Muni aims to ease N-Judah congestion with bus shuttles 

Muni is considering running express buses to ease overcrowding on its heavily-used N-Judah line, but the idea is meeting with a lukewarm reception from some Sunset district residents.

Starting June 13, Muni has proposed adding nine morning and eight evening buses along the route of the N-Judah, which travels from Ocean Beach to the Financial District. With 38,000 daily passengers, the N-Judah is the busiest transit line in San Francisco.

The buses would make 11 local stops between 48th and 19th avenues, before running nonstop back and forth to Bush and Montgomery streets. The buses would travel down Lincoln Boulevard, Masonic Avenue and Oak Street on the inbound route, and Sutter Street, Geary Street, and Park Presidio Boulevard on the outbound leg.

The six-month pilot project, which is expected to cost $900,000, is designed to limit crowds on the N-Judah, which is packed by the time it gets to stops in the Inner Sunset neighborhood, said Muni transit director John Haley. The agency is predicting that bus passengers will be able to travel the length of the N-Judah line in 38-39 minutes—faster than the existing 40-minute service.

“We think passengers in the outer neighborhoods will realize the bus service is just as fast as the N-Judah line,” said Haley. “And that will free up space for the passengers further down the line.”

Haley said the agency is projecting about 1,000 – 1,500 daily boardings on the shuttle line.

Sunset District resident and transit activist Greg Dewar, who runs a blog called the N-Judah Chronicles, expressed doubts about the plan. He said the major crowds on the N-Judah board east of 19th Avenue, so the train will continue to remain packed. He also said that adding buses to heavily-traveled corridors such asMasonic Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard will only bog down traffic for commuters.

John Bouvier, a member of the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, a community organization, echoed Dewar’s sentiments. He said Muni’s proposed solution was watered-down and didn’t address the system’s real needs—more light-rail service.

Residents in the Outer Sunset neighborhoods also expressed concerns about Muni’s plan, albeit for different reasons. Steve Ward, a resident in La Playa Park near Ocean Beach, said neighbors had qualms about Muni staging idling buses on the Great Highway.

Not every citizen, however, expressed disdain for the plan.

Martin Alperen, an Inner Sunset resident and N-Judah rider, said the supplemental bus service was a great idea that would reduce crowds on the train.

“I might actually get a place to sit on the N-Judah,” said Alperen. “That would be nice for a change.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

 

Details of the proposal

$1.8 million: Annual costs of shuttle service ($900,000 for six-month pilot)
32: Daily trips by the shuttle service
1,000 – 1,500: Estimated daily boardings on the shuttle service
38,000: Average daily boardings on current N-Judah service
9 miles: Total length of N-Judah line
40 minutes: Current end-to-end travel time on N-Judah
38-39 minutes: Projected end-to-end travel time on bus shuttle
6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Proposed morning service for shuttle line
4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Proposed evening service for shuttle line

Source: Muni

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Will Reisman

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