don’t do it!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Jon

    The underground stations all take four-car trains. Next time you’re in one, count the electronic arrival boards- there’s one for each car.

    Muni only run two-car trains as longer trains might block the previous intersection when stopped behind cars at intersections on the above ground portions of the route. To fix that, they should give all the lines transit only lanes- now you can run three cars with no problems. In order to run four car trains you might need to make some cross streets right-turn only, especially in the Sunset- the avenues are 300ft apart, and each train car is about 80ft long.

    For the J, they can only run one car trains because there is no space to exit the rear car when the train is stopped at Liberty St or 21st St. (They should fix that by just dropping those two stops, there are close alternatives at 20th and 22nd.) I have no idea why they only run one car trains on the K/T, that line gets really crowded downtown during peak hours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Jon, see my comment above. I assure you that the stations can only fit 3 car trains, we’ve she horned in an old design with the wrong train set.

      1 car trains on the T are because there are not enough trains available for 2 cars (114 LRVs required for weekday service, 109 typically available to fill the runs).

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

      • Jon

        (Apologies for starting a new thread- I meant to reply to the comment above.)

        I’ll take your word on that. I knew the subway was designed for 4-car trains, I wasn’t aware that the new Breda trains had changed the picture.

        If train shortages are the reason for one car trains on the K/T, it would make sense to distribute the pain a little more evenly. The problem is that in the downtown section you have outbound K passengers plus inbound T passengers, and vice versa in the other direction, so you have close to a double load for a few stations.

        Conversion of all street-running sections to transit only lanes, stop elimination/consolidation, and transit signal priority are the most important steps to improving the Metro. This would greatly improve frequency and reliability and allow three car trains. After that would be high-floor platforms for as much of the routes as possible to reduce boarding time and improve accessibility.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

        • N has the highest ridership of the system, so it is allocated more trains. Even with the Nx, which has plans to expand service one hour later, the route is at a maximum capacity. There are Bredas in the shop which will be available for service in 36 months, last I heard. A “Tx” bus might make sense, and I know some city sups have been talking about it but I don’t know where that’s gone.

          The TEP has a plan for all the consolidation and transit only lane plans, but no funding. There will probably be a ballot measure for TEP and Central Subway funding later this year for that.

          Again, it is not possible to run 3-car trains to do the “fast couplers” that were installed. The electronics don’t work beyond a 2 car train — this was tested not long ago.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. avuncular45

    The new designs are superior in that they display all the info at once, instead of in a string that keeps you waiting. Also, they will continue to provide predictions of the next trains while a train is in the station. Right now, if you come down the stairs and there’s a train boarding, you don’t know the what or when of the following trains.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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