Muni’s manic Monday hinders travel

If you think Giants baseball can be torture, you should try riding Muni.

The City’s light-rail system was plagued with long delays Monday, starting with a system malfunction that began around 9:45 a.m. and continued through the evening rush hour and into the night.

The meltdown marked the third time this month that the Muni transit system — which has 700,000 daily boardings — experienced problems that brought the trains to an excruciating halt. The other incidents occurred when the Giants were playing the biggest games of their season, leaving a portion of the team’s faithful desperate to find some other route to
AT&T Park.

The afternoon of Oct. 1, the day the Giants played the third-to-last game of the regular season, two Muni trains collided while trying to turn around near The Embarcadero, shutting down the system and forcing thousands of riders out of the subway and onto the streets.

Six days later, the Giants were gearing up to face the Atlanta Braves in the first game of their postseason when a contractor accidentally killed power to the entire system, causing about five hours of delays.

On Monday, the delays were even worse. Around midmorning, a signal near the Embarcadero station malfunctioned, turning every signal in the system to red and switching every train to manual mode, freezing the entire system for about
45 minutes, according to Muni spokesman Paul Rose. Outbound trains returned to automatic mode around 10:30 a.m., but inbound trains were still crawling along on manual through the evening rush hour.

Making matters even worse, a car collision occurred at Ulloa Street and West Portal Avenue at 5 p.m. Though the accident didn’t involve Muni, the vehicles managed to block trains in both directions for nearly an hour.

Muni patrons awaiting trains were nonplussed. Athena Waid spent an hour and 45 minutes traveling between Irving Street and Seventh Avenue and the Montgomery Street station — a trip that usually takes 20 minutes. She was stuck on one of at least a half-dozen trains that stopped cold at Church and Duboce streets after a signal failure shut down the system.

If that was a first-time occurrence, she might have been less frustrated.

“I’ve actually been thinking about moving to the East Bay because the commute time is the same, but more reliable,”
Waid said.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

 

 

System lacks means to announce delays

There’s a decent chance you can log onto Facebook and find the location of your high school crush. But if you want to know if your Muni train is delayed, your smart phone might as well be a book.

While BART will text you about delays, and Caltrain sends out alerts, there is virtually no communication about major Muni delays. While Muni does have a Twitter feed — handle sfmta_muni — it is not meant to be a delay notification system, Muni spokesman Paul Rose said. There was no mention of delays on the feed Monday until 4:15 p.m. — more than six hours after they started. 

A little information would go a long way for Mission Bay resident Joe Jarrell. When told a reporter was writing about Muni delays, Jarrell rolled his eyes.

“What, are you writing a 12-part series?” he said.

Jarrell had been waiting for a train for 20 minutes, and was late for dinner with a friend. He said it bothers him that Muni never warns riders there’s a delay.

“Generally you’ve already paid and then you come down and see five cars are waiting to go to Embarcadero, and you have to decide, do I lose my $2 and try to walk, or just wait?” Jarrell said.

After waiting another five minutes, he decided to take the $2 loss.

— Katie Worth

Bay Area NewsdelayLocalMuniTransittransportation

Just Posted

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. PHOTO COURTESY SALESFORCE
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

The numbers show nearly 14 percent of San Francisco voters who participated in the Sept. 14 recall election wanted to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from elected office. (Shutterstock photo)
(Shutterstock photo)
How San Francisco neighborhoods voted in the Newsom recall

Sunset tops the list as the area with the most ‘yes’ votes

Alison Collins, a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, listens during a board meeting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Alison Collins speaks: Embattled SF school board member confronts the recall effort

‘It’s important for folks to know what this recall is about. It’s bigger than any one of us.’

Is the Black Cat affair a distraction from the recovery of The City’s storied nightlife industry or does Mayor Breed’s behavior inadvertently highlight the predicament the industry’s been in since San Francisco reinstated indoor mask requirements on Aug. 20? (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2021)
Club owners to maskless mayor: Are we the new fun police?

Black Cat affair highlights difficult recovery of nightlife industry

Passengers board a BART train at Powell Street station on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Powell Station death serves as a grim reminder. BART doors don’t stop for anyone

What you need to know about safety sensors on the trains

Most Read