More Muni Mismanagement of the E-line

PLEASE SEE JULY 11 UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

Sunday, July 9, has been a gorgeous day in San Francisco, but not a good day (again) for the E-Embarcadero line, which again has been mismanaged, in this case by assigning a streetcar that should have been on the E-line to the F-line instead.

In the photo above, you see one of the seven double-end PCCs, the 1007, working the F-line to Castro, not the E. The double-end PCCs are required on the E-line because single-end streetcars (which are five times more plentiful than double-enders in Muni’s fleet) can’t turn around at the E-line terminal at Sixth and King Streets. Making the issue more critical: for technically complex reasons we won’t get into here, two of those seven double-ended PCCs can’t currently use the Sixth and King terminal and thus have to turn around short of it, skipping the Caltrain stop in both directions and screwing up E-line service along the whole line. So good management means minimizing the number of days those two double-ended PCCs (1009 and 1015) are assigned to the E-line for now. If they had assigned one of those two cars to the F-line, no problem. But assigning a “good” E-line car, 1007, to the F, meant that 1009 was running on the E-line, and skipping the Caltrain stop every time, screwing up the line.

Using a different terminal for the 1009 and 1015 on the E-line guarantees the operation will be thrown off for the entire line, and Muni management knows it.  Market Street Railway has made numerous recommendations to Muni management to try to make the E-line run more reliably, such as using vintage cars like Muni Car 1 or Melbourne 496, which can run the full E-line route without problems, to avoid ever putting those “bad” PCCs into the E-line mix. None of our suggestions has yet been put into effect.

As is common on the E-line now, we saw two E-line cars running nose-to-tail today when they should’ve been 15 minutes apart. That means there is a 30-minute gap between E-line cars elsewhere on the line at that moment…sometimes worse if other factors come into play.

And decisions like the one made today, to put one of the good E-line cars on the F-line instead, only makes things worse.

 

UPDATE, July 11: Market Street Railway and SFMTA leaders held their monthly meeting today and spent most of their time on the issue. The streetcar pictured above has been reassigned to the E-line and from now on, Muni Operations will do everything they can to limit double-end PCCs on the F-line to those two cars (1009, 1015) that have trouble using the normal E-line southern terminal at Caltrain.

The current issue was not the fault of Muni Rail Maintenance, which put the two double-enders out on the F-line (mistakenly assigning one wrong car) because of an overall temporary streetcar shortage. This included delays in getting some of the new streetcars just returned from Brookville Equipment Company into revenue service because of a shortage of operators to “burn them in” quickly — accumulate the required 1,000 miles without passengers to test the system. One newly returned car is also out with warranty work while another, about to go into rehab at Brookville, was pulled from service when a crack in the bolster under the car was discovered (bolster strengthening is a key target of the rehabilitation process). This temporary single-end car shortage should pass within a couple of weeks.

We had a productive discussion at this meeting on other steps that might be taken in the short-term to try to improve service performance on the E-line, though no actions were clearly committed to by SFMTA. We appreciate the discussion and look forward to seeing concrete positive results soon.

  • davistrain

    I was looking at the “F-line Live” display this afternoon and wondering why the Red Arrow (1007) was going out on Market St. I thought it might be heading for the Cameron Beach car house, but apparently it was assigned to the “F” by mistake.

  • Matty J.

    Using the word ‘reliable’ (or any derivative) in the same breath as ‘muni’ is your fatal mistake there. They only have a handful of train lines overall and none of them are particularly reliable, on-time or managed correctly. I take the L to work every day, I get on very close to the terminus at the zoo and I’d say there’s maybe one day a week where the trains are on schedule and at the 9 minute interval they’re supposed to be at during rush hour. I walk home from West Portal half the time on the way home because it’s faster than waiting 20 minutes for that L, which is always late/not coming because of the ubiquitous ‘switch issue’.

