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SFMTA to bring back Castro shuttle to ease subway’s crushing crowds

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The Castro Shuttle is back.

The long-running shuttle that eased crowds at the Castro Street Muni station will return next month, the San Francisco Examiner has learned. John Haley, director of transit at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, notified Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office of the development Tuesday. “Thanks to increased support and focus on key maintenance and operations programs,” Haley wrote in an email, “the SFMTA is now able to re-launch regular shuttle service in the Market Street Subway that you have requested over the last several months.”

Starting Nov. 7, SFMTA will resume operations of the S-Shuttle service between Embarcadero and West Portal stations. The shuttle makes a shorter trip between the heaviest used stations in The City’s subway route.

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The shuttle originally ceased in the early 2000’s, Wiener said, as SFMTA’s number of available light rail vehicles dwindled due to maintenance issues. That core subway route serves more than 100,000 riders daily, equal to a quarter of all BART daily service.

Wiener, who requested the shuttle return and has commuted from the Castro Station to work since 1997, was excited at the news.

“It’s just such a crush at Castro Station,” he said. “You walk down from Market Street to where the turnstiles are, you look down, and you see this endless sea of people and your heart sinks because you know it’s one of those days.” He added, “I remember when the shuttle was instituted last time and what a difference it made, and how problematic it’s been since it’s been away.”

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