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San Francisco Muni Metro Service Restored After Daylong Disruptions

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Transportation officials said Friday evening that the power line issues between the Powell Street and Civic Center stations which shut down Muni Metro subway service in downtown San Francisco at 6:30 a.m. had been restored.

Officials said that Muni began running underground outbound service from downtown stations around 5 p.m. with inbound subway service restored around 8 p.m.

Passengers had been asked to board outbound trains on the eastern end of the inbound platform at Montgomery, Powell, Civic Center, Van Ness and Church stations.

Partial service on Muni Metro is bringing passengers as far as Church station, but surface buses are taking passengers the rest of the way downtown.

San Francisco Giants fans were advised to take BART to Embarcadero before switching to the T Line to get to Oracle Park.

SFMTA officials said the service outage began at about 6:33 a.m. when a dislodged overhead line caused a train to stall in the tunnel between Powell and Civic Center, halting train service from Church to Embarcadero.

The outage sent commuters who use the metro to travel through the downtown stations scrambling to find alternative modes of transit.

Officials said emergency bus shuttles had been deployed for travel between the Castro and Embarcadero stations. BART officials said they would honor Muni fares for commuters heading to the Montgomery, Powell and Civic Center stations.

The transit agency has been providing some detailed updates to service via its social media accounts.

Muni was also putting into service extra street cars on Market Street to ease the commute.

Friday afternoon, the SFMTA announced that the work was continuing to restore power between Powell and Civic Center and that service was expected to be restored by Friday evening. Transit officials apologized for the inconvenience to Muni riders.

The SFMTA also released photos of crews working on the overhead line that officials said the lines that provide the power to Muni light rail vehicles became detached between the Powell Street and Civic Center stations.

Overhead line dislodged in Muni tunnel
Overhead line dislodged in Muni tunnel (SFMTA)

Additionally, the transit service reporting issues several times on the N-Judah line due stalled trains during the day Friday. Operational streetcars were switching back at Sunset.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed addressed the issues with Muni, calling what happened with the transit service failures on Friday and in recent weeks "unacceptable."

Not surprisingly, many San Francisco commuters also took to social media to vent their displeasure at the often troubled transit service.

Crews continue to work to resolve the problem as soon as possible. SFMTA spokesperson Erica Kato said officials were optimistic that service would be restored in time for the afternoon commute.

The service meltdown on Friday was just the latest in a series of highly publicized problems for Muni.

Earlier in April, an elderly woman attempting to enter the new N-Judah train got her hand caught in the door. A Muni staff member told her to move away from the car, but the train began to move and she was quickly pulled down between the train and the platform.

The temporary solution SFMTA offered earlier this week was to simply keep some of the train doors locked altogether.

The incident prompted Muni to ask the manufacturer questions about the safety of the new fleet.

The door issue with the new trains comes after a shear pin -- the mechanism that joins two cars together -- broke off on a new train. That spurred an inspection of the cars that turned up a second broken coupling pin.

Muni's solution to that problem has been to run the new trains as single cars only.

Despite the issues, the SFMTA says it stands by the manufacturer and has more cars on order.

"They've been very transparent with their findings and they seem very committed to working with us to find a solution," said Kirschbaum.

Muni has 60 of the new cars in its fleet right now, with eight more on the way.

The SFMTA is bringing in an independent consultant to figure out what's next, and continue working with the manufacturer and the state public utilities commission, which is doing its own investigation.

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