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N Judah train’s Sunset District route suspended starting April 13

Bus substitutions may cause delays on other busy lines

The N-Judah train.
Photo by Pung/Shutterstock

The always-busy N Judah Muni line will suspend train service in the Sunset District for most of the last half of April, and bus substitutions may create delays both for N riders and commuters on other routes.

According to an announcement from SFMTA, “Muni will run bus shuttles for the N Judah line between Ocean Beach and Carl and Cole streets starting Saturday, April 13.”

Trains will halt at Carl Street and Hillway Avenue. Riders must then switch to a bus for the rest of the ride to Ocean Beach.

The line’s premature end is part of the Inner Sunset Streetscape Improvement Project, a two-year, $21-million renovation that kicked off in August 2017. The project should wrap up by fall, with the N Judah suspension being one of the final stages before completion.

According to SF Public Works, the project is meant to “improve the N Judah service, beautify nearby neighborhoods, and make the streets more livable” by replacing water and sewer lines, updating traffic signals, adding new bulb-outs and curb cuts to sidewalks, and repaving streets. The latter point being the reason why trains must hold off.

Hoodline notes that Muni will also complete track work on the N-Judah route while the light rail is out of action.

The N Judah suspension was initially scheduled for just ten days, but now SFMTA projects a more vaguely defined window of “approximately two weeks” until it restores regular service.

N Judah riders should plan for possible delays due to bus transfers. Normally the N is one of the most reliable—albeit crowded—Muni light rail lines, even though it was on schedule just 45 percent of the time in February.

SFMTA warns that “due to the current ongoing need for additional bus operators, Muni riders may experience additional gaps and crowding” on other busy bus routes thanks to drivers being switched over to N Judah service.

In 2018, Muni’s great service meltdown happened in large part because an ongoing driver shortage paired with train service suspension in the Twin Peaks tunnel.

Since the upcoming closures affect only one light rail line instead of three, the potential worst case scenario will presumably be less dramatic.

Even so, the 14 Mission, 30X Marina Express, and 38 Geary may all see service flag in April. The E Embarcadero line and 83X Mid-Market Express will also be out of service during the shutdown.