After enduring a number of painful delays on the Muni underground himself, SFMTA board member Malcolm Heinicke called a meeting last week to discuss the "unusually" high number of delays in recent months. "The usually very efficient [Ed. Note: Ha!] and reliable [light-rail vehicles] have not been [reliable] in the last two months," admits Heinicke.
Ever wonder what the hell is going on that the trains can't just keep moving? Here's what we, the public, can learn from this meeting:
• The digital sensors that detect when trains are in the tunnel, thereby stopping other trains from moving, suck. They count axles going by, you see, but they consistently detect "ghost axles" -- basically bringing traffic to a halt when there's actually no train up ahead.
• The software that runs the trains sucks: Some defect in the software was responsible for 200 incidents in September alone in which a train driver did not receive the proper signal to switch from manual to automatic mode at the entrance of a tunnel.