N-Judah shuttle providing relief for Cole Valley commuters

Since Muni implemented new two-car N-Judah train shuttles last month in the Cole Valley neighborhood, some riders are no longer left stranded because of crowded trains.

The N-Judah train shuttle that runs a loop from Hillway Avenue near UCSF to the Embarcadero Station during the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. morning commute rush has been doing its job, according to Ed Reiskin, director of transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Reiskin said train capacity has increased by 18 percent in that portion of the route and pass-ups – where trains do not pick riders because of full trains – declined by 63 percent:

“We’re getting on the order of nearly 500 customers better access from that location down to Embarcadero Station every morning,”

He added that the two additional trains did not have significant impact on the subway system.

The N-Judah is one of the busiest Muni rail lines carrying more than 9,000 riders daily, just during the morning commute, Reiskin said during the SFMTA’s Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday.

“Previously if you were at Carl and Cole or at Duboce Park or Church and Duboce, your odds of getting on a train between 8 and 9 weren’t good.”

Overcrowding on the N-Judah has been issue for a number of years. Transit officials launched the N-Judah express buses in 2011 that picks up Outer Sunset residents to downtown San Francisco.

The idea was to get riders in the Outer Sunset to use the buses instead of the trains to relieve crowding.

Officials also added an addition two-car train during the last budget cycle as part of a 10 percent service increase, said Reiskin:

“Those helped a lot with regard to capacity, but as ridership has continued to grow, they’ve proven not enough.”

Board Director Cheryl Brinkman asked if the N-Judah train shuttle would be implemented into the schedule so that riders can track when the next shuttle arrives, but that isn’t anticpated to happen until at least January of 2017, said John Haley, SFMTA”s director of transit.