The latest effort to make Muni suck just a little less has, surprise surprise, run into delays. A software bug has prevented Muni from safely implementing its planned program of double berthing at Muni underground stations, and there is no timeline for when it will be fixed.
The idea was announced back in the fall of 2013, and promised to speed up boarding and disembarking by allowing two three-car trains to stop at the same platform simultaneously the platforms, you see, were designed for it, and/or for longer trains. This change, like the one allowing back-door boarding of Muni buses, seems intuitive and would likely be welcomed by commuters.
At the time, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Transit Director John Haley told Streetsblog of the agency's progress.
“The tests on the software so far have been positive with no bugs or glitches found,” explained Haley. “The software and hardware are installed and if the Live Field tests go well we would target Late October / early November to start in service.”
Two years on, despite a brief trial run in May, there is still no double berthing at underground Muni stations.
So what gives? Well, it turns out there were some bugs after all.
Hoodline tracked down SFMTA spokesperson Robert Lyles, who spoke of the yet unresolved safety concerns that developed during the trial run.
"Trains operating in the subway are controlled by computer automation to both prevent congestion and eliminate the potential for operator error collisions," said Lyles. "The software needed for double-stopping must work in concert with our vitally needed automation software. Since the two systems are not operating congruously, the matter was referred to the software designer —Thales Group—to devise a fix."
As to when we should expect a fix from the city contractor, Lyles couldn't say. He was, however, able to 100 percent and without any equivocation lay the blame for double-berthing's delay on the company.
"We are disappointed that Thales has been unable to engineer a software fix for full system integration," noted Lyles.
A disappointment that, we're sure, is shared by many. But hey, it's Muni, so we're all pretty used to it.
Previously: Muni Metro Could Suck Slightly Less Next Month