What if we took half the seats out of buses?


You clicked this post! Thank you! I am sorry for titling it with a question. That’s terrible. However, I have a question:

What if we took half the seats out of buses?

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Sorry if that sounds crazy! But do you take the bus? A local route in one of the cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) that gets used a lot, like a 6 or a 21 or an 18 or a 5? Anything that travels down Nicollet Mall or Hennepin Avenue during rush hour?

Wouldn’t it be better if we took all the aisle seats out?

Here are some buses:




Look at the stroller and walker! That’s crazy. That happens. I don’t blame them! What else can they do? Babies can’t drive! Or even Nice Ride.

I swear, one time, I was on a 10 or an 11 or something like that, and all the seats were arranged longitudinally, like the accessible two + three seats in the front of the bus near the driver just kept going to the back of the bus. Or at least halfway back, I can’t remember if it was a low-floor bus or not. That’s a great arrangement.

I’ve seen some of these and thought to take a picture at some point:


This is good! This creates an area where people are able to shift around and rotate and contort to get off the bus and/or move back in the aisle. On very crowded buses, lots and lots of time is spent finagling ourselves around each other to enter or exit the bus, and even more time is spent passive aggressively groaning loudly at one large person who stands in the aisle and doesn’t move back as six or seven more people are trying to board.

So what if we just took out all the aisle seats on the busiest local route buses, and turned the remaining seats so they’re up against the wall, facing the new, larger aisle? Or at least the first half, from the driver to the exit door.

Interior navigation would be improved exponentially! That would leave more than enough seats on your average bus for older passengers or younger passengers carrying kitty litter. After it clears downtown and stops a few times, it thins out a bunch, and people can sit down if need be. Throw some more graspable tie things on the bars on the ceiling, and you’re set.

Other benefits:

  • More than one stroller or one wheelchair would not ruin everything
  • Many people still take up much less space while standing than while sitting
  • The psychological space of the interior would feel a lot different–you’re not picking one person to sit by or not sit by and vice versa
  • The absolute worst part of transit, the Nicollet Mall and/or Lake Street cattlecar experience, would be way, way better

Am I missing something? Is this idea crazy? Is the company that makes the buses actually a subsidiary of the company that makes the fabric on the bus seats, à la Sheinhardt Wig Company/NBC? Am I underestimating the amount of people who are already standing on the 17 all the way to St. Louis Park? Why have we not done this already?