Reader Mail: More Unannounced Turnarounds on The N....
A bit belated, for sure, but too important to leave behind: Reader Warren wrote in earlier this week about unannounced turnarounds on the N, and CC'd a complaint he'd filed with MUNI. You'll recall that amidsta lot of hoopla we were told this wasn't going to happen anymore, but that didn't last long.
I urge you to read Reader Warren's complaint in full, because he followed it up with another email to me late tonight detailing yet another incident...by the same operator.
I'm documenting it here so it gets found by The Google and others and it becomes part of the permanent record of MUNI. Given that the mayoral-appointed MTA board has just voted to start the downward spiral of MUNI again, I figure this is a preview of coming attractions from our friends at the MTA.
Click through to see both letters, in their entirety. Now, wouldn't it be awesome if MUNI or someone acted on all of this? It would be. Doubtful anything will happen, but hey, documenting is the first part of the process...
Just wanted to inform you and your readers of a turnaround incident at Sunset Blvd. In short, passengers were let off at Sunset Blvd without prior notice. It was terribly cold this evening in the Outer Sunset, which prompted me to write a complaint to Muni via the "Contact the SFMTA" website at http://www.sfmta.com/cms/acontact/indxcont.htm. I have posted my complaint in it's entirety here, sans personal information, for your viewing pleasure.
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N-Judah Turnaround at Sunset Blvd without prior notice
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Date of Occurrence:
April 27, 2009
Time: (be sure to include a.m. or p.m.)
Judah Street at Sunset Boulevard
(4 digit number painted on all Muni vehicles except 2 digits for cable cars)
1438 and 1546
Direction of Travel:
(e.g., towards downtown, towards Ocean Beach, north, south, etc.)
towards Ocean Beach
Employee ID Number or Name:
(If available, the number on the employee's sleeve)
I would like to complain about an outbound (towards Ocean Beach) N Judah train turning around at Sunset Boulevard.
The train operator made a stop at Sunset Blvd and announced that it was the last stop. There was no prior announcement that the last stop would be at Sunset Boulevard. The signs on the trains indicated that the last stop would be Ocean Beach.
The following are my accounts of the event.
At 7:18 p.m. on April 27, 2009, train operator #1429 made an announcement on an outbound N-Judah train #1428 with train #1546 in tow at the Sunset Blvd stop that Sunset Blvd is the last stop. There was no prior announcement that it was the last stop. There was also no announcement that the train operator had approval to turn around. Passengers got off the train into a cold and windy street.
At 7:19 p.m., an inbound (toward Caltrain station) N-Judah passed by the Sunset Blvd. stop.
At 7:20 p.m., I checked www.nextmuni.com on my web-enabled phone to check when the next N-Judah will arrive. According to the website, the next train would arrive in 12 minutes at 7:32 p.m. My stop was at Judah Street and 46th Avenue. I calculated that the time it would take for me to walk from Sunset Blvd to 46th Ave would take me about 15 minutes. Rather than stand and wait in the cold for 12 minutes, I would instead walk 15 minutes toward 46th Avenue just so I would find a way to stay warm in the bitter cold.
At 7:23 p.m., the #1546 train headed inbound with train #1438 in tow.
At 7:24 p.m., another inbound train arrived at the Sunset Blvd station. This left zero trains in the queue at Ocean Beach.
At 7:35 p.m. I arrived at 46th Ave and Judah Street, my intended stop. I look towards Sunset Blvd but there were no trains in sight coming toward Ocean Beach. I checked www.nextmuni.com and it indicated that a train would arrive at the Sunset Blvd stop in 3 minutes, at 7:38 p.m., 6 minutes later than the original estimation.
A woman headed towards the inbound direction was waiting at the 46th and Judah stop. She appeared very flustered. It was apparent that she was flustered because there were absolutely no inbound trains in sight. I checked www.nextmuni.com to see when the next train is estimated to arrive at the 46th and Judah stop in the inbound direction. The website indicated that the next train would arrive at 8:00 p.m.
Ever since the San Francisco Giants baseball team started playing at Pac Bell/AT&T Park, I have come to expect turnarounds at 19th Avenue and Sunset Blvd. However, an August 6, 2008 article in the San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/06/BAE8125IPE.DTL&hw=MUNI&sn=003&sc=877) indicated that these turnarounds would not happen without prior approval. Based on my accounts, I cannot see why operator #1429 was given permission to turnaround early. There were already two trains headed toward Caltrain station at the time the turnaround was committed.
I do not wish that the operator be fired, but I do want to address the issue that turnarounds are still being made without any reasonable logic behind the acts.
I will also submit my comments to www.NJudahChronicles.com to make others aware of these acts.
Thank you for your time.
And now, amazingly, the same operator committed the same actions 3 days later, on April 30th:
I got dumped off the train at Sunset Blvd again this evening at7:20 p.m. I was on car #1407 with car #1508 in tow. The operator mentioned on block beforehand that Sunset Blvd was the last stop and that a train was right behind to pick us up. Not a problem, I thought to myself as there is a train behind me. But out of curiosity, I walk to the front to see who the operator is. Lo and behold it's my good friend Operator #1429 from Monday!
While I'm not terribly upset this time around, I wonder if she got permission beforehand to turn around. At least on Monday, there was a Giants game going on downtown, so I can understand if more trains were needed downtown to get the massive amounts of fans to the game. However, today, there's no Giants game. Was there a need for more trains in the subway? And yet again, during the train turnaround, two other trains were headed downtown, two minutes apart from each other. Granted, one was a J-Church labeled train that was likely not headed for the subway downtown. But back to the situation at hand. When I got on the next train and exited at my usual stop at 46th and Lawton, there were no trains in queue at the Ocean Beach turnaround.
So what happened to the immediate disciplinary action Muni was supposed to impose on these drivers that do early turnarounds? If any disciplinary action was taken on Operator #1429 as a direct result of my complaint sent to the SFMTA on Monday, it may have been that Muni took her iron away. That didn't matter though, as the operator of the next train used his iron to switch the tracks for Operator #1429. What a nice guy.