A pileup involving a streetcar, bus and car injured 15 people and stopped traffic both ways on Market Street during rush hour Tuesday.
Five of the injured, including the two Muni drivers, were sent to the hospital, and 10 others were treated on scene. None had life-threatening injuries.
The accident occurred just before 5 p.m. on Market Street at Second Street, when an outbound F-Market streetcar rear-ended a 10-Townsend bus, which in turn rear-ended a Ford Taurus. The bus and Taurus were stopped at the light.
John Haley, Muni’s director of transit operations, said it was not clear why the F-Market didn’t stop, and said the brakes would be checked. However, he said break failures are not common on the streetcars.
“The brakes are maintained every day — they’re always checked,” he said. “[The streetcar] wouldn’t go out if it wasn’t OK.”
The orange streetcar, one of Muni’s historic fleet from Milan, Italy, sustained minor damage to its front end, with a broken coupler piece and a scratched-up bumper. The 10-Townsend sustained damage to its rear bumper and its engine doors, and a Muni mechanic on scene estimated it could be fixed within a couple of days. The Taurus sustained much more serious damage and was towed from the scene.
The car’s driver, Mike Barta, said he and his wife were from Sacramento but were visiting The City on business. He was not injured, but his wife had to be hospitalized after she hit her head during the crash. He said the large bus hitting their small car caused a “significant jolt.”
“It’s been a rough day,” he said.
Traffic was blocked both directions on Market for about an hour.
There have been several accidents related to Muni vehicles rear-ending other vehicles in recent years.
In June 2008, two Muni light-rail trains crashed near AT&T Park, injuring 16 people. Less than two months later, a similar accident involving streetcars occurred in front of the Ferry Building, injuring 14 and hospitalizing six.