Locked Seats and “Rotational Stanchions” on Muni Buses
Effective Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016, 12:00 am

Picture with the first row of forward facing seats circled, to indicate that these are the seats which are being modified.

In 2014, the front rows of forward-facing seats on all Muni buses were locked in their flipped-up position as a safety precaution. By fall of 2016, most of these bus seats are due to be unlocked as buses are retrofitted with new vertical metal poles known as “rotational stanchions” to address the safety concerns.

These seats were locked in response to a bus manufacturer notice of a potential safety risk due to the seat configuration. Unlike other seats on the bus, these seats were not designed with barriers to prevent customers from falling forward in the event of a sudden stop. This issue applied to all Muni buses that started service prior to 2015.

The seats remained locked while the SFMTA found a safety solution that would not prevent customers who use wheelchairs from using the “securement area” provided when the seats are flipped up.

After successful tests in early 2016, the SFMTA began installing rotational stanchions on about 570 buses with locked seats. For cost efficiency, buses that are due to be retired soon may not be retrofitted with the stanchions, and their seats will remain locked.

Rotational Stanchions

 A view of the inside of a Muni bus with front forward-facing seats folded down and newly-installed curved metal poles.

Rotational stanchions are a type of vertical pole designed for customers using these seats to hold on to while also being adjustable to provide space for customers using wheelchairs, strollers and other mobility devices. When the seats are flipped up, a yellow knob at the bottom of the poles can be pulled to unlock it and rotate it out of the way.

How to Lower a Seat With a Rotational Stanchion

  • Step 1: Pull the yellow knob at the bottom of the stanchion to unlock it.

With bus seats flipped up, a woman reaches for a yellow knob at the bottom of a rotational stanchion, which is turned towards the flipped seats and away from the wheelchair space.

  • Step 2: Push rotational stanchion to the left until it clicks into place.

Woman holding the rotational stanchion, which is turned outwards to allow room for the seats to flip down.

  • Step 3: Lift latch located at top left of seat bottom, to unlock the seat.


Woman flipping seats down by grabbing the edge of the seats and pulling a latch located on the left front corner underneath the seats..

  • Step 4: Lower seat.

Woman sitting down in lowered seats.

As a reminder, the front seats on all Muni vehicles are reserved for seniors and people with disabilities. See our Accessibility webpage to learn more.

When Standing Near Locked Seats: Mind the Securement Fixtures

When seats are locked in their flipped up position, the two wheelchair securement fixtures at the base of the seats, which can pose a tripping hazard to those standing nearby. Please be mindful of these for your safety.