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Muni Metro is a mass transit system operated in the City and County of San Francisco by the San Francisco Municipal Railway, managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Historical elements have contributed to Muni Metro's varied characteristics. These include segments that resemble a high-frequency metro for lines that interline underneath Market Street, segments that resemble a traditional streetcar network, and segments that resemble a modern light-rail system on recently added or upgraded segments. CHUNKY STEAKS

RoutesEdit

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File:Muni Metro.png

The Muni Metro system consists of seven lines:

The system Edit

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These lines run in mixed street traffic and, for the most part, stop at street corners like a traditional streetcar (a few high-platform stations have been built at selected intervals to accommodate disabled passengers) until they enter or exit the subway (Twin Peaks Tunnel and Market Street Subway). Most lines have stretches where they travel in exclusive or semi-exclusive lanes, separated from auto traffic.

Three lines, the K, L, and M, enter the subway at its southwestern end, appropriately named West Portal, in the "inbound" direction (towards downtown). The K and M originate at the Balboa Park station, whereas the L runs from 46th Avenue and Wawona Street (SF Zoo). The K and T lines are not operationally separate lines and are best described as interconnected: upon entering West Portal Station, the K changes signs and becomes the T; in the "outbound" direction (away from downtown), the T changes signs to K upon entering the Market Street Subway.

The K/T, L, and M lines serve the following stations through the Twin Peaks Tunnel:

The J and N lines, running above-ground, enter the subway at this point, via a portal located at Church Street and Duboce Avenue. The five lines continue through the Market Street Subway and serve the following stations:

At this point, the J, L, and M lines terminate, while the N and T lines continue out the northeastern portal of the subway on the Embarcadero. The N terminates at King and Fourth Streets, next to the Caltrain station, while the T line continues onward down Fourth Street, Third Street, and Bayshore Boulevard to the San Francisco county line.

The F Market & Wharves, an all-surface line running historic streetcars, has not been designated as part of the Metro system by Muni, despite the fact that its route designation is similar to that of the Metro lines. The Metro designation originated with the construction of the Market Street tunnel, where F trains cannot go. However, the F trains travel over the J line to the storage facility in the Balboa Park neighborhood when not in use, using a section of track between the F and J lines on 17th Street between Noe and Church Streets. F trains are occasionally seen in service on the above-ground sections of the J line, and in service as training cars on other above-ground lines. Metro LRVs also have destination boards for the F Market, and can be operated on F Line tracks when needed, although these occurrences are extremely rare.

Operations Edit

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Muni Metro runs from approximately 5 am to 1 am weekdays, with later start times of 7 am on Saturday and 8 am on Sunday.[1] Late-night service is provided along much of the L and N lines by buses that bear the same route designation. (During the Metro Improvement Project starting January 29 2007, K, L, and M line metro service between Castro and West Portal ends at 9 pm on weekdays and is replaced by surface buses until service ends at 1 am Saturday morning start of service is delayed from 6 am to 7 am as well. This part of the project is scheduled to last about a year.)[2]

The basic fare for Muni Metro, like Muni buses, is $1.50.[3] The Muni Metro system as a whole is a proof-of-payment system; on paying a fare, the passenger will receive a ticket good for travel on any bus, historic streetcar, or Metro vehicle for 90 minutes. Payment methods depend on where in the system Metro streetcars are boarded. In street running sections in the south and west of the city (the old streetcar routes), passengers can board at the front of the train and pay their fare to the streetcar operator to receive their ticket; those who already have a ticket, or who have a daily, weekly, or monthly pass, can board at any door of the Metro streetcar or train. Underground stations have controlled entries via turnstiles, and passengers must purchase or show Muni staff a ticket in order to enter the platform area. On high-platform stations outside the tunnels, ticket machines are available on the platforms; passengers without tickets or passes must purchase them before boarding. Fare inspectors may board trains at any time to check for proof of payment from passengers.

