Severe service disruptions J-Church and N-Judah riders experienced on Monday and Tuesday were the result of damage caused by a motorist who drove into the subway portal at Church Street and Duboce Avenue early Monday morning, the SFMTA has confirmed.
In a blog post published yesterday, the agency states that the driver "recklessly" drove into the tunnel around 12:30am Monday and "nearly destroyed" the Duboce Junction track switch.
The Duboce Junction track switch is supposed to move automatically to allow inbound J and N trains to cross onto the inbound subway track after entering the tunnel at Duboce Avenue and Church Street. The track switch guides the trains from one track to another.
Muni staff arrived on scene Monday morning and were able to re-open subway service for the morning commute, but the switch malfunctioned again later in the afternoon.
The switch was then set manually to allow inbound K/T, L, M and Castro shuttle trains to continue to provide service. J and N riders were asked to take those trains to and from Church Station, where they could connect to J and N trains for street-level service.
The agency also sent shuttle buses to Duboce and Church, but—later deeming them unnecessary—returned those shuttles to other routes, leaving some riders confused.
@sfmta_muni Outbound NJudah. Told to exit Church & shuttles would pickup. Why shuttles empty when everyone waiting at Duboce and Fillmore?— Jason (@jelee888) February 28, 2017
According to the SFMTA, the service disruptions lasted from 3:20–7:40pm Monday, and 10:50am–12:35pm Tuesday.
The agency plans to recover staff overtime, as well as other costs, from the motorist at fault.
The SFMTA noted that this is the first time a car has entered the Duboce subway portal since a lit "DO NOT ENTER" sign was installed next to it years ago.
But many Muni riders may remember that at least four vehicles have gotten stuck at Muni's Sunset Tunnel since the beginning of the year. Reports of motorists entering the tunnel have ceased since additional safety measures were put in place.
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