San Francisco’s Muni is set to be upgraded with 1,500 new digital signs and boosted tunnel Wi-Fi services.
From late October, transit bosses will begin the first stage of a massive technology overhaul, which they say will improve service reliability, transit times and arrival-time information.
The new Customer Information System project also promises better tunnel Wi-Fi and cellular signals—with more information on transfer connections to regional transit like BART and Golden Gate Transit.
October’s “soft launch” will collect data on transit ridership and work out any bugs in the system, according to SF Municipal Transportation Agency board member Manny Yekutiel.
Perhaps the most noticeable change to city streets will come with 700 LCD signs that will replace the orange-lettered NextBus signs at bus stops.
Thea Selby, chair of SF Transit Riders, said that the new signage is a welcome upgrade.
“The NextBus system that tells you when the next bus is coming is mostly nonfunctional now, and I think it makes people anxious,” Selby said. “If we could have more reliable information about when the bus is coming, that would be great.”
And the project will add solar-powered signs in mostly transit-starved areas to boost trip planning and transit times for riders, the transportation agency said.
“I’m really excited about those,” Yekutiel said.
So far, 411 new signs have been installed throughout the city, and 264 bus stops using the old NextBus signs are being upgraded with 4G modems.
Alongside signage upgrades, the agency plans to launch a new mobile app in February 2023, the app will include a trip planner and mobile ticketing.
The agency also hopes the new upgrades can address “ghost buses”—the phenomenon where arrival times disappear from signage when a bus doesn’t leave on time when starting the route.
By early 2024, the transportation agency plans to display alternate route suggestions on signage at stops and in buses when services are impacted.
The signage will eventually feature arrival and departure times for connecting regional services like BART or Golden Gate Transit.
By late 2024, it hopes to display real-time service detours and service delays on signage as well.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org