The San Francisco light rail and subway service will be discontinued on Monday as the coronavirus continues to sick and kill residents of the Bay Area and public services to assess the profitability of maintaining the operation.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced late Wednesday night the decision to stop subway and light rail services in Muni. The affected lines will be replaced by buses from Monday to ensure that people can still commute to work and do important errands in the city.
“In response to the change in driver numbers, these service adjustments will help us focus resources on routes outside of the city center that connect people with important jobs and services,”
The Muni subway and light rail lines will be replaced by buses for lines J, KT, L, M and N, which use the same bus stops as the early morning subway bus. The service will also cease for the Muni Rapid routes 5R, 9R, 28R and 38R, but the 14R will continue to operate.
HeadsUp: New service changes will take effect this Monday, March 30th. Bus shuttles offer everything #MuniMetro svc. There will be none #subwaysvc. All express buses except the 14R are suspended. Weekend 47 svc is suspended. Details at: https://t.co/hcgWeiUK1m
– SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) March 26, 2020
The announcement came at about the same time that the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority announced that the light rail across the South Bay was immediately shut down. The service was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday evening after a training operator tested positive for the corona virus.
Brandi Childress, a VTA spokeswoman, said that all light rail lines will stop until “we better understand the extent of the impact and exposure.”
VTA cleaned light rail vehicles on Thursday and ensured that any vehicles the trainee might have operated were thoroughly refurbished, she said. Other light rail operators have been told to stay at home and wait for instructions on whether to quarantine themselves.
The transit agency will focus its attention on bus routes that are more flexible. According to Childress, the number of VTA light rail drivers has dropped by 82% since on-site orders came into effect last week.
Santa Clara County, which was hit harder than any other location in the Bay Area during the Coronavirus outbreak, ordered residents, along with San Francisco and four other counties, to stay at home on March 16, unless they had essential business or errands done. This contract was eventually extended to the entire Bay Area and all of California.
“There has been practically no one on the trains since the county’s legal system, and this essentially sped up the inevitable,” said Childress. “Before the incident yesterday, we announced that we would reduce the hours and frequency of light rail traffic.”
The Muni Metro subway stations in San Francisco will be closed on Monday, with the exception of downtown stations. Customers can still take BART, whose trains have been pulled back due to the COVID 19 outbreak.
BART had full service until this week when it stopped operating trains at 9pm. daily – three hours earlier. Saturday service starts at 8 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. this weekend.
By Thursday afternoon, the corona virus pandemic had caused more than 526,000 people worldwide to test positive and nearly 24,000 people died. More than 1,300 cases have occurred in the Bay Area and 70 Californians have died.