The Muni Metro system is slowly coming back alive, and you may have seen out-of-service trains getting moved around and systems being tested over the holiday weekend. Come Saturday, January 23, the T-Third Street line will be coming back into service, along with a few old and new bus routes.
Things appear to be on schedule after an early December announcement about the phasing in of Muni Metro light-rail service, which began last month with the J-Church line. That will be followed this coming weekend with the revival of the T-Third Street line, as NBC Bay Area confirms, at least part of its route anyway. Trains will run between Sunnydale and Embarcadero Station. With no underground train service yet back in action, riders will have to transfer there to buses above ground.
As reported last year, as part of some grand re-thinking of the Metro system, the J-Church will no longer travel downtown now terminates at Church and Market, and riders have to transfer to buses or underground trains there.
But, when the N-Judah returns to service — possibly in February though the SFMTA is still saying "February or March" — that means underground service will be back, and the full length of Muni tracks between Sunnydale and Ocean Beach will be back in action. Also planned for next month (or March) will be an S-Shuttle connected Embarcadero and West Portal.
The K, L, and M will remain bus routes through the spring, as the SFMTA announced last month, as repairs continue in the tunnels. And as reported earlier, the M will be the only one of those three lines to continue on its former route through the main Market Street tunnel to downtown. The K and L lines will combine into a single route connecting the SF Zoo to City College, and riders heading downtown will have to transfer at West Portal to an M/T or S train.
Allegedly, as the SFMTA said last week, wi-fi service in the train tunnels is supposed to be operational by the time the train system comes back online. But we've heard that before.
For now, as the T-Third comes back alive, it means about 20 buses are freed up to take on other routes, two of which will be new for 2021. The 55-Dogpatch, first announced last year, will better connect the Dogpatch neighborhood with Potrero Hill and the Mission; and the new 15-Bayview Hunters Point Express will better connect the southern part of the city with downtown — providing faster service, presumably, than the T.
Also this Saturday, per NBC Bay Area, the 27-Bryant, 33-Ashbury, and 37-Corbett will also be returning to service.