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311: An easy-to-remember, non-emergency telephone number that can be used to access information about San Francisco City services, including Muni. Call 311 within the 415 area code (or 415.701.2311, TTY 415.707.2323) to make commendations, suggestions and complaints about Muni services or to access Muni schedules and real-time vehicle location information. The 311 Call Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

511: A toll-free telephone information number that can be used to access transit, traffic, cycling and rideshare information for the Bay Area. Use this number to obtain arrival time information for Muni light rail vehicles. Regional transportation information can also be obtained at The website also provides comprehensive information about Bay Area transportation. The “Transit” section includes the “Take Transit” on-line trip planner, and provides route and schedule information for Bay Area transit agencies.

Accessibility: The extent to which facilities, including transit vehicles, are barrier-free and can be used by people who have disabilities, including wheelchair users.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A civil rights act enacted in 1990. The ADA includes provisions for access to fixed-route transit service for persons with disabilities, and comparable paratransit service for individuals with disabilities who are unable to use fixed-route services.

Articulated bus: A 60-foot bus that has two passenger compartments connected with a flexible “articulated section.” Articulated buses are used on bus routes with heavy ridership because they carry more passengers than the standard 40-foot buses.

Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVL): A system that uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) to detect, at intervals, the location of vehicles. A GPS receiver at a central location picks up transmissions from equipment on the vehicles that is relayed to the receiver via satellite.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): A broad term given to a variety of transportation systems that, through infrastructure and scheduling improvements, aim to provide more reliable and efficient service than an ordinary bus line.

Bus zone: A striped, signed curbside bus stop that is generally 80 to 120 feet long. Automobile parking is prohibited at bus zones.

Center platform: A high-level Metro boarding platform located between inbound and outbound trackways with two boarding areas on each side for both inbound and outbound travel.

Complaint resolution process: The process by which Muni Passenger Services addresses customer complaints about operators.

Disability: According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities.

Express service: Muni operates a number of commute period-only bus lines that run between the Financial District and outer neighborhoods including the Richmond, the Sunset and the Marina. In addition, the 9AX and 9BX operate between City College and Visitation Valley between approximately 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays.

Fixed-route service: Transit service that operates on a schedule and along set routes. Muni provides fixed-route service on its bus, trolley, light rail, streetcar, and cable car lines.

Flag Stop (also, Pole Stop): A bus stop without a designated curbside zone. At flag or pole stops, all passengers, including wheelchair users, board and exit the vehicle in the street.

Flip seat: A bus seat unit that flips up to expose a securement area for a wheelchair.

High-floor bus: This is a vehicle design typical to most Muni diesel and trolley buses where the customer is required to climb 4 to 5 steps to board the vehicle. Because the floor is located above the wheels of the bus, there is a larger area allocated for wheelchair users than found on a low-floor bus.

High-level platform: A raised boarding platform that is the same height for the entire length of the boarding area and has an access ramp at one or both ends.

Historic Streetcar: The vintage vehicles that are used on the F-Line. Muni’s streetcar fleet includes Presidents Conference Commission (PCC) cars, trams from Milan, Italy and other historic vehicles.

Inbound: A direction of Muni service, usually heading toward downtown San Francisco.

Kneeler: A device on buses that lowers the front of the vehicle several inches, making it easier for passengers to step up into the vehicle.

Landor sign: A unique bus stop sign located near the curb at bus and surface Metro stops. The sign is easily identified by its Muni “worm” logo designed by renowned San Francisco-based graphic designer, Walter Landor. Landor signs list the transit lines that serve each stop as well as their service hours.

Lift: A mechanically operated level platform that can be raised from street or sidewalk-level to assist mobility impaired persons to get on and off Muni vehicles. Lifts are installed on accessible buses, and are used at certain wayside streetcar and LRV stops.

Light Rail Vehicle (LRV): Electric rail cars that operate in the Muni Metro system, both underground and on the street.

Limited service: Transit service that serves selected stops on a route to speed travel.

Local service: Transit service with frequent stops and lower operating speeds.

Low-floor bus: Bus floor is lowered so that passengers are not required to climb stairs in order to enter the bus. Low-floor buses improve accessibility and speed boarding.

Medicare: A health insurance program that covers people aged 65 and over, as well as individuals who meet special criteria. The program is administered by the United States government.

