Muni Subway Not Expected to Reopen Until May

SFMTA previously said N Judah trains would be running by now, and S Shuttle trains would return in March.

Getting the Muni subway ready for passengers is apparently taking longer than expected.

According to a presentation set to be given at SFMTA’s Tuesday board meeting, Muni subway service is not expected to resume until sometime in May, when the N Judah and T Third trains from Embarcadero to West Portal will be back in service. The news contradicts Muni’s previous subway reopening plans, which stated that N Judah trains would be back in service by early February, and S Shuttle trains from Embarcadero to West Portal would resume in March.

The Chronicle first reported news of the subway’s planned May reopening. 

The J Church and T Third Muni metro trains have been running since December and January, respectively, albeit almost exclusively along the above-ground portions of their routes. SFMTA has taken advantage of this period of low ridership to perform maintenance work in the subway, including upgrading overhead wires, tracks, and light fixtures, and adding underground wifi. 

Procuring complex equipment has been one source of delay, as has the testing and recertification of the rail line’s automated train control system. “We are working hard to bring rail service back in better shape for a more comfortable and reliable ride,” SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato wrote in an email. “And, through our Subway Renewal Program, we’re planning for more reliable rides in the long-run.”

The slide presentation includes a map of the proposed May service pattern. Unlike previous reopening plans, S Shuttle trains no longer appear to be included. Muni officials had previously suggested that extra-long, three-car S Shuttle trains could run back and forth along the length of the subway, providing extra capacity and avoiding delays on surface streets. 

Photo: SFMTA

This article has been updated with comment from SFMTA.

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