Your “back door” will be more comfortable again on Muni trains, as SFMTA is rolling out a new fleet of seats, and two trains with the new seats are already in the wild.
Changes and redesigns to Muni light-rail trains do not always go well, particularly when rolled out on Friday the 13th. But the SFMTA really got to the bottom of things with their latest redesign, by surveying riders’ opinions of the seats. And this feedback produced a solution that we can hopefully all really get behind, as the Chronicle reports that light-rail trains are getting new seats, and the butt indentations are coming back.
HeadsUp: You asked for them & they are here! The first two LRV4 train cars with our new seating arrangement are in service this morning on the #MOceanView. Look for 2-car train made up of vehicles 2014 & 2033 to test our the new seats and peep the new, larger interior monitors.😎 pic.twitter.com/IkXmCete6U— SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) December 1, 2021
In technical language, the Chronicle refers to these as “bucket-shaped indentations for riders’ rear ends, formally known as butt divots, that are also placed 2 inches lower than the bench seats.” The Chron adds that “the redesign also includes additional handholds and larger monitors for Muni operators.”
But who cares about that? Let’s talk butt stuff.
SFGate has a review of the new Muni seats, and raves that “They're way comfier for your butt.” Reviewer Madeline Wells writes that “What had once been a chaotic slip station was now a pleasingly orderly line of differentiated longitudinal seating. I slid my butt comfortably into the scalloped seat, which also seemed to be made out of a less slippery material than before. When the train braked, I stayed perfectly still. And an even greater bonus: the threat of someone using the invisible barrier between our seats as an excuse to manspread was gone.”
There are only two of these new light-rail trains running in the whole city right now, and actually, they’re not even new trains. They’re the same type relatively new Siemens trains that SFMTA introduced in 2017, just with a new seat design. But an SFMTA spokesperson told the Chronicle that the new seats wil start rolling out in 2022. And on the tail end of things, “It will take until about 2023 to update the interiors of the 68 Siemens train cars the agency procured before the pandemic,” according to the Chron, though more new trains will be on the way.
You can see where the two new butt divot trains are, as transit enthusiast Chris Arvin has produced an online butt divot train tracker so you can find them. The trains do switch lines daily, but in Muni terms, they are “vehicles 2014 and 2033.” So you can track them down and test for yourself whether or not the new seats are a bum deal.
Image: SFMTA via Twitter