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Iconic brown Muni uniforms veer toward retirement

It could be much harder to spot a Muni driver off San Francisco streets starting in April.

The City’s Director of Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said those brown, coffee-colored Muni uniforms that riders have been so use to seeing at least for the last 20 years could soon be changing:

“As soon as April you will start seeing uniforms and they might be of a different color.”

Voting is currently going on this week at every Muni division for the nearly 2,600 Muni operators to either vote on either a new brown or grey uniform.

Reiskin said Tuesday at the transit agency’s board meeting that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency saw a chance to reevaluate the uniforms for potential improvements in the fabric materials and what comes with uniform.

Last fall, the transit agency surveyed 500 Muni operators on what they wanted changed and the color of the uniform. Operators wanted a new jacket and more “breathable” and “lighter” fabrics. The top two color choices were brown or grey, said Reiskin.

The grey uniform comes with a grey polo shirt, but with a darker-colored jacket and pants. Reiskin said the grey option had a considerable marginal lead over the brown option.

He said that choosing the new uniforms is a joint effort with the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents the nearly 2,600 Muni operators in The City.

The San Francisco Examiner spoke with Eric D. Williams, who is the union president. He told the Examiner that the current uniform is “terrible” and “uncomfortable” for operators.

Galls is the maker of the new uniforms, which does make uniforms for other city agencies.

Reiskin did note how the current brown uniforms had become part of The City’s every day environment:

“The beloved brown uniforms that our 2,600 operators wear around town every day, which are really in some sense part of San Francisco.”

Cost has not yet been determined.

A place to check out old photos of Muni uniforms is the SFMTA’s online Photography Department and Archive. Just search for “uniforms.”

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