SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — City officials in San Francisco announced Friday that the train service on Muni’s K Ingleside line would resume next month on May 15.

The announcement released by Mayor London Breed and District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar confirmed that the line would be returning to operation earlier than anticipated by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) officials. The agency is in the process of restoring transit service for riders to support the reopening of the city’s economic recovery as pandemic restrictions are reduced.

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The K Ingleside will join the previously announced N Judah as part of Muni’s commitment to reopening the subway and maximizing transit access across San Francisco.

“The return of the K is an important step forward in bringing back the type of Muni service that San Francisco needs as we emerge from this pandemic,” Mayor Breed said in the announcement. “This last year forced us to change so much about how our city operates, and one of the hardest parts was the impact it had on our public transit. But while trains and buses weren’t able to run at normal levels, the SFMTA used that time to make important upgrades and repairs to our infrastructure and prepare for the future. Now I’m excited to see more and more people riding Muni to get around San Francisco.”

The agency has struggled during the past year of the pandemic with the extended shutdowns of rail service. Equipment problems and staffing issues from workers getting sick with COVID-19 forced the system to shut down rail service last August only weeks after it had been restored following the initial five-month pandemic closure.

Bus lines have replaced all Muni light rail routes during the service shutdown.

However, officials say the extended closure of the rail system allowed the agency to complete important maintenance work and upgrades that would not have been possible during normal Muni service when crews can only work a few hours late at night and early in the morning.

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Among the improvements for Muni Metro riders include wider wi-fi availability after routers were installed in stations and cellular antennas installed in the tunnels, the installation of new wayfinding and directional signs at Castro and Church stations, overhead line enhancements and rail grinding to make for smoother trips and the installation of public art at the Castro and West Portal stations.

“We are ecstatic to see the K light rail service coming back in May. We are reopening, our folks are getting vaccinated, our merchants are seeing an uptick in foot traffic and connecting businesses to their customers is critical to economic recovery and vitality,: said Supervisor Melgar. “The K light rail is crucial for District 7—not just our businesses but also our institutions, such as our SFUSD schools and City College.”

The K Ingleside will once again be “interlined” with the T Third line, meaning the two routes will operate as a single train line running from Balboa Park to Sunnydale while providing subway service at all stations from Embarcadero to West Portal.

Earlier this week, two supervisors proposed legislation to fund a three-month pilot program providing free public transit to boost SF Muni ridership after it plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the proposal, the board would appropriate funds for the program with the condition the program start on July 1.

In a statement, Muni officials said the agency is open to working with the supervisors on addressing affordability, but the details surrounding the free transit program still need to be hammered out as resources remain scarce.

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Muni officials remind residents that to help stop the spread of COVID-19, face masks are required by federal law in Muni stations, when purchasing a ticket and while waiting for, boarding, riding or exiting transit. For more information on upcoming Muni service, visit sfmta.com.