Muni’s newest train was taken out of service Thursday after a passenger’s fingernail became caught in its door, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Just exactly how a fingernail gets caught in a door is a question the SFMTA is still investigating.
“The patron’s thumbnail became stuck in the door after she was reaching for it as it was closing,” said Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson. “We’re still confirming what part of the door it was stuck in.”
Muni’s new train, car No. 2006, debuted Nov. 17 and is the first of Muni’s new fleet, which will add to the agency’s fleet of light-rail vehicles used for the metro system. The agency hopes to have at least five new cars cleared for service by the end of this year, and 24 new vehicles by next year.
Those train cars are certified for safety by the California Public Utilities Commission. When contacted about Muni’s doors, the CPUC did not immediately return a request for comment.
Muni’s first train from its new fleet boasts a host of upgrades — digital signage for stops, re-engineered seating and revamped technology throughout.
But on Thursday, the train of the future was thwarted by a fingernail.
The SFMTA could not confirm whether the woman’s thumb was crushed in between both doors, or if her fingernail was caught in another part of the door. Rose said she was outside the vehicle at Van Ness Station when the incident happened, but did not know if the passenger becoming “stuck” in the door was a mechanical error on the part of the doors.
However, Rose did confirm that during testing of Muni’s new train car, its doors had issues that were corrected.
SFMTA Director of Transit John Haley explained the door issues in a previous interview with the San Francisco Examiner.
“The issue here with the doors is the pressure of closing,” he said.
During testing, the doors closed either too lightly, or too strongly, with more pressure than is allowed by safety standards, Haley said.
“There’s a test we had to go through,” he added. “How much pressure do you need, to balance the force to close it? But you don’t want to damage a hand or leg or body part.”
On Thursday, Rose said those issues were resolved prior to train certification by the CPUC.
The new train cars are manufactured by Siemens, whereas Muni’s older fleet is manufactured by Breda. Rose said the Siemens train has more sensitive door sensors than the Breda cars, but did not know whether the door functioned properly after the passenger was stuck in it.
“The new cars are set to open automatically if there’s an object stuck in the door as its closing,” Rose said, but it is unclear if the doors functioned as intended.
The woman declined medical treatment, Rose said.