Central Subway Service Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the difference between special weekend service and January 7 service?
A: Special weekend service is a free special service only on the weekends between Chinatown-Rose Pak and 4th & Brannan stations, and back again. This is a special opportunity for customers to ride between the new Central Subway stations and get to know them before the new T Third line running between Chinatown-Rose Pak and Sunnydale opens in January. During special weekend service, existing T Third and K Ingleside service will continue to follow its current route daily.
On January 7, 2023, when we to start the new T Third with service from Chinatown-Rose Pak to Sunnydale, the T Third will continue north at 4th and King streets and connect to the new Central Subway stations instead of turning onto King Street and running along the Embarcadero and the Market Street subway.
Q: Will there be more signage to help customers navigate the new stations and connections?
A: Yes! We are still installing and updating permanent wayfinding signage that reflects the new T Third with service from Chinatown-Rose Pak to Sunnydale, starting January 7, 2023. In the coming weeks we will install station maps, new Muni Metro service maps and additional signs that will help customers navigate the stations and new long-term service connections.
In the meantime, in response to customer and staff feedback, we are taking several steps to help customers navigate better:
- We have created new visuals and animated maps to help customers learn to navigate the stations.
- We are offering virtual wayfinding trainings and in-person guided meetups at the Powell Station to help customers learn to navigate connections
- We are working to add more temporary A-frame signage in English and Chinese in Powell Station and Union Square/Market Street Station to point customers along.
- We are providing ambassadors with hand-held Chinese navigation instructions to better serve our monolingual customers.
Q: How do I get to Chinatown from Powell Station?
A: If you are accessing Powell Station from Muni Metro or BART, go up to the concourse level and exit the fare gates but stay inside the station and follow signs and Ambassadors toward “Central Subway” to the Union Square/Market Street Station.
If you are entering Powell Station from the street, follow signs and ambassadors wearing orange toward “Central Subway” to the Union Square/Market Street Station.
Q: Can I take the T Third from 4th and King to Chinatown?
A: On January 7, 2023, the new T Third will start running between Sunnydale and Chinatown, connecting from 4th and King. Until then, special weekend service only runs between Chinatown-Rose Pak and 4th & Brannan stations during the free weekend service. Customers connecting to the Central Subway coming from stops between Sunnydale and 4th & King can transfer at Powell by walking underground to Union Square/Market Street Station or by walking from 4th & King to the new 4th & Brannan platform.
Q: What’s the best way to connect to Powell Station from Union Square/Market Street Station?
A: If you are accessing Union Square/Market Street Station on Muni, exit the train and look for signage on the platform toward Ellis Street. Go up to the concourse level and look for additional signage toward Powell Station, J, K, N, M.
Q: How do I know which side of the platform to board at Chinatown-Rose Pak Station?
A: Trains may enter and exit from both sides of the platform at Chinatown-Rose Pak Station. Displays will show train departure times. This is different from other Muni Metro stations. Customers should look at the displays on either side to see which train will depart soonest and listen for audio announcements.
In Union Square/Market Street Station and Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, signs indicate the direction and destination of the trains on either side of the platform, such as “Southbound, Sunnydale” and “Northbound, Chinatown.”
Q: The stairs and escalators are long! Is there an alternative?
The new Central Subway stations are very deep! They have some of the longest stairways in the country. The stairs and escalators can feel daunting for some. Please hold on to the railings when using the stairs, take your time and move safely. Remember to stand to the right and walk on the left on the escalators.
Elevators are also an option, especially for customers with strollers, luggage or groceries. In Chinatown-Rose Pak Station, the elevators from the concourse to street level are located near the ticket machines. In Yerba Buena/Moscone Station the concourse to street elevators are located to the right when exiting the fate gates. In Union Square/Market Street Station the concourse to street elevators are in the middle of the concourse with a dedicated fare gate.
We will also be adding multilingual and accessible labels to the elevator buttons in all the stations.
Q: Which routes now require a new transfer and why? How do I connect to regional transit like BART, Caltrain and others from Central Subway?
A: DURING CENTRAL SUBWAY SPECIAL WEEKEND SERVICE: To transfer to BART from Central Subway get off at Union Square/Market Street Station and walk underground to Powell Station, which is served by both Muni and BART.
To connect to Caltrain, get off at Union Square/Market Street Station, walk underground to Powell Station and board the N Judah eastbound to Caltrain (4th & King). You can also get off at Union Square/Market Street Station, exit the station at Geary and Stockton streets and take the 30 Stockton or 45 Union/Stockton on the boarding island on the corner on Stockton Street at Geary Street. Note that this stop is currently unmarked.
A: STARTING JANUARY 7: On January 7, the T Third line will run from Chinatown-Rose Pak Station to Sunnydale via Central Subway. The K Ingleside will end at Embarcadero Station.
- To connect to BART from the new T Third line via Central Subway, get off at Union Square/Market Street Station and walk underground to Powell Station, which is served by both Muni and BART.
