The SFMTA sent out an alert late Sunday telling all those who are still commuting by bus and anyone needing bus transportation to expect major delays Monday and Tuesday due to staffing shortages. And starting Wednesday, the entire system will be reduced to just 17 core lines.
After shutting down the underground Metro tunnels and train system last week, the transit agency is now taking further steps to both protect its drivers and ensure social distancing on its remaining core bus routes. But this will entail shutting down dozens of routes entirely, including the 2-Clement, 3-Jackson, 5-Fulton, 7-Haight, 10-Townsend, 21-Hayes and 31-Balboa. No buses will run on those routes starting Tuesday, April 7.
In a tweet on Sunday, Muni transportation director Jeffrey Tumlin wrote, "I never thought I'd say this: Please don't take Muni if you have other options. Muni is only for essential workers + trips. We're short >30% of operators. Monday will be a mess." He further added that transit planners had been working all weekend to rebuild the entire bus schedule, a task that would typically take four months.
"Our priority is to be fully transparent with the community," the SFMTA said in an email to media Monday morning. "Our goal is to restore normal service as quickly as possible. However, in the interim, we will prioritize our available resources based on connections to medical facilities, Muni’s Equity Strategy, and data from customer travel patterns we’ve observed during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order."
The remaining 17 core routes that will continue running on limited schedules are:
- N Judah Bus
- L Taraval Bus
- T Third Bus
- 22 Fillmore
- 24 Divisadero
- 25 Treasure Island
- 29 Sunset
- 1 California
- 8 Bayshore
- 9 San Bruno
- 14 Mission
- 14R Mission Rapid
- 19 Polk
- 38 Geary
- 38R Geary Rapid
- 44 O'Shaughnessy
- 49 Van Ness/Mission
Those limited schedules will begin on Wednesday, April 8, and below shows what the COVID-era route map will look like. The SFMTA says this reduced schedule and number of routes "will provide service within one mile of all San Franciscans," and will make it so that "remaining essential workers have the space to maintain recommended distances on Muni."
Our two priorities:— jeffreytumlin (@jeffreytumlin) April 6, 2020
Protect the health and safety of our workforce
Deliver essential workers to work safely
Our transit planners have been working all weekend to rebuild the entire schedule, a task that would normally take 4 months. We'll be able to share details soon. The rollout will not be smooth— jeffreytumlin (@jeffreytumlin) April 6, 2020
Evidence of overcrowding on remaining bus lines arrived immediately last week after the light-rail trains went offline.
Muni was reportedly losing $1 million per week due to the pandemic crisis and sheltering orders, and a decision was made to stop Muni Metro service and focus resources on ongoing maintenance projects.
As Tumlin writes on Twitter, "Remember: Our operators, mechanics, car cleaners and line supervisors are frontline workers, taking risks because they believe in public service. Do yell at me if you're late for work, but please thank them for their heroic work in these times."
Photo courtesy of SFMTA