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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Business https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Downed wire Friday adds Muni & # 39; s labor misery, crippling light rail system

Downed wire Friday adds Muni & # 39; s labor misery, crippling light rail system

An equipment failure in downtown San Francisco subway tunnel choked Muni service for more than 10 hours Friday, the last road to a transit system, reeling from operator shortages, passenger damage, and complaining about its new trains.

What has been a soap opera week for Muni hit a new dramatic point during Friday morning rush hour due to an overhead wire that came down between Powell and Civic Center stations. Reported at. 6:30, forced the accident to return to different places and let the commuters wait.

Muni started driving outbound trains on the incoming platform at. As maintenance crews scurried to finish repairs on the other hand. After a long day of getting rejected on social media, the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency ̵

1; which oversees Muni – has said it was "close" to solving the snuff.

In a blog post, the agency accused "decades of under-investment" in its infrastructure. Overhead wires, shifts and rails account for 49 percent of the problems in the subway, and the effect ripples to 160,000 everyday tubes.

The Interruption and delays come at a remarkable time for Muni, who was already struggling with an effort encouraged by the Transport Workers Union. Bus drivers this week began to call sick, take family medical leave and refuse to work on their off-days, resulting in fewer people at work and significant operational gaps, the agency said.

Muni, who pays drivers a start-up hourly wage of $ 22.70, has struggled with lack of operators. The agency is having trouble hiring, training, and maintaining them fast enough to cover revenue – a report in December said Muni is short of 400 drivers every day. So, the agency relies on drivers to work overtime, a dependency that the Union exploits during the negotiations on a new three-year contract.

People close to the negotiations say the two sides are still far apart when conversations are pulling on and commuters carrying

The driver acted on top of a violent incident where a woman's hand got stuck in the door to one of Muni's new Siemens trains and sent her to the tower. The San Francisco Transport Authority Board voted Tuesday to withhold $ 62 million to buy 151 new cars.

"There are just endless problems with the subway," said Prime Minister Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who was among the thousands of residents stranded under wire snafu.

He seemed confused by all the plot twists in the Munis transit saga. San Francisco recently made major investments to modernize its light rail, including major retrofits for the tunnel and the purchase of new railway wagons.

"This is not a New York situation where they just let the subway fall apart," Wiener said. "It's very frustrating."

But mechanical problems are nothing new in a transit system with unique challenges, ranging from hilly terrain to a multigenerational vehicle inventory to a metro wasting into the city streets. Friday's outbreak seemed unusually serious: 1,000 feet of thread went down, SFMTA spokeswoman Erica Kato said. The agency began investigating the incident while workers encrypted to tie the thread.

Officials stressed that the degradation was not linked to the ongoing shortcomings of car deficiencies and contract contests, and called on people not to tie Munis' problems.

The events of the week drew a scalding from Mayor London Breed, which follows close to Muni.

"For all our residents and commuters you deserve better," Breed tweeted late Friday afternoon. "Yes, we need to invest in Muni & our system. Yes, we need to expand and improve our fleet. But what happened today and this week is unacceptable. MTA's focus is right now on solving the immediate problem and getting people to coming home. "

With trains that changed several times Friday morning, Muni gave free transfers between Embarcadero and Balboa Park stations.

Despite the transit agency's efforts, a patchwork of buses and BART trains was not enough to accommodate thousands of people who drive the subway downtown every day. People kicked off the N-Juda and J-Metro trains that couldn't get into Church Street Station, filled an F-Market & Wharves tram platform at Church and Market streets. Unhappy riders packed every historic tram as soon as it arrived.

"People don't want to spend two hours getting to work," said Suzanne Robinson, who spent two hours commuting to the dentist's appointment – a trip that should have taken about 45 minutes. She fears Bay Area's transit woes will damage the regional economy and drive people away "to places like Idaho."

Some riders experienced Friday's collapse as an illustration of many problems at Muni. The agency came under a microscope in City Hall last year after a partial summer breakdown caused by the closure of the Twin Peaks Tunnel. It was noted by Mayor London Breed, who later intervened after a series of harassment complaints about former Muni director John Haley, who suddenly retired in October.

The Board of Directors now requests monthly status reports on bus and underground service and acting transit director Julie Kirschbaum has set goals for improvement. At the same time, transit officials have "doubled in repairs" during hours when the subway is not running, says Director Gwyneth Borden.

Perhaps the work should ramp up, she musked and noted that further repairs would be another inconvenience to the passengers because Muni was to reduce night and weekend service.

On Friday, the riders said they did not see any progress.

"It gets worse every day. It's one thing after another," Robert Johnson said as he pushed and squeezed into an already full F tram.

"It's a mess," said Liz Kennedy, 32, trying to make her from Cole Valley to work near the market and Montgomery streets. "This is the second time in two weeks I've been kicked out of N. They gave us very few instructions, just stopped and opened the doors as if we were to know what to do."

at 10:15 am, the old streetcars are connected by large articulated buses, which quickly spread the crowds on the F platform. Still commuters of commuters who are filtered up from the Church Station and from N-Judah stop closest to the metro station.

Flooded Muni workers stopped the traffic to let people cross the traffic to the shuttles.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, whose district includes Castro, Noe Valley and the busy J-Church line, said that he is embarrassed to the city.

"SFMTA & # 39; makes a terrible job explaining why we shouldn't be completely confused by what seems to be a total problem in the agency," Mandelman said. He added that the establishment of Muni should be "among the top priorities of the City Hall" and it may be necessary to hire an external expert or make a top-to-bottom evaluation of "what actually happens in the agency."

Rachel Swan and Michael Cabanatuan are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: rswan@sfchronicle.com, mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rachelswan @ctuan

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