SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The video, first obtained by the San Francisco Examiner is hard to watch. It shows an elderly woman attempting to enter the new N-Judah train last Friday. It appears her hand becomes caught in the door. A Muni staff member in a yellow hazard vest approaches her and gestures to her to move away from the car.
The train begins to move, and she’s quickly pulled down between the train and the platform.
“I turn around and I saw this frail woman getting dragged along with this train, she’s like running trying to keep up with it a little bit,” said witness Will Hayworth. “But the train’s not slowing down, it’s just like moving along, and she’s just getting dragged along, and I’m like ‘oh my God.’”
Hayworth says he and other riders made a commotion when they realized what was happening.
“The thing that really bothered me was that people were literally yelling stop, I joined in the chorus as soon as I saw what was going on, yelling stop, stop, pounding on the car,” he added.
He says perhaps the operator didn’t notice.
The woman was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital. A spokesperson could not elaborate on her condition, but says she has since been discharged from the hospital.
The California Public Utilities Commission is now investigating the new Muni streetcar doors. The trains were first unveiled in late 2017. It’s also looking into failed shear pins that connect the cars. The recent discovery forced Muni to check all of its newer trains.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency tells KPIX it believes the new trains are safe, and they were certified by the CPUC.
Its statement reads in part:
“While we meet all of the technical requirements and regulations, we always want to take advantage of technology developments and continue to make improvements to the design. This is why we are currently exploring additional door enhancements on seven trains that have been outfitted with a second sensitive edge.”
The SFMTA added that this provides another layer of protection to offset unsafe behavior, such as trying to grab the doors as the train is leaving the station.