Muni operator outed on social media for using rubber band to pilot train

A Muni operator caught on social media using a rubber band to hold his train throttle in place is being investigated by The City, transit officials told the San Franciso Examiner.

It is unclear from the photo if the rubber band was used to hold in place the throttle or the vital safety feature known as a “dead man’s” control, but either way, John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, wasn’t happy.
“That’s a rule violation,” he said. “That’s dangerous.”

Reddit user u/StolenKid posted a photo of the operator’s alleged misdeed in the San Francisco subreddit, which attracted the attention of agency officials.

The throttle is shaped like a ‘T.’ The top portion, which turns and is known as the “dead man’s control,” is meant to twist back into place and stop the train if an operator loses consciousness and lets his grip on the control slip, operators told the Examiner. When it is released, a Muni train will “initiatve an irretrievable brake application,” reads the most recent Muni rail manual.

In an interview Tuesday, Haley confirmed using a rubber band to help operate the control is a “rule violation” and the social media post is “already being investigated.”

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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