    Anyway, sorry to hijack this article with a rant, but it’s not surprising that Muni is doing dumb, illogical things on the F and E line. They can’t get the regular trains running right so how could you expect them to properly manage two lines that require 10 seconds of attention to do right (if that, since Market Street Railway seems to be doing all the work.)

  • Kieran

    Actually, along with 1007, 1015 was in service on the F line in the mid/late afternoon. I agree it’s long overdue that streetcars like 1 and 496 should’ve been in consistent service on the E line and am sadly not surprised that neither of them are in service on the E line at the moment.

    Also, why isn’t 737 being ran on the F line at all? Is there something wrong with it mechanically? Or is it Muni simply not wanting to assign it to the F line? I’d rather see 737 running on the F instead of another Muni bus that should be assigned to a slower route that needs more buses, such as the 43 or 29.

  • Ethan

    Time to melt these things down. Time to say good bye to broken slow old out dated junk.
    If you want keep them fine build yourself a private track and go rum them their.
    But we as riders need faster more realibke service than these turtles can provide.

    • Rick Laubscher

      The problem is not the vehicles. Their acceleration rate matches buses or light rail vehicles easily. And btw, the problem at the terminal is not with the car, it’s with the switches being adjusted wrong for those two cars, according to Muni. They’re part of Muni’s fleet, owned and operated by the city. If you want to get them scrapped, go for it, bro. Oh, but then you’d have to get up from your keyboard…

      • Ethan

        As the President, of Market Street Railway. I’m not surprised you come in defending these things.
        But as a president, your attitude and tone is very unprofessional.

        • Rick Laubscher

          Sorry if I hurt your feelings, Ethan. Guess it didn’t occur to you that when you’re on our website (Market Street Railway’s), a certain level of courtesy on YOUR part would go a long way. “Melt these things down…broken slow old outdated junk…turtles…” Sure, throw whatever words out you want, and when facts are offered to refute what you say, don’t respond to the facts, go after the person who presented the facts. I stand by what I said. Of course, we support the streetcars and we continually WORK to make the service better. Anyone can just carp from a keyboard. I was quite sincere. If you want these “things” scrapped, go for it. Make an effort. If that’s an unprofessional thing to say, guilty. Oh and by the way, I always post under my FULL name and take responsibility for what I write.

    • Gryphonisle

      As Mr. L notes, the cars aren’t the problem. Despite all the work on Market to alleviate traffic on its central portion, nothing has been done on the lower end. I had weeks go by where I’d arrive at third and market perfectly on time, only to lose 10 minutes from there to the Ferry Building all from cars turning onto second and first and main, forcing the TB buses—many of which are artics—into the center lane which is supposed to be F and Ferry Bldg buses—thus i’d end up sitting for two or three lights waiting to get into and out of the stop. The equipment works just fine, most of the time, and can keep up with the buses as well. It’s a lack of inspectors and too much traffic that drags it down. And if you think the “F” line is bad, try the big trains downstairs—I lose more time in the subway, and at fourth and king (without a baseball game) than anywhere else.

    • Dexter Wong

      If you feel that way about streetcars, do you want Muni to scrap the cable cars as well?

  • Mark Gregory

    Appears somebody at Muni must have taken notice or it is just coincidence? At 13.00 Tuesday 11, Nextbus map shows 1006, 1007, 1008 and 1010 on the E line, 1009 and 1015 on the F line.

    • Rick Laubscher

      They have and we appreciate it.

  • Gryphonisle

    I was recently informed by an inspector that the “F” line now has no inspector, what so ever. One would think someone in his position should know, but I’ve met lots of people at Muni who are very good at what we now call Fake News (which they not only believe, but sound perfectly convincing when relaying it) and I’ve not yet verified this. We used to have two inspectors and at rush hour, a third, roving inspector—now years back. One wasn’t enough, and I’ve walked Market Street from Hyde to the Ferry in that period and never saw a single “F” car on Market, and nothing blocking service, either. If it’s true there’s no inspector, the folks responsible for keeping the line moving, good luck with the “F”, which hasn’t worked properly for years.