Aiming to alleviate crowding, Muni 5-Fulton route to get bigger buses

Muni is going to be running longer buses on the 5-Fulton line starting Aug. 15. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner file photo)

Muni is going to be running longer buses on the 5-Fulton line starting Aug. 15. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner file photo)

Riders of the 5R-Fulton Rapid Muni bus may soon get a saving grace to ease crowding: bigger buses.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced last week that the beleaguered line, one of Muni’s most trafficked, will run larger size “articulated” buses starting Aug. 15.

The additional buses are part of SFMTA’s “Muni Forward” program, a set of service improvements by the agency across The City.

The 5-Fulton and 5R-Fulton Rapid carry about 22,000 daily boardings, according to the SFMTA. It’s one of The City’s heaviest used commuter routes, and originates by Ocean Beach before crossing downtown via Fulton Street.

“Crowding is still an issue” on the 5 routes, the SFMTA wrote in a recent blog post. Now six to eight extra-long buses will join the usual complement during commute hours.

To that end, other improvements will soon arrive to the corridor, including new traffic lights and transit “bulbs,” which allow buses to board passengers without pulling out of a traffic lane.

The 5-Fulton winds through much of Supervisor Eric Mar’s district.

“I have been fighting for several years for faster more reliable RAPID service along Fulton and the Geary corridor,” Mar texted to the San Francisco Examiner.

He said the changes will greatly ease crowding and he is “pleased we are finally seeing major improvements.”

Standard Muni buses are 40 feet long, and the longer “articulated” buses are 60 feet long. They’re nicknamed “artics” by some Muni operators for their articulated accordion-like middle section.

SFMTA has sought to fast track the purchase of new 60-foot electric trolley buses in a cohort of 200 buses from manufacturer New Flyer, Inc., aided in part by funding from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority in February, and a subsequent vote by the SFMTA Board of Directors in May.

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