Sunset District community members and its supervisor are calling on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for the return of the 7X-Noriega express bus more than two years after the agency suspended the route due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many Muni routes have returned to service since the beginning of the pandemic, yet the 7X remains suspended. At a rally Wednesday near the Noriega Street and 31st Avenue bus stop, Supervisor Gordon Mar, residents and community organizations announced the campaign to not only bring back the 7X, but to extend the route to Chinatown.
“This will be so important to have that direct express bus service between two of the largest Chinese neighborhood communities and neighborhoods in the city. There’s so much interaction and connection between the sunset and Chinatown.”
The supervisor also said that many Sunset District residents work and access services in Chinatown and that it takes too long for residents to get to Chinatown. The inbound terminal of the 7X had been at Market and Steuart streets.
While the idea might seem new to some, Mar said he had been in discussion with the SFMTA in creating the Sunset District express bus to Chinatown before the pandemic hit. Mar said now was the time for bringing the 7X back into service – and into Chinatown – as the agency restores Muni service.
Representatives from Chinatown Transportation Research and Improvement Project, a volunteer group that has been advocating for transportation improvements in Chinatown, proposed the idea to create a Sunset District express bus to Chinatown about 20 years ago.
Before the pandemic, the organization said they proposed an idea to do an express bus from the Sunset District to Chinatown on the weekends.
Lily Wong, director of the Sunset Chinese Cultural District, said the expansion of the bus route will be a “full circle” moment for the Chinese community:
“The Sunset really represents the next generation of Chinese San Franciscans. Expanding the bus line from the Sunset back to Chinatown allows us to have a full circle of the history of our community, how we put up roots in the Sunset but still are connected to where our grandparents, our parents, our great grandparents had settled in the United States in San Francisco.”
Residents can take a survey online for the return of the 7X and its extension to Chinatown.
SFMTA spokesperson Stephen Chun said in a statement that were was no timeline for the return of the 7X:
“We thank the community and our city leaders for their feedback. As we are still experiencing a staffing shortage as well as conducting ongoing evaluations and service needs analysis, we currently do not have a timeline of restoring the 7X.”