Barely two years after the last seat redesign, the new Muni light-rail fleet is getting another redesign for its seats, with more double-seating and the butt dimples intact to comfort your ‘back door.’
It was back in December 2021 when SFMTA rolled out the new seat designs for their newer light-rail train cars, a fleet technically known as LRV4s. Now, two years later, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) has redesigned the seat layout again, this time adding more double seats.
Moving SF – As we remain committed to improving #SFMuni service, we’ve revamped the seating arrangement in our LRV4 fleet to improve reliability & create a more comfortable ride. Read more about the rollout of transverse seating in these vehicles ⬇️https://t.co/KvI665916t
— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) December 19, 2023
A couple of train cars with the new seat designs were already out in the wild when SFMTA announced the new design last Tuesday. (It didn’t get much attention that day, as the news was drowned out by a Clipper Card meltdown that happened the same morning.)
But for comparison’s sake, the previous design is seen in the tweet below from December 2021.
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
“We introduced the addition of side-by-side seats facing the front or rear of the vehicle, also known as ‘transverse’ seats,” SFMTA said in their announcement last week. “This seating arrangement lets passengers choose whether they want to face forward or backwards, depending on the direction the train is headed.”
And now there are more of those transverse seats, as the row of single seats is now a row of double seats. “While all vehicles are being updated to include transverse seats, only our newer LRV4 vehicles have been equipped with double-transverse seating options, as this change required structural reinforcement to support the extra weight of two passengers,” the agency added.
And yes, the “butt dimples” (also known as “butt divots”) remain part of the design, as the seats without the dimples have been scrapped. “Your comfort and input are also important, and those older interiors are almost gone now,” SFMTA explained. “They’ve been replaced with updated seating featuring the return of the ‘butt-dimples’ for a more comfortable ride.”
The overall price tag on this overhaul of the streetcar seats is $20 million per SFMTA, which may seem a little steep for an agency that was claiming “fiscal cliff” concerns just nine months ago. But SFMTA also says the redesign will “extend the manufacturer’s warranty on our new vehicles,” so that may pose some financial upside for them.