T-Third problems delay Muni commuters 

On the T-Third’s second day of full commuter service, Muni officials admitted that the newest metro line is less than perfect.

After three months of weekend-only service, the T-Third — which runs from Castro and Market streets to Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale Avenue — went full time Saturday, carrying its first full load of weekday commuters Monday.

Since Saturday, however, two T-Third trains have broken down and there have been heavy delays throughout the line, Municipal Transportation Agency Chief Operating Officer Kenneth McDonald said.

The new 5.1-mile line cost The City $613 million — $30 million more than the approved budget — and is meant to connect some of San Francisco’s most underserved neighborhoods, including Bayview-Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley, with downtown.

The line has been operating only on weekends since January to give Muni enough time to work out the kinks. But the T-Third has been plagued by hefty delays each day since starting full-time service.

McDonald blamed a San Francisco Giants game and a broken train for the 20- to 30-minute delays on the line Saturday. He said unloading crowds of people at Fourth and King streets gummed up the works.

McDonald said it took T-Third trains 15 minutes to travel from Fourth and King streets to the Embarcadero station on Sunday when it should only take seven to eight minutes. He did not have an explanation for the delay.

T-Third rider Christopher Haire said he can walk from Fourth and King streets to the Embarcadero station faster than the new line.

"It takes 10 minutes at Fourth and King to wait for a train. Then it takes 20 minutes for it to come around to the Embarcadero," he said Tuesday. "I pay $50 a month for a Fast Pass, and I can walk it faster."

McDonald said a second T-Third train broke down at Market and Third streets Monday evening, causing 25-minute delays. He did not say why the trains broke down.

The T-Third’s new service also altered the existing routes of four bus lines and two light rail lines, causing some riders grief.

"They need to bring it back," Erin Austin-Perro said, referring to the 15-Third bus that was replaced by the T-Third. About 30,000 people used to ride the 15-Third each weekday, according to Muni.

arocha@examiner.com

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