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Driverless MUNI Train Takes Off From Castro Station

Driverless MUNI Train Takes Off From Castro Station
Castro Station
By Waiyde Palmer - Published on November 14, 2013.
Castro Station
Castro Station MUNI stop. Photo: SF Examiner
On Wednesday morning, a little after 10AM, a MUNI light rail vehicle filled with passengers that was stopped at the Castro Station took off driverless after its operator exited the train attempting to fix a broken door and neglected to set the emergency brake. The Chronicle reports a quick thinking passenger brought the outbound K/T Ingelside - Third Street Line train to a halt mid tunnel between the Forrest Hill and Castro stations by activating the emergency brake. MUNI Director of Transit, John Haley, assured all in a statement following the incident that, "no one was in danger at anytime since the train was running under automatic control." The driver however has been suspended with pay pending an investigation and, following MUNI protocol, will be tested for drug and alcohol use.
John Haley MUNI Director of Transit
John Haley MUNI Director of Transit Photo: SFGate
Under normal procedure, if the operator exits the train, the emergency brake must be set otherwise once the doors close the trains auto controls 'thinks' everything is fine and automatically begins to move forward. A mechanic arrived on the scene at 10:30AM within fifteen minutes after the drama unfolded and guided the train from its mid-tunnel stop to Forrest Hill station without further incident.  The train is being examined to see if mechanical failure played a role in what could have been a potentially dangerous occurrence. Thankfully no one was injured though everyone on board must have been in a bit of a panic once it was determined there wasn't a driver behind the trains controls. Kudos and job well done to the quick thinking anonymous commuter who kept their head and pulled the emergency stop averting any possibility of what could've been a very ugly event.