Passengers can transfer from Muni Metro to Muni buses and vice versa, as well as to and from the F line historic streetcars; however, passengers must use the front door on these other vehicles. Passengers can also transfer to cable cars at Powell and Embarcadero stations, though an extra fee must be paid to ride this popular tourist attraction. Four of the downtown subway stations shared by all six lines are also stations on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART SIMPSON) system, and some of the lines also have surface stops at or near the Glen Park and Balboa Park BART stops. While passengers can transfer at these stations, the two systems have different fare regimes and a new fare is usually required when transferring. The monthly MUNI pass, dubbed the FastPass, may be used on BART within San Francisco.[3]

Vehicles Edit

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The first trains operated in the Muni Metro were Boeing-Vertol-manufactured US Standard Light Rail Vehicles, which were built for Muni and Boston's MBTA. Boeing-Vertol had virtually no experience in building rail vehicles and later left the market in the wake of problems associated with the USSLRV. In fact, 31 of Muni's cars were originally made for MBTA, which rejected them due to their poor quality and proneness to mechanical failures. These LRVs made up the entire fleet of the Metro until December 1996[4] when their replacements, the Breda-manufactured LRVs, locally referred to as "LRV2", arrived. Larger in size and more reliable (though seen by someTemplate:Who living near Metro routes as louder than their predecessors), the LRV2s became the mainstay of the fleet by the start of the 21st century with the last Boeing car replaced in late 2001.[5]

Because some stops on the Metro system have high platforms and others do not, both the Boeings and the Bredas have variable-height entranceways. Upon entering a car at a street-level stop, passengers must walk up a few stairs; when the train enters a tunnel or approaches a high-level stop, the stair treads rise hydraulically to the level of the car floor. This change is signaled by a piercing whistle (Breda) or bell (Boeing) and occasionally by the operator's announcement.

History Edit

In the middle of the 20th century, San Francisco was served by a number of public transit railways. There were two modes: cable cars, driven by traction from underground cables, and streetcars, powered by overhead electric catenaries. The cable cars still run in San Francisco today; the streetcars were the ancestors of today's Muni Metro. San Francisco is thus one of the few North American cities whose light rail system has operated continuously since the streetcar era.

In the 1950s, as in many North American cities, public transit in San Francisco was consolidated under the aegis of a single municipal corporation, which then began phasing out much of the streetcar network in favor of buses. However, five heavily used streetcar lines traveled for at least part of their routes through tunnels or otherwise reserved right-of-way, and thus could not be converted to bus lines. As a result, these lines, running traditional PCC streetcars, continued operation until the 1970s, when mass transit rail projects once again came into vogue in the United States.[6]

Original plans for the BART system drawn up in the 1950s envisioned a double-decker subway tunnel under Market Street (known as the Market Street Subway) in downtown San Francisco; the lower deck would be dedicated to express trains, while the upper would be served by local trains whose routes would spread south and west through the city. After construction of the tunnel had begun, however, these plans were altered; only a single BART route would travel through the city on the lower deck, while the upper deck would be served by the existing Muni streetcar routes. The new tunnel would be connected to the existing Twin Peaks Tunnel. The new underground stations would feature high platforms, and the older stations would be retrofitted with the same, which meant that the traditional PCCs could not be used in them. Hence, a fleet of new light rail vehicles was ordered from Boeing-Vertol, but were not delivered until 1980, even though the tunnel was completed in 1978. In February 1980, Muni Metro was officially inaugurated, with weekday N line service in the subway. The Metro service was implemented in phases, with all five lines running in the subway on a full-time basis by November 1982.[6]

In the mid- to late-1990s, San Francisco grew more prosperous and its population expanded with the advent of the dot-com boom, and the Metro system began to feel the strain of increased commuter demand. Muni-bashing had always been something of a civic sport for San Franciscans, and not without reason: the Boeing trains were sub-par and grew crowded quickly, and the difficulty in running a system that was half-streetcar and half-subway with five different routes merging together into one, led to scheduling chaos on the main trunk lines, with long waits between arrivals and commuter-packed trains sometimes sitting motionless in tunnels for extended periods of time.

