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Rail Recovery

Project Introduction

Muni rail service is being phased back into operation beginning on December 19, 2020, with the return of the J Church Metro rail line. Putting Muni rail back in service frees up Muni buses that are currently serving as substitutes for rail service, allowing the SFMTA to shift these buses to other high-demand routes and routes serving neighborhoods with high populations of transit-dependent residents.

We are focusing first on bringing back surface portions of rail lines that do not need to use the subway and that provide connections to the Market Street corridor. This lets us add buses to other lines while subway repairs continue. More rail lines and service will be added as subway work is completed and demand returns.

On December 19, the J Church returns temporarily as a surface-only route, with new temporary accessible transfers on Church Street at Market Street and at Duboce Street. These new temporary key stops will be important for customers with accessibility needs when subway service returns in 2021.

The T Third restarts rail service on January 23, 2021, once safety and operational improvements are finished at Embarcadero Station. The T Third will run temporarily between Sunnydale and Embarcadero Station. Trains will enter Embarcadero Station, serve the station, then turn back to Sunnydale. This allows us to provide connections from Sunnydale, 3rd Street and Mission Bay neighborhoods to downtown and Market Street.

In spring 2021, we aim to bring back N Judah Metro rail service temporarily between La Playa and 6th and King streets, pending subway repairs and COVID-19 developments. We expect the K Ingleside, L Taraval and M Ocean View to remain as bus routes through the spring as subway repairs continue, particularly in the Eureka Curve near Castro Station.

See the latest service information below and check back frequently for updates.

 

 

Temporary Service Details

*Subject to change.

December 19 Temporary Muni Metro Service Changes

J Church Metro Rail

  • Temporary service between Balboa Park and Church and Duboce streets
  • Daily, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. approximately every 12 minutes
  • Transfer to the K Ingleside bus, L Taraval bus or N Judah bus for service downtown

 

January 23 Temporary Muni Metro Service Changes

T Third Metro Rail

  • Temporary service between Sunnydale and Embarcadero Station.  Vehicles will enter Embarcadero Station, serve the station, then turn back. This allows us to provide connections to downtown and Market Street.
  • Evenings: Starting at 8:00 p.m. daily for evening subway maintenance, bus substitutions will provide Muni Metro service and Owl service at 10:00 p.m.
  • Weekends: Buses will serve the T Third from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. between Sunnydale and Steuart Street. Embarcadero Station opens at 8:00 a.m.

 

Temporary Bus Substitutions

J Church Bus effective until December 19

K Ingleside Bus

  • Between Balboa Park and Embarcadero/Ferry Plaza
  • Daily, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. approximately every 10-15 minutes. 
  • Metro rail line remains suspended until approximately spring 2021.

L Taraval Bus

  • Between SF Zoo and Embarcadero/Ferry Plaza
  • Daily, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. approximately every 10-15 minutes.
  • Metro rail line remains suspended until further notice.

N Judah Bus

  • Between Ocean Beach and Caltrain/4th & King
  • Daily, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. approximately every 8-10 minutes.
  • Metro rail line remains suspended until spring 2021, pending subway repairs and COVID developments.

M Ocean View Bus Community Shuttle

  • Between Balboa Park and West Portal Station
  • Daily, 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. approximately every 12 minutes.
  • Metro rail line remains suspended until approximately spring 2021.
  • For service to or from downtown, use L or K bus transfers at West Portal Station.

T Third Bus effective until January 23


 

We brought all Muni Metro service back in August 2020 and quickly discovered that we needed to shut down again to make significant repairs in the subway, particularly in the Eureka Curve near Castro Station. Work is ongoing to replace the faulty ballast and switches in the subway tunnel. For project details on the Eureka Curve Tunnel Work, visit SFMTA.com/EurekaCurve.

The current work in the subway will be completed in phases, and as successive rounds of subway repair finish, we will bring back service Muni Metro rail service in phases as well.

Phase One: Restoring rail without the subway

We are restoring surface rail that does not depend on the subway, which will free up buses and provide direct connections to other key routes and job corridors like Market Street. This includes bringing back the J Church surface line.

Phase Two: Restoring subway rail as subways repairs finish and stations reopen

As we complete the first round of subway work, we can reopen subway stations and plan to bring back Muni Metro rail service accordingly. The first station to reopen will be Embarcadero Station. That lets us bring back the T Third, which will turn around at Embarcadero Station. Customers can connect to multiple bus routes in Market Street and BART. T Third buses will be repurposed to other routes according to our service priorities.

Subway repair and reopening will continue west toward West Portal Station.

Phase Three: Sustaining and scaling up service

Eventually, once the subway is fully reopened, we plan to prioritize restoring or increasing Metro service where we see the highest demand and most need for capacity.


 

Service Priorities & Metro Phasing

Our goal is to provide as much consistent, reliable service as possible even though our vehicle resources are stretched during the coronavirus pandemic and we are faced with an ongoing budget deficit. In response to the evolving public health emergency, we have made service changes that:

  • Use our limited number of vehicles to provide Muni service throughout the city
  • Increase service on the highest-ridership routes to address demand and crowding
  • Add service for people who have access to fewer transportation options, including those who live and work in our neighborhoods identified by our Muni Service Equity Strategy. Add connections to essential locations in different parts of the city such as job and business corridors and medical facilities

To meet these goals, we are bringing Muni Metro lines back into service so we can free up buses to put in service on other routes. By gradually bringing rail lines back we aim to carefully test and gauge rail operation after months of inactivity to ensure we can safely and responsibly bring back Metro service.


 

Serving Transit-Dependent Neighborhoods

Freeing buses by restarting Muni Metro rail service helps put additional service where customers need it most, particularly customers who rely on public transportation for their livelihoods. Most of our essential workers live in the pandemic’s hardest-hit neighborhoods and don’t have as many transportation options to get to their essential jobs. Several of these neighborhoods are also identified by our Muni Equity Strategy.

COVID-19 is not only a health crisis, it is an economic crisis too. Improving job access for our essential workers is important for our city’s economic recovery. That’s why it’s vital as our city fights coronavirus that essential workers can get where they need to go.


 

Making Metro Rail Service More Reliable

As Muni Metro rail service returns, we are committed to making service more reliable and reduce the chronic delays and backups that Metro customers have experienced for years: Trains would be stuck outside the tunnels, between stations and on the platforms for long periods, often unable to let customers on or off. A major cause for these problems is structural – we move all seven of our Muni Metro rail lines through a single subway tunnel and backups or slowdowns cause ripple effects across the Muni system, making service less reliable not just on Muni Metro line but on other Muni lines as well.

Our subway system moves our highest volumes of customers through the core of the city. It is important that we take the opportunity to improve our rail service so that we can deliver people to their destinations reliably.

In August 2020, we premiered a temporary new configuration for Muni Metro that will help improve the system. For more information about subway traffic limitations, the temporary Muni Metro configuration proposed in August 2020 and the rationale for that configuration, visit the August 2020 Rail Recovery project update.

Here is an image of the detailed temporary new Muni Metro map developed in August 2020.

New detailed Muni Metro map

 

To provide feedback please use our feedback form.

Contact Information
Mariana Maguire
415.302.3224