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Muni Metro cuts service hours for two-week maintenance

For two weeks starting Aug. 12, Muni Metro service will cut back evening hours to to improve subway reliability and prevent future breakdowns.

Subway service will end at 9:30 p.m. with limited rail service outside of the subway. Shuttle buses will run in place of subway service on the J, K, L, M and N rail lines.

Erica Kato, deputy spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said crews will perform maintenance work on the overhead lines, tracks, signals and on the Automated Train Control System, which controls subway vehicles.

Embarcadero Station Muni
Franco Folini/Flickr Muni Metro service will close early at 9:30 p.m. starting on Aug. 12. for two weeks. (Franco Folini/Flickr)

Routine maintenance work is usually limited to two hours each night after Muni subway service ends around 1 a.m. The extra time will allow crews to conduct work that cannot be completed during normal maintenance hours, SFMTA officials said.

The K-Ingleside and M-Oceanview will offer train service between Balboa Park and St. Francis Circle, and buses will run on the L-Taraval from Embarcadero and Brannan Street to the San Francisco Zoo.

N-Judah trains will only offer service between Ocean Beach to Church and Duboce avenues and the J-Church will run from Balboa Park to Church and Duboce avenues. Riders on the N or J can transfer using a shuttle bus if continuing to downtown.

T-Third train service will run between Sunnydale and Embarcadero and Brannan Street where shuttle bus service can be picked up to Saint Francis Circle.  

The decision to extend work hours is largely a response to a major incident in late April that prompted total closure of the subway system for much of the day. The SFMTA Board of Directors met in May to discuss the issue and how similar incidents can be avoided in the future.

Gwyneth Borden, SFMTA board vice chair, asked Muni Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum if she felt there was enough time allotted to perform maintenance work overnight.

Kirschbaum responded:

“I think that we have enough time to do our standard maintenance, but I think there are some things, like for example, reducing the number of splices that we have in the subway and running more continuous wire that would require longer shutdown windows.”

Malcolm Heinicke, SFMTA board chair, said he supported closing the subway earlier to give crews time to perform preventative maintenance outside the standard scope of work.

Heinicke said:

“If that means we need a little less revenue service on a Sunday or late at night, let’s do that.”

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