Mezzanine: At underground stations there is a mezzanine level between the street level and the platform level, where station agent booths, ticket vending machines and fare gates are located.

Mobility aid: A device such as a wheelchair, scooter, walker or cane that is used by a person with an orthopedic or neuromuscular impairment.

Muni Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC): A community advisory body to the Municipal Railway that addresses issues regarding accessibility improvements and service quality on Muni’s fixed route system. The committee is made up of frequent Muni customers who are seniors and/or persons with disabilities, or who work for an agency that serves seniors or people with disabilities.

Muni Metro: The light rail system consists of the six light rail lines (J-Church, K-Ingleside, L-Taraval, M-Oceanview, N-Judah and T-Third) that serve downtown and the neighborhoods in the western, southern and eastern parts of San Francisco.

Muni Response Team (MRT): A team comprised of San Francisco Police Department officers that provides a regular police presence in Muni stations and on board Muni vehicles.

Muni Transit Assistance Program (MTAP): The program assigns young adults from disadvantaged neighborhoods to monitor student customers at various stops and on transit lines. They collaborate with SFMTA and school system personnel in supervising the boarding of students on the buses and ride the buses with the students.

NextBus: A system that uses satellite tracking to provide real-time arrival information via digital signs about when the next bus or train will arrive at a particular stop. Audible NextBus information is available at surface bus and Metro shelters using a “Talking Signs” receiver or by using the “push-to-talk” push button feature of NextBus.

NextMuni: The website provides NextBus real time arrival information for light rail, streetcar lines and certain bus lines.

Outbound: A direction of Muni service, usually heading away from downtown San Francisco.

Paratransit: A transit service Muni provides to qualified individuals who are unable to use the regular fixed-route service because of a physical or cognitive disability. Paratransit modes include SF Access, Taxi and Group Van service.

Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC): A community advisory body to Muni that addresses issues of paratransit service and service quality monitoring. The group consists of seniors, persons with disabilities, service providers, and representatives from social service and public agencies.

Passenger Services Department: The department within SFMTA that supports customer complaint investigations.

Peak period: Morning and afternoon commute periods when transit ridership is high.

Personal care attendant: An individual who assists a person with a disability with day-to-day household and personal tasks.

Proof-of-payment (POP): The fare payment system on Muni Metro that requires passengers to have a ticket, transfer, or pass to enter the paid area of a station or to ride a train. Customers with proof-of-payment may board a train at any door. Those needing to pay the cash fare must board at the first door of the train to pay their fare and get a transfer.

Push-to-Talk: A pushbutton activated system installed at bus shelters that provides voice annunciation of NextBus information.

Regional Transit Connection (RTC) Discount ID: An ID card for eligible seniors and people with disabilities that can be used to pay a discounted fare on transit in the Bay Area.

Securement area: The area on a bus designed to accommodate a wheelchair user. The area is created by flipping up special seats in the priority seating area at the front of the bus.

Securement system: A set of devices in the securement area that includes a clamp, belts and tether hooks. Securements are intended to keep a wheelchair from moving while the bus is in motion.

Service animal: Defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.”

Side platform: A boarding platform adjacent to the trackway with boarding for travel in one direction only.

Stanchion: The horizontal and vertical grab bars installed on buses and light rail vehicles to provide stability to standing passengers. Stanchions on the low-floor buses are colored bright yellow so that they are easy to see for customers with visual disabilities.

Talking Signs/Remote Infrared Audible Signage (RIAS): An infrared wireless communication system that provides audible messages to facilitate wayfinding for the blind and visually impaired. The Talking Signs system consists of infrared transmitters that send audible versions of the text contents of digitals signs to special hand-held receivers. Talking Signs transmitters are installed at the Powell Street, Stonestown, and San Francisco State Metro platforms, at all platforms on the T-Line and at a number of NextBus equipped bus stops.

Translink: A stored value “smart card” that can be used to pay transit fares for some Bay Area transit agencies. The user “tags” the card at a special card reader installed on vehicles or in transit stations. The reader deducts the appropriate fare from the card.

Trolley bus: A rubber-tired passenger vehicle that is driven by electrical power drawn from overhead electric lines.

Universal Design: Universal, or inclusive design seeks to design products, services and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation. It is associated with the concept of an inclusive society and its importance has been recognized by governments, business and industry.

Wayside boarding platform: A small high platform with ramp access that provides level boarding at the first door of an LRV operating on the surface.


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