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Muni Forward: The Most Significant Service Improvements in Decades

Friday, April 3, 2015

Muni Map 2015.pdf

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), is launching the most significant series of service improvements in decades, aimed at increasing the frequency of Muni service, simplifying the Muni network, and making navigating the system easier for customers. Rolling out on April 25, the improvements are part of Muni Forward’s effort to make getting around San Francisco safer, easier and more reliable.

“Through Muni Forward, we are investing in our City’s public transportation system to make it even more reliable, safer, easier to maintain, and ready to meet the demands of a growing ridership and a growing city,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “A 21st century transportation experience is what riders deserve. Enhancements like accelerating improvements to Muni by expanding San Francisco’s light rail fleet and replacing the entire fleet with new, state of the art Siemens vehicles help to improve transit times and reliability, and moves Vision Zero—eliminating traffic fatalities in our city in the next decade—forward.”

This April’s service improvements are packaged as an innovative transit transformation. They include substantial service increases, eye-catching bus shelter enhancements, a new vibrant Muni system map designed to facilitate faster commutes, renaming core bus lines to better complement travel and every Limited bus line will now carry the name Rapid—“Rapid is the new Limited.”

“Muni Forward is a monumental leap forward for this transportation agency,” said SFMTA Board Chairman Tom Nolan. “Our goal is to make Muni the preferred alternative for even more people in San Francisco, so we’ve adopted a comprehensive reorganization of services that increases the dependability of our transit system and our overall transportation network.”

Muni transports more than 700,000 people during a normal weekday: that’s more than the individual populations of Seattle, Washington, DC and Boston. The majority of those daily trips are taken by bus. For this round of service increases, Muni Forward prioritized the bus routes that are the workhorses of our transit system, identifying time of day to enhance frequency; and extend service hours on Express routes. The cumulative result is more service and less crowding on the following routes:

Service Change


AM Frequency Increase

5R, 8AX, 8BX, 14R, 14X, 38R, 41, 10 & 28

PM Frequency Increase

5R, 8AX, 8BX, 14R, 14X, 38R, 41

Midday Frequency Increase

5R, 8, 14R, 29

Extended AM Hours

14X, 1AX, 1BX, 8AX, 8BX, 30X, 31AX, 31BX

Vehicle Changes

14X (40’ buses)

Additional Weekend Hours

38R (Now on Sundays)


14R (Extended hour on Saturday & Sunday)

“Muni has literally turned the corner in terms of service success,” said John Haley SFMTA Director of Transit. “Our on-time performance has increased steadily over the past seven months, Muni ridership continues to grow, newly hired operators are in service, more are in training, and we’re poised to be the only agency nationwide to completely replace its fleet with low or zero emission vehicles. So with the adoption of Muni Forward advances, Muni can nimbly support the current surge in construction and its resulting population growth.”

Muni Forward is also launching its “Rapid Network”: which prioritizes frequency and reliability on Muni’s most heavily used routes. As part of the Rapid Network rollout, the term “Rapid” or “R” will replace “L” for Limited-stop routes. Think of it this way: “Rapid is the new Limited.”

Old Limited (L) Lines

New Rapid (R) Lines

5L Fulton Limited

5R Fulton Rapid

9L San Bruno Limited

9R San Bruno Rapid

14L Mission Limited

14R Mission Rapid

28L 19th Ave. Limited

28R 19th Ave. Rapid

38L Geary Limited

38R Geary Rapid

71L Haight/Noriega Limited

7R Haight/Noriega Rapid

It is important to maintain that the “L” routes are not being eliminated. Instead, the new “R” routes will combine all the benefits of existing Limited bus routes but will see increases in frequency and reliability in the coming months—as the routes receive additional investment in transit priority improvements.

Already Rapid Network routes are benefiting from transit priority improvements, including transit-only lanes and transit signal priority, with more enhancements on the way. A few of the Rapid routes will even see service increases on April 25:

  • An additional five buses to the 38R-Geary Rapid during peak travel this month;
  • As well, the 38R will launch new service on Sundays;
  • The 14R-Mission Rapid will also add two buses all-day on weekdays;
  • (That translates to a bus every 7.5 minutes – a dramatic increase over the current 9 minute schedule);
  • The 14R will also extend its service operation day from: 8AM – 6:47PM – previously hours of operation were 9AM – 5:10PM
  • Transit Priority improvements will also extend to all Muni Metro lines.

Muni Forward is also introducing new route numbers and names. This reorganization helps to better align route numbers throughout the system and more appropriately identifies where the following buses travel in the city.

Old Bus Line

New Bus Line


6 Parnassus

6 Haight-Parnassus

8X Bayshore Express

8 Bayshore

16X Noriega Express

7X Noreiga Express

17 Parkmerced

57 Parkmerced

33 Stanyan

33 Ashbury 18th

71 Haight-Noriega

7 Haight-Noriega

108 Treasure Island

25 Treasure Island

To aid in better navigating the network of new Rapid bus routes and route number changes—Muni Forward is introducing a new service map. Its color-scheme is simple yet the colors and thickness of route lines boldly offers riders a new way to distinguish the most frequent service (the Rapid Network is denoted in Red) from local transit service.

New Muni map of San Francisco show Muni service in red and blue lines, varying thicknesses show levels of frequency.

The new Rapid Network will also roll-out additional signage and transit service branding at Rapid and Metro shelters to make finding and navigating the Muni network easier.

New Muni shelter signs show Rapid graphics in red and white on a rendering of a shelter on a street.

  • New transit poles outfitted with solar powered lanterns – will be visible day or night.
  • Redesigned flag signs will better identify route information, intersection names and real-time arrival details.
  • Bright red chevron-style decals, just below the shelter rooftop, easily signal a Rapid stop.
  • Just outside the shelter, new bicycle racks allow for the convenience of Park & Ride and serve as anti-cluster anchors – helping to distribute waiting riders more evenly between the front and rear doors.

More information about Muni Forward and Transit Priority Projects can be found at