- To connect to Caltrain using Muni Metro, customers can take the N Judah or T Third to 4th and King streets.
- K Ingleside customers will transfer at Powell or Embarcadero to the N Judah for service to Folsom, Brannan and Oracle Park.
- For customers going to stops between Embarcadero and 4th and King, transfer to the N Judah at Powell, Embarcadero or 4th & King.
- For other regional transit like AC Transit, SamTrans and others, the best option is to connect at the Salesforce Transit Center on Beale Street between Mission and Howard streets, approximately a block south of Embarcadero Station. From the new T Third line via Central Subway, transfer at Union Square/Market Street Station to Powell Station and take any Muni Metro route to Embarcadero station. All other Metro routes will continue to serve Embarcadero Station.
Q: How long do customers have to make a transfer before being charged again?
A: 2 hours. Plenty of time to navigate between Powell Station and Union Square/Market Street Station! But note that during special weekend service, rides in Central Subway are free. Starting January 7 customers will need to tag into the fare gates.
Q: How do I get to Caltrain from West Portal?
A: DURING CENTRAL SUBWAY SPECIAL WEEKEND SERVICE: There are a few effective ways to make the trip from West Portal to Caltrain. Take any Metro route eastbound at West Portal, toward downtown, and transfer to the N Judah or T Third eastbound toward Caltrain (4th & King) at any of the Market Street subway stations, including Van Ness, Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero.
Alternately, take any Metro route eastbound at West Portal to Powell Station.
- Exit at Powell Station, walk east to 4th and Market streets (about four minutes) and catch the 30 Stockton or 45 Union/Stockton in front of Trader Joe’s on 4th Street.
- The 30 Stockton turns left on Townsend from 4th Street and stops across from the Caltrain depot.
- The 45 Union/Stockton turns onto Townsend from 5th Street and stops next to the Caltrain depot.
- Visit SFMTA.com/30 or SFMTA.com/45 for stop lists and interactive maps.
A: STARTING JANUARY 7: On January 7, the new T Third Metro route will run from Chinatown-Rose Pak to Sunnydale via Central Subway. The K Ingleside line will end at Embarcadero Station.
- For customers going to stops between Embarcadero and 4th and King, transfer to the N Judah.
- In addition to several existing options to get to Caltrain from West Portal (see above), customers can take any Metro route eastbound at West Portal, exit at Powell Station, transfer underground to the new Central Subway Union Square/Market Street Station and take the T Third southbound four stops to 4th & King.
Q: As of January 7 with the K Ingleside ends at Embarcader and the T Third connects to Central Subway from 4th and King, how do I get to Folsom, Brannan or 2nd & King?
A: For customers going to stops between Embarcadero and 4th and King, transfer to the N Judah at Powell, Embarcadero or 4th & King.
Q: How do the rail changes affect my bus route?
A: The opening of Central Subway special weekend service on November 19, 2022, and the start of new T Third line from Chinatown-Rose Pak via Central Subway on January 7, 2023, do not affect Muni bus routes.
However, the new Metro route provides a new alternative to multiple bus routes that also service the SoMa/Union Square/Chinatown areas. These include the 8 Bayshore, 8AX Bayshore Express A, 8 BX Bayshore Express B, 15 Bayview Hunter’s Point Express, 30 Stockton and 45 Union/Stockton.
Q: How will the opening of Central Subway affect service in Bayview?
A: Many Muni routes will continue to service the Bayview, Dogpatch, Visitacion Valley neighboring areas, including the T Third, 8 Bayshore, 8AX Bayshore Express A, 8BX Bayshore Express B, and 15 Bayview Hunters Point Express. Starting January 7, the T Third Metro line will run between Sunnydale and Chinatown via Central Subway, providing a more direct trip with fewer stops to SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown, and it will continue to serve Chase Center.
At 4th and King streets the T Third will continue northbound and will no longer run along King Street, the Embarcadero or the Market Street subway tunnel. For service to Oracle Park, the Embarcadero and the Market Street subway, customers can transfer to the N Judah at Powell, Embarcadero or 4th and King streets near Caltrain.
To connect to BART from the new T Third line via Central Subway, riders should get off at Union Square/Market Street Station and walk underground to Powell Station, which is served by both Muni and BART.
Q: How do I commute to the Chase Center from Central Subway?
A: DURING CENTRAL SUBWAY SPECIAL WEEKEND SERVICE: Customers should continue to take the T Third Metro line to go to Chase Center.
A: STARTING JANUARY 7: On January 7, the T Third Metro route will change to run between Sunnydale and Chinatown via Central Subway and will continue to serve the Chase Center. If you’re riding the T Third, just keep riding! However, if you’re headed to Oracle Park, transfer to the N Judah at Powell, Embarcadero or 4th & King.
Shuttles will be running during events at Oracle Park and Chase Center. Customers traveling past Chase Center should check the train headsign to be sure it says “T Third.”