Muni’s 76x-Marin Headlands Express Service Begins This Weekend

Image: SFMTA

The 76-Marin Headlands, a lightly-used route that has the lowest on-time performance of any Muni line, will be converted into a new route starting tomorrow that is expected to improve reliability, run more frequently, and better serve popular destinations. The revamped line, dubbed the 76x-Marin Headlands Express, will also run on Saturdays in addition to the old schedule of Sundays and holidays.

The 76x is expected to shave 15 minutes off the run between downtown San Francisco and the Headlands, with 19 fewer stops. The route’s SF terminus will be moved from the Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets to Market and Sutter Streets. On the other end, the line will extend three-quarters of a mile to the Point Bonita Lighthouse.

The line’s on-time performance has nowhere to go but up: It currently arrives at just 10 percent of its stops within the on-time window, defined as the period between one minute before the published arrival time and four minutes after. The overhaul of the line, approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors this month as part of the Muni Transit Effectiveness Project, should improve its reliability. Few people ride the 76, but this upgrade will help demonstrate the effectiveness of stop consolidation, a strategy that could improve performance on many more Muni lines.

The 76 at first wasn’t slated for an overhaul for a few more years, but a grant from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area helped kickstart it, the SF Examiner recently reported:

The SFMTA originally planned to make the changes in 2015. However, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the Marin Headlands, offered to chip in $235,000 to pay for the first 14 months of the service, said Darren Brown, a transportation planner with the park.

Brown said the 76-Marin Headlands is the only transit line that takes passengers directly to different points of the area. Along with reducing the impact of private vehicles in the park, the service changes could introduce visitors to features that are only open Saturdays, such as the Nike Missile Site, a weapons facility built during the Cold War.

Unfortunately, the forecast for the first weekend of service is all rain, but you can always check out an exhibit at the Headlands Center for the Arts if you’re itching to give it a run.