Muni passengers wait to file onto a Shuttle train to West Portal station at Embarcadero station on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Increasing standing space on Muni trains is not the answer

The SFMTA’s incoming LRV fleet of new Siemens cars clearly represents a major step forward. However two aspects of the situation are of concern.

First, it appears that someone thinks that jamming more standees into the new cars will resolve the SFMTA’s Muni Metro crowding problem. Will it?

How about the dangerous crowding that already occurs along all the downtown Muni Metro platforms because everyone is forced to one end of the station to catch his or her one and two-car “train?” (Where else do modern subways operate with trains that are only or two cars long?)

The original Muni Metro system was designed for four and five-car trains both to increase subway carrying capacity and to ensure that riders were distributed safely and evenly along the platforms. To keep up with demand and ensure that passengers crowded into a short strip of platform won’t get accidentally pushed into the trackway, peak period trains should be long enough to occupy all station stop positions.

Second, the slippery plastic bench seats presented to the SFMTA at its March 5th meeting are unduly uncomfortable and at times unsafe. All seats should be contoured. To provide riders with seating choices, one side of the car should have double transverse seats and the other contoured bench seats.

At a time when an increasing number of people have travel opportunities that do not involve riding Muni, now is not the time to be forcing riders to endure sardine-like standee conditions and sit on bench seats reminiscent of military troop transport.

Gerald Cauthen
President, Bay Area Transportation Working Group
www.batwgblog.com

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