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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Muni Metro to West Portal or St. Francis Circle?

Muni to Chinatown Station?

Ever ride Muni metro going outbound and notice the sign on the train says "West Portal?"  This typically happens when the metro is trying to recover from a delay or providing additional service for a ballgame at AT&T Park or a major event in downtown.

In order for Muni trains to turn-around, they use the switchback down at St. Francis Circle.  Muni used to do this at the L-Taraval track turn-off at West Portal Station in front of the library, but that sometimes holds up train traffic.

What I normally do when I want to visit downtown is I park near St. Francis Circle because there's always available parking and no meters.  It also helps me get access to my car on the way back so I can go grocery shopping or get dinner.

The reason why I'm blogging about this is to ask Muni why the metro signs say "West Portal" when the true destination of the train is actually St. Francis Circle?

I encountered a problem on Sunday when I boarded train 1478, an outbound shuttle train stating "West Portal."

When the train reached West Portal, I kindly asked the driver if she's continuing onto St. Francis Circle. Usually, operators will allow passengers to stay on for the short ride the next two stops (14th/West Portal and St. Francis Circle), but when I asked the driver if it's going to St. Francis Circle, she said "NO" and pointed her finger towards the door to tell me to catch the next train.

I told the driver of 1478 that my car is parked there and that since the train is being turned around at that point, if I could stay aboard.  She said to me: "You work for Muni?"  I said: "no I did not" and I was booted off the train with another fellow passenger getting off at the same stop.  In fact, two other passengers sitting down and in plain sight of the driver's mirror wasn't asked to leave the train, only me and the other passenger who was bold enough to ask the driver.

The fellow passenger and I waited for the next train, luckily it was a K-Ingleside train, and we were following train 1478 towards St. Francis Circle.  Instead of taking 1478, the K-Ingleside train had to wait for five minutes for the 1478 to clear out of the way so we could advance to the stop and be let off.

So... what's Muni's official policy regarding trains bound for "West Portal?"  Is operators required to continue to haul passengers to St. Francis Circle?  Or why isn't Muni operators programming the signs to actually say "St. Francis Circle?"


Anonymous said...

My guess is to save time to dump everybody at West Portal so they can turn the train around at St. Francis Circle faster?

Akit said...

There's no difference. The operator opens all the train doors once parked in the outbound track at St. Francis Circle stop/platform. Everyone just gets out and the driver moves to the other end of the train set and turns around.