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Central Subway Project

SFMTA.com/Central
Project Introduction

Welcome to the New Central Subway!

San Francisco recently opened its first new subway in over 40 years, with three new underground stations and one above-ground station joining the Muni Metro T Third line. By extending the T Third 1.7 miles through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown, there is now faster, smoother transit service between some of the city’s busiest, most vibrant areas.

The new T Third line from Chinatown Rose-Pak to Sunnydale started on January 7, 2023, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. The new T Third line continues to provide service along 3rd and 4th streets and now extends north to four new stations: 4th & BrannanYerba Buena/Moscone StationUnion Square/Market Street Station and Chinatown-Rose Pak Station. The T Third is no longer running along King Street, the Embarcadero or Market Street.

    Project Timeline 
    Design
    2009-2013
    Completed
    Construction
    2011 - Spring 2021
    Pending
    Testing
    2021-2022
    Pending
    Revenue Service
    Winter 2023
    Pending
    Project Status
    Implementation / Construction
    Current
    Improvements
    Muni Metro train
    bus
    bike
    walking
    SFMTA Accessibility icon
    Streetscape
    Bus Routes and Rail Lines
    Streets
    Stockton Street, 4th Street

    Project Background

    Planning for Central Subway began in the late 1980s to provide more transit on 3rd Street and in Chinatown. After six years of construction, the first part of the T Third opened on 3rd Street in 2007. It connects neighborhoods in Mission Bay, Bayview, Hunter’s Point and Visitacion Valley. In 2013, work began to add 1.7 miles to the T Third, with four new stations in SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown. Tunnels over a mile long under the streets are as deep as 120 feet in some areas. The project cost $1.9 billion, provided by the Federal Transit Administration, the State of California, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the City and County of San Francisco.

     

    Project Implementation

    Construction Phase

    • Building launch box for tunnel boring machines on 4th between Harrison and Bryant
    • Excavating tunnels by tunnel boring machines beneath SF
    • Building stations, surface tracks, and systems
    • Installing new track interchange at 4th and King and 4th Street surface tracks
    • Completing major excavation for Yerba Buena/Moscone Station and Union Square/Market Street Station and pivoting work toward interior construction

    Testing Phase

    • Inspecting fire sprinklers installed in tunnels to ensure they respond to fire alarm activation
    • Testing emergency ventilation fans for adequate tunnel air supply and extraction
    • Conducting safety drills and developing contingency plans in the event of a passenger evacuation or first responders needing access to an incident in the tunnel
    • Verifying automatic train control system guides the automatic movement of light rail vehicles properly through tunnels
    • Assessing radio and data communication systems for effective delivery of audio and visual announcements to customers and automatic vehicle location data to the Transportation Management Center
    • Inspecting customer information system and certifying Metro audio announcements and displays are working correctly.

    Service

    Service for the Central Subway has begun with free weekend-only service between Chinatown-Rose Pak and 4th/Brannan stations, followed by revenue service beginning January 7, 2023 seven days a week between Sunnydale and Chinatown. During the final phase, project staff will continue to engage our community partners in Bayview, SOMA, Union Square and Chinatown and inform customers about the service changes to Muni’s Metro system.

       

    Additional Resources

    Office Hours

    Have a question about the Central Subway Project?  Stop by our construction office to get assistance from project staff during our Community Drop-In Office Hours:

    Central Subway Project Office
    530 Bush St. Suite 400 (4th Floor)
    M-F 9am to 5pm

    Funding

    The Central Subway Project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the State of California, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the City and County of San Francisco.

    The majority of funding for the Central Subway Project is provided by the FTA’s New Starts program, with a total commitment over the life of the project of $948.4 million. An additional $41 million in federal funds is designated to the project as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which supports environmental efforts for surface transportation and related projects. The federal funds allocated for the Central Subway Project cannot be redirected for investment in any other San Francisco projects.

    The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) baseline budget for the Central Subway Project is approximately $1.95 billion. There has been no increase in the local funding commitment since original voter approval in 2003 of $126 million in Proposition B/K sales tax funds.

    In total, about half of the funding for the entire Third Street Light Rail Transit Project is from federal sources, with the remaining half from state and local sources.  The Central Subway Project is one of the nation’s highest-rated projects in the FTA's New Starts program.

    Project video(s)
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    San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development logo
    Contact Information
    Enrique Aguilar, Public Information Officer
    415.646.2395