Muni did take steps to meet these problems. Newer, larger Breda cars were ordered, an extension of the system towards South Beach — where many of the new dot-coms were headquartered — was built, and the underground section was switched to automatic train control (ATC). The Breda cars, however, came in noisy, overweight, oversized, under-braked, and over-budget (their price grew from $2.2 million per car to nearly $3 million over the course of their production)[7][4]. In fact, the new trains were so heavy (10,000 pounds more than the Boeing LRVs they replaced) that some homeowners, claiming that the exceptional weight of the Breda cars damaged their foundations, sued the city of San Francisco.[8] The Breda cars are longer and wider than the previous Boeing cars, necessitating the modification of subway stations, maintenance yards, as well as the rear view mirrors on the trains themselves.[4] Furthermore, the Breda cars are not run in three car trains, like the Boeing cars used to, as doing so had, in some instances, physically damaged the overhead power wires.[9] The Breda trains were so noisy that San Francisco budgeted over $15 million to quiet them down, while estimates range up to $1 million per car to remedy the excessive noise.[10] To this day, the Breda cars are noisier than the PCC or Boeing cars. In 1998, NTSB inspectors mandated a lower speed limit of 30 mph, down from 50 mph, because the brakes were problematic.[11][12]

Muni meltdownEdit

The ATC system was plagued by numerous glitches when first implemented, initially causing significantly more harm than good. Common occurrences included sending trains down the wrong tracks, and, more often, inappropriately applying emergency braking.[13] Eventually the result was a spectacular service crisis, widely referred to as the "Muni meltdown," in the summer of 1998. During this period, two reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle—one riding in the Muni Metro tunnel and one on foot on the surface—held a race through downtown, with the walking reporter emerging the winner.[citation needed] ATC problems persist to this day, with disabled trains becoming even more common with the introduction of the T Third Street line. Muni Metro's current service is not much better than it was a few years ago, and the quality of service has received declining rates for a number of years.[14]

Upgrading the systemEdit

On January 2, 2008, the San Francisco Municipal Railway announced that after finishing their current Metro Improvement Project, has now commenced a project improving the Twin Peaks Tunnel and revitalizing the West Portal Station.[15]

Recent expansion Edit

In 1998, a four-station extension of the trunk line was built from Embarcadero station to the planned site of the new Giants baseball stadium and the Caltrain depot. This new section of the system, though relatively short, was important: it finally linked the Caltrain commuter system to the city's rail transit network, and it provided service to the burgeoning South Beach and South of Market neighborhoods and the new downtown baseball stadium, AT&T Park. Perhaps even more important, however, was the mere fact that it was built: it represented the first new light rail tracks laid in the city since the three-mile extension of the J Church line in 1993, and its success heralded more expansion in the wings.

In 2007, an extensive new line known as the T Third Street, running south from the current Caltrain depot station along Third Street, opened as part of the Third Street Light Rail Project. This is a modern light rail line, like the Embarcadero extension, and runs all the way to the southern border of the city. At its northern end, the line passes through older industrial areas that have become more residential in the aftermath of the city's late-'90s real estate boom; at its center, it runs through some of San Francisco's most economically depressed areas, and planners hoped that it will improve prospects of those neighborhoods. Limited weekend T line service began on January 13 2007, while full service began on April 7 2007, to decidedly sub-par reviews. Many Muni riders likened the introduction of the T to the 1998 meltdown.[16][17] Meanwhile, residents of the Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood, the people that the new rail line was supposed to benefit, have expressed a desire to see a return of diesel bus service to the area.[18] Service modifications to address complaints with the introduction of the T Third Street were implemented on June 30, 2007. These changes simplified Metro tunnel operations by eliminating the need to turn back T Third Street trains at Castro Street Station and K Ingleside trains at Embarcadero Station. Outbound T service is combined with the outbound K upon entering the subway at Embarcadero (Ferry Portal) and runs to the end of the K line at Balboa Park. Inbound K trains become T Third Street trains upon entering West Portal.[19]

