NextMuni recovering on Muni Metro after arrival time meltdown


Most Muni Metro train arrival prediction times are now appearing properly on the NextMuni system as of Tuesday morning, according to officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

In an update on the SFMTA’s blog on Tuesday, the transit agency was able to upgrade the majority of the Muni light rail vehicle fleet with new connections to the NextMuni system.

Muni passengers who use third-apps for train arrival times should also see accurate arrival prediction times as well, said the SFMTA.

Display screens inside the subway station and platforms should have gone back online as of Tuesday afternoon, according to SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose.

Rose said transit shelters with NextMuni displays for Muni trains should also be working now too.

The rest of Muni’s fleet, on the other hand, may take weeks to complete. The SFMTA said staff is currently replacing and reprogramming vehicle modems in the remainder of the light rail vehicle fleet, as well as upgrading 500 buses.

Problems with NextMuni started last Wednesday when Muni passengers noticed that prediction arrival times were inaccurate.

On Thursday, SFMTA officials said the problem stemmed from the deactivation of AT&T’s 2G wireless cell phone network, which NextMuni uses to transmit data to the NextMuni:

“Simply put, the deactivation work that affects our vehicles started sooner than expected and outpaced our ongoing upgrade of all Muni vehicles to a new communications and monitoring system.”

Seventy percent of Muni’s vehicles had not been upgraded with the new communications system, according transit officials.

The SFMTA had been using the 2G network since the NextMuni system since 2002 when the system was first installed.

Officials said the system was only capable of using a 2G wireless network at the time.

According to AT&T’s website, the 2G wireless network shut off as of Dec. 31, 2016.

SFMTA officials apologized to Muni riders for the inconvenienced and have posted a frequency schedule online. Some transit shelter NextMuni displays have also began displaying the frequency schedule for some bus lines.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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