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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced it will suspend Muni Metro rail service starting Monday and replace the service with buses.

Buses will run aboveground for the J, KT, L, M and N lines using the same bus stops as the early morning Muni Metro stops.

SFMTA officials said in a statement on the agency’s website that the decision is a response to ridership changes caused by the shelter-in-place order issued to slow the novel coronavirus pandemic. Resources will now be focused on connecting passengers to essential jobs and businesses.

Officials said:

“Closing the Muni Metro underground system will allow us to redirect custodial resources to other, higher-use facilities and minimizes risk to our station agents.”

The transit agency said that based on ridership data, they do not believe the changes will impact the ability of passengers and operators to practice social distancing.

West Portal, Castro, Church and Van Ness stations will close. The Muni subway portions of Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero stations will also be closed.

Additionally, the transit agency will temporarily suspend bus service on the 5R-Fulton, 9R-San Bruno, 28R-19th Avenue and 38R-Geary. Longer buses will run on local 5 and 9 routes so passengers are provided adequate space between each other.

Garrick Wong/SF San Francisco’s newest Muni trains get ready for a night of testing in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, July 21, 2017.

Transit officials will also suspend the 47-Van Ness bus route on weekends beginning April 4.

The SFMTA has already temporarily suspended express bus service to the Financial District due to low ridership.

Meanwhile, BART continues to experience ridership decline due to the shelter-in-place order.

The agency saw a 92 percent dip in passengers Wednesday as compared to average Wednesday ridership just last month.

Earlier this week, BART began to close at 9 p.m. on weekdays and weekends. The transit agency’s Board of Directors Thursday held a special meeting to discuss its budget, ridership numbers and service updates.

A presentation of what was discussed can be found on BART’s website.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native who works out of City Hall and rides Muni every single day to work. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn

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