The Muni Grand Prix: The Race Between the N-Judah & the NX Judah Express Bus

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Some former N-Judah riders are smiling now on their daily commutes. Why? Because the SFMTA just invested $1.8 million on a pilot express bus line designed to get customers from the Sunset to the Financial District. The NX Judah Express Bus is SFMTA’s solution to the overcrowding on the N-Judah, which transports about 30% of all Muni customers - nearly 40,000 people daily.

More space on the Muni? This is a cause for celebration!

Indeed some of the riders we spoke to on the NX Judah Express Bus line – affectionately called the “party bus” throughout the web because of its distinctive blue stripe around the roof and purple lights – enjoyed the ride because it was less congested and there were fewer stops, supposedly making it faster. The express bus runs every 10 minutes during peak commute hours and only stops between 48th and 19th Avenues. It then travels directly without stopping from 19th Avenue to the Financial District.

At Reset, we’re skeptical of all things Muni, so we just had to crash the “party bus” to see for ourselves how great this NX commute really was. In fact, the Reset team decided to conduct an all-out Muni race between the N-Judah and the NX Judah Express Bus – The Muni Grand Prix!

The Race: N-Judah Versus NX Judah Express Bus

It was an intense late Friday afternoon, with the NX Judah Team revving up on the bus at Sutter and Sansome, and the N-Judah Team racing on the Muni train from the Montgomery station. (Check out the video!)

And the winning Muni bus was...

It was the N-Judah! We know it’s not highly scientific, but according to our stopwatches, the N-Judah won by 3 minutes.

Yet even though the NX was slightly slower this time, we believe that the Express Bus is a much more enjoyable ride and that the $1.8 million investment was well worth it. The N-Judah was (as intended) much less crowded than before the NX was implemented. And the NX Express Bus was full of daily commuters – and most importantly, it was reliable.

Perhaps adding more Muni Express Bus service lines could complement existing Muni train lines – especially because they speed up commute times and diminish overcrowded trains.

Stay tuned as we follow this story and investigate if – and why – so many San Franciscans are happy with the NX Express Bus.

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Eric Jaye's picture

Demand a Rematch

I think the XPress should demand a rematch. Took it the other day and we were leaving the streetcars behind.

Phil Ting's picture

Go all the way to the ocean

The NX is still a great idea and shows MUNI is trying new solutions to old problems. I bet NX would have won if you went all the way the ocean. I also wonder which experience is more enjoyable for riders. NX may seem like a nicer break from the more crowded and stuffy subway cars

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137