SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ committee took Muni officials to task Monday for forcing riders off streetcars before they reach their destinations.
The transit agency maintains it uses so-called “switchbacks” simply to keep the LRVs on schedule.
KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:
Monday’s hearing was in response to complaints from Muni riders about abrupt, unscheduled halts in light rail service in San Francisco’s Sunset District.
“It’s not where you want to be hanging around on a cold, foggy night,” argued one frustrated rider. “Or as far as that goes, anytime, waiting for a train that may not come.”
“When you’re put off the train in the middle of the night and there’s no train, it’s really a problem,” another man addressed the committee.
“I’ve been kicked off at 10:30 p.m. eleven blocks from my home,” a woman added.
“We feel that we enter into a contract when the front of the train says Ocean Beach, we expect that it’s going to go to Ocean Beach,” reasoned another woman.
Muni operations chief John Haley explained that switchbacks were used to keep the streetcars on schedule, and rarely happened. Haley maintained switchbacks impact very few riders.
“For the residents who need to get home, that’s simply not an acceptable answer,” countered supervisor Carmen Chu, who called the hearing.
“It’s a problem in terms of reliability and also in terms of the public’s trust about our transportation system,” Chu added.
According to Muni, without the switchbacks, service would be more unpredictable and delays would be longer. Riders suggested that operators should advise them when they board that the streetcar isn’t going all the way to its stated destination.
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