At about the same time that Nathaniel Ford takes over as the new head of Muni, using the subway is going to get very confusing. But don't panic: we've got tips here for avoiding delays, and also predictions about how Muni could make this a smooth process, but will instead opt to completely f**k things up. (PS: And don't forget to submit your Muni stories for our Dear Mr Ford feature!)

The Facts:
- This starts January 17. It'll last for a year. There'll be more schedule changes starting on January 28, but it's unclear what they'll be.
- The downtown subway stations, from Church to Caltrain, are going to shut down every night at some time between 9:30 and 10 pm. The stations will open at 7 (instead of 6) on Sundays.
- Bus service will replace subway service.
- They're doing this so they can replace the rigid overhead wires with flexible ones. Interestingly, some experts tell us that most other cities opt for rigid over flexible. Go figure.

How to Avoid Additional Delays:
- Get a freaking bike already.
- Don't plan on travelling on Market Street between 9:00 and 10:30 pm.
- We generally advise that you pad your commute with an extra 20 minutes per bus-boarding. If you plan on travelling on Market Street after 9:00 pm, give yourself another 20 minutes on top of that.
- If you must travel in the afflicted area between 9:00 and 10:30, be vigilant when you approach the station: look for an indication of whether you should be going downstairs to the subway or waiting upstairs for a bus.
- If (we mean, ) the busses bunch up, or are late, or fail to call out the stops, get the driver's badge number and the bus number and complain about them here, so that Muni can ignore the issue more officially.

After the jump: we prognosticate about how Muni will make this as painful as possible.