Future expansionEdit

Federal funding has been secured for a new project dubbed the Central Subway.[20] Muni estimates that the Central Subway will carry roughly 78,000 riders per day by 2030. This line will head north and west from the Caltrain depot before passing underground into a new subway tunnel. It will stop at Moscone Center, then pass under the current Metro tunnel before turning north with stops at Union Square, where transfers will be made to the Market subway at Powell, and continue on to a single stop in Chinatown. With only three proposed subway stations, the line would be relatively short, and it would provide limited service to areas of downtown currently somewhat isolated from the Metro network, and perhaps a springboard for, or discontinuance of, future expansion. Under pressure from every angle,[citation needed] the MTA has proposed a short extension of the tunnel to serve the North Beach neighborhood.[21] Planners estimate the Central Subway will be completed by 2016 at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion Template:Failed verification.[22]

No further projects have been settled upon as of yet, though there are several areas in the city that would benefit. One route under particular study is the Geary Street Corridor, which would run west from the Central Subway through the densely populated Western Addition, Japantown, and Richmond neighborhoods north of Golden Gate Park.[23][24] The 38AX-Geary A Express, 38BX-Geary B Express, 38L-Geary Limited, and the three 38-Geary variant routes combined, which cover the Geary corridor today, make for the most heavily used part of the Muni system.[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Metro Service Hours. San Francisco Municipal Railway. Retrieved on January 20, 2007.
  2. Metro Overhead Improvement Project Phase II. San Francisco Municipal Railway. Retrieved on January 20, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Basic Fares. San Francisco Municipal Railway. Retrieved on January 20, 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Muni rolling out first of new fleet of streetcars. San Francisco Chronicle (1996). Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  5. Muni cars on a roll into city junkyard / Even preservationists reject the clunkers
  6. 6.0 6.1 History of the Muni Metro. NYCsubway.org. Retrieved on January 20, 2007.
  7. Muni Investing in More Breda Streetcars. San Francisco Chronicle (1999). Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  8. J-Line Residents Ready to Rumble Over Breda Cars. The Noe Valley Voice. Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  9. Coupling without orders is technically an avoidable accident (text/html). Rescue MUNI. Retrieved on April 21, 2007.
  10. Muni Plans to Quiet Streetcars. San Francisco Chronicle (1997). Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  11. Fundamental Flaws Derail Hopes of Improving Muni. San Francisco Chronicle (1998). Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  12. Real-time Subways. Gin and Tonic (2004). Archived from the original on 2007-04-29. Retrieved on April 21, 2007.
  13. EBs in the Subway--ARRGH. Rescue MUNI (1998). Retrieved on April 21, 2007.
  14. City Survey 2007 (PDF). sfgov.org. Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  15. SAN FRANCISCO / Late-night light-rail service adjustments
  16. Muni: "I'm melllllting! Melllllllllllting! Oh, what a world, what a world!". Gothamist.com. Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  17. Friday the 13th: MUNI Meltdown Wrap Up, and More!. N Judah Chronicles. Retrieved on April 18, 2007.
  18. Third Street line riders frustrated. San Francisco Chronicle (2007). Retrieved on April 19, 2007.
  19. Service Changes Effective June 30, 2007. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (2007). Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  20. SFMTA's Central Subway Gets Strong Score from FTA. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.
  21. Central Subway: Overview. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.
  22. Clang, Clang, Clang, Went the New Subway. SF Weekly. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.
  23. SOMA Transportation And The Land Use Connection. San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.
  24. Geary Rail & Central Subway Redesign Proposal. Rescue MUNI. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.
  25. Muni Performance. San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. Retrieved on 13 October, 2007.

External linksEdit

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