Muni installing more handrails to unlock front-facing seats

muni disabled safety seat sfgate

Remember those front-facing seats that SFMTA folded and locked for safety reasons? You won’t have to eye those seats woefully for much longer. Muni has been adding poles next to those seats so that they can be open again for use.

Muni locked these seats about two years ago, with safety stickers plastered over the seats, due to the manufacturer’s warning that there had been incidents where “passengers were ejected from these forward-facing seats and sustained quadriplegic injuries.”

SFist reported that SFMTA initially considered installing a barrier in front of these seats, but that “the area in front of these seats needs to be left clear, so that a person in a wheelchair or other mobility device can get into and out of the securement area.”

So instead, SFMTA installed metal hand rails — actually called rotational stanchions (who knew?) — so that you can hold onto it if the bus lurches. We saw one yesterday morning on the 2-Clement:
muni seat handle

We asked SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose more about these:

Yes, we are currently installing rotational stanchions for our existing fleet. One of these stanchions will be added to each fold up seat which will allow passengers to have something to hold onto during an abrupt stop. Previously, there was nothing to hold on to., which is why the manufacturer asked us to fold the seats. With each new stanchion, we can now open the seats. We are in the process of implementing the installation onto the following types of buses: ETI, Neoplan and Orion. It is not necessary to install these stanchions onto the new buses arriving now.

There you have it. Two more seats for every ride.

Top photo credit: SFGate


  • Sam Foster

    This is excellent news, thank you.

  • Emely

    I’ll be glad to see these down again. One day when we were boarding the bus, I went to sit down in the aisle-facing seat immediately forward of a pair of these folded-up seats. I was about halfway through sitting when the bus lurched away from the stop and momentum resulted in me falling backwards awkwardly into the wheelchair-locking hardware at the bottom of the seat, with not enough time to moderate the fall. I hit my head, arm, and hip pretty stoutly and had a good bruise for a couple weeks; the driver’s reaction was an irritable, “WELL, YA GOTTA HOLD ON”. I hope nobody has been injured as a result of sitting in the forward-facing seats and not having a handhold during an abrupt stop, but I can confirm anecdotally that the folded-up seats were more dangerous to me than the folded-down ones!

  • A Vuncular

    Good to be getting those seats back. OTOH, the new hand rail will necessitate greater precision in the wheelchair user’s backing-in maneuver.

  • I’ve noticed this too, on the 2 Clement and on the 12 Folsom.

    Funny to me though… The added handrails don’t seem like a magic fix-it for the supposed problem.

    Nice to have the seats back.

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