The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today reminds Muni customers that on Mon., June 13 it will implement a new strategy to increase capacity on Muni's most popular light rail line, the N Judah. With a daily ridership of nearly 40,000, the N Judah carries almost 30 percent of all Muni's rail customers. The weekday, peak-hour Nx Judah Express Bus service will operate in addition to existing N Judah Rail service, which will not be affected.
"I am pleased to see the SFMTA working on a real solution to the concerns of Muni customers," said Carmen Chu, supervisor for District 4. "The N Judah Express pilot will be an improvement for the many riders in the outer Sunset but also for those all along the N Judah line who haven't been able to get on overcrowded trains."
"We hope this pilot will prove to be a solution for the overcrowding on the N Judah," said Tom Nolan, chairman of the board of directors. "The N Line is a real workhorse for Muni and we want to make sure that we can accommodate the large ridership."
"We are continually looking for opportunities to improve the Muni system," said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., executive director/CEO. "As a pilot, this program will show us if this is a feasible solution, and whether any further changes need to be made. In the absence of additional rail vehicles, we want to provide some much-needed expanded capacity along this major commuting corridor."
The pilot program will use buses traveling between the Financial District and Ocean Beach to alleviate overcrowding and improve reliability on the N Judah Line during the morning and afternoon commutes. The service, dubbed the Nx Judah Express, will operate locally between 48th and 19th avenues and travel express between 19th Avenue and the Financial District. Thus, it will provide N Judah customers in the outer avenues a choice between express bus service, with limited stops, into and out of downtown approximately every 10 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours or regular rail service.
Nx Judah Express buses will be easily recognizable by a distinctive blue stripe around the roof line and windshield, purple colored lights and the Nx Judah Express logo featured prominently on the bus exterior. The overhead destination signs will read:
Inbound: JUDAH EXP
Last Stop 19th Ave.
Outbound: JUDAH EXP
First Stop 19th Ave.
Maps displaying local Nx stops and the express service route will be posted inside each vehicle. A detailed route map is available on the SFMTA website. There will be no additional fare for Nx Judah Express Bus service. The annual cost of the pilot is $1.8 million.
SFMTA Ambassadors will be on hand in the Outer Sunset the mornings of Thursday and Friday this week to let customers know about their options prior to the start of the pilot. Beginning Mon., June 13 through Wed., June 15, SFMTA Ambassadors will also be in the field in the mornings and afternoons providing further assistance to customers as they learn about the new service.
The initial proposal for the Nx Judah service would have required removing parking spaces on the Great Highway. In response to community feedback, the plan was revised to avoid parking removal.
The Nx Judah service was developed as part of the Service Restoration Working Group (SRWG), a joint effort between the Mayor's Office, board of supervisors president David Chiu, the Office of the Controller and the SFMTA, last fall. After the SFMTA restored most of last May's service cuts in September, the SRWG worked to identify plans for restoring the remaining five percent of service hours left from the May service cuts. The Working Group evaluated the funding needed to restore service and identified possible expenditure reductions and revenue sources to accomplish the restoration of service.