Missed weekend construction deadline on T-Third line forces commuters to crowd on to shuttle buses

After promising Muni riders that disruptive track work on the T-Third train line would conclude this weekend, The City’s transit agency missed that deadline and instead substituted buses for trains during Monday’s commute.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni, is upgrading a train platform at UCSF Mission Bay to handle the ridership increases expected due to the planned opening of the Golden State Warriors Chase Center, as well as growth in nearby housing and healthcare jobs.

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, said construction work was delayed due to “stronger than expected rainfall on Saturday,” unexpected large boulders found during soil excavation, and the need to work around an abandoned ductbank and other utilities.

The missed deadline caused backups on the morning commute.

“The shuttles are insufficient, they need to get larger shuttles or run the smaller shuttles more frequently,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the southeastern neighborhoods most directly impacted by the loss of Monday’s trains.

She added, pointedly, “Once again, MTA has failed.”

Earl Shaddix, executive director of Economic Development on Third, a local merchant group, called the Bayview’s Monday morning commute “epic” in its awfulness, and complained riders were given “short notice.”

The full buses he saw often left riders stranded, he said. He sent the San Francisco Examiner a photo of a mother with a baby in a stroller who tried to board the T-Third shuttle but could not, because of the crowds. He described her as being left stranded in the cold.

“It confounds me when a major shutdown occurs, no one from MTA is checking on passengers and the commute,” Shaddix said.

The SFMTA plans to have T-Third trains running for Tuesday’s commute, Rose told the Examiner.

The train shutdown this past weekend is the second of four planned closures to allow construction on the train platform. The next closure is planned for January 4-21, and another is planned for January 29 until the end of Feburary.

Commuters on the T-Third line crowded on to shuttle buses Monday morning after the SFMTA failed to meet a deadline to wrap up weekend construction. (Courtesy Earl Shaddix)