Muni tests trains with fewer seats for more capacity

muni new train cars
Photo via SF Examiner

The SFMTA is testing new train cars with fewer seats in order to fit more passengers. The new test train cars on the N-Judah have seven seats in the front instead of 14, as seen in the photo above, as reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

“Normally on the aisle of the light-rail vehicle it allows for two rows of people, and no one can get in between them,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who that morning boarded the re-configured car at Ninth and Irving streets. “Now you have people holding on to the handrail and an entire row of people could file in between them. To me it seems positive.”

The idea, which Wiener first pushed for in 2011, is that two more people can fit aboard a train for every seat that’s removed. In this case, the change adds space for 10 more riders.

The single car with reconfigured seats is being deployed as part of a pilot program the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is using to gather rider feedback.

You’ll see the new train cars on the N-Judah this month, then on the L-Taraval until June 13. The SFMTA could reconfigure more train cars depending on feedback of the test.

Let’s hope Captain Morgan still finds a place to leave his foot.


  • Jessica

    What is the new row of people supposed to hang on to? Very few people can ride muni without holding onto something. Even if they ran a bar along the top, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to reach it. The little hallway/hinge between the front and back of car? That always has some extra space, because there’s nothing for a person standing in the middle (not against the wall) to hang on to. So as far as I can tell, this new configuration is going to result in a) more space between passengers, but not more riders, or b) more injuries, as the additional people who stand in the middle fall down with jerky stops and starts, and the occasional hard braking.

  • Thisisstupid

    Is this a joke? The new middle row has nothing to hold onto!

  • Paul J. Lucas

    I you’re standing in the middle, you just reach between people to grab the handrails going up from the seats (photo, right). This is no different from how the car was before.

  • User

    The “$30K” Program is a Beta Stage and its a Onesided Program only favors Train Spacing to reduce crowing instead of favoring safety overall. People mostly talking about people with mobility issues not able to seat because there reduced number of seats.

  • Dexter Wong

    Kinda reminds me of the time Muni bought some Boeing cars originally meant for Boston (Muni 1300 series). They had single seats by the windows, too. But nobody complained about them then.

    • TransitMan

      Since no one complained about not having cell phones in 1880, what’s the problem with not having phones today?

      C’mon. We want to IMPROVE the future – not be content with the past.

  • TransitMan

    Take MUNI’s survey regarding this issue to let them know what a bad idea this is

  • anne herrick

    Who does the testing – robots? Comfort and safety should be a no brainer. Get with it.

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