Muni passengers were taken for a wild ride this morning after their train car departed the station without the driver aboard.
According to the Chron, at about 10:15 a.m. the KT-Ingleside/Third Street train was about to leave the Castro Street station when the operator spotted a problem with one of the train doors. The operator hopped out to fix the issue, and that's when the real problems began.
Perhaps the operator forgot to employ the emergency brake, but for unknown reasons the train loaded with passengers took off -- leaving the operator behind.
As the train rolled away -- headed to the Forest Hill station -- a passenger yelled out, alerting everyone that the operator wasn't on the train. Another rider reportedly hit the emergency brake, and the train stopped in the tunnel. Mechanics were called to the scene. There were no injuries.
This isn't the first time Muni has had to capture a runaway train. In September 1998, an N-Judah train left the Embarcadero station without an operator, passing through four stations before it was stopped at Van Ness.
According to John Haley, Muni's director of transit, in today's incident, passengers were never in danger since the train went into automatic mode once the operator had shut the doors.
"I think the point here is the train was under control by the automatic train control system at all times," Haley said. "The system worked the way it was designed."
That's one way of looking at it.