Muni is proposing longer, articulated buses for the 30X-Marina Express route to ease crowding. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Muni set to use longer buses on popular 30X-Marina Express

Muni’s popular 30X-Marina Express commuter route may soon net 60-foot articulated buses, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

“Artics,” short for articulated as they’re called in Muni operator slang, are the long-size buses with the accordion-style bridge between sections. The 30X is a commuter line ferrying Marina district workers to the Financial District, which also runs through North Beach.

Under the plan, the Marina district would see longer-than-average buses run through Chestnut Street, which is a single lane in either direction.

The Examiner learned of Muni’s effort to revamp the 30X in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s general sign-up sheet for operators. The sheet detailed the 30-Stockton’s move from Presidio Yard to Potrero Yard, and Potrero mostly repairs larger “artics.”

SFMTA spokesman Robert Lyles said the agency conducted outreach along Chestnut Street on the 30-Stockton and 30X for six months.

“One of the consistent themes we heard during this outreach was that the 30X was too crowded and a larger bus should be used,” he wrote.

During October, the 30X was operating at 17 percent above capacity, Lyles wrote, making it “our most crowded” express route.

Supervisor Mark Farrell represents the Marina district. The 30X needs added capacity, he said, though he’s wary larger buses may “ruin the character and feel of the neighborhood.”

But as 30X passengers found themselves increasingly stranded, they turned to private tech-bus companies with similar routes, Farrell noted, like Leap Transit and Chariot.

“I think there’s obviously a market demand here,” Farrell said.

Ariel Kelley, the past president of the Marina Community Association, said she’s one of many Marina residents left behind by too-crowded 30X buses.

While Kelley was supportive of larger buses in the mornings, she said evenings in the Marina are more congested — a bad mix.

“It’s going to cause complete gridlock,” she said.

Another effort by the SFMTA to add a red painted transit-only to Chestnut street in the Marina was dropped last month in the wake of neighborhood opposition, SFMTA Muni Forward Program Manager Sean Kennedy told the Examiner.

The project to revamp Chestnut will be “parking neutral,” he said. Some traffic lights will be added along Chestnut street, at Laguna, Octavia, and Gough streets, which Marina neighbors also hotly opposed.

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