Muni “Double Berthing” on Hold Two to Four Weeks, Pending CPUC Approval

Muni may finally launch “double berthing” in its Metro stations in two to four weeks, “barring anything we can’t think of,” according to Muni Operations Director John Haley.

Photo: RobVSF/Flickr

Muni riders were first promised simultaneous loading of two trains in underground stations in October 2013. More recently, the launch was scheduled for December, then delayed again.

Muni demonstrated a live test on December 13 to officials at the CA Public Utilities Commission, who were expected to sign off on a launch scheduled a week later. But CPUC officials then said they also need to sign off on a training plan to ensure that operators know how to use the new system, Haley said.

“The test worked fine, and they said, ‘OK, but we want to see the training plan before you actually activate it,'” said Haley. When asked whether the SFMTA anticipated the CPUC’s request for a training plan, he said, “I guess not.”

CPUC’s press office hasn’t responded to a request for comment on the project’s status.

Once the CPUC gives Muni the green light, Haley said, “We’re really ready to go.”

  • shanand

    soooooo. close.

    This delay actually is the first one that sort of sounds plausibly explainable.

  • mike_napolis_beard

    Is there some glitch in the website? This article is from 2014, right?

  • shamelessly

    I’m curious how this will play out when it’s finally implemented. The definite plus is that passengers will be able to offboard sooner when there’s a train in front of theirs in a station. However, I’m guessing that the 2nd train to pull in will allow boarding, then close doors and leave the station, rather than pulling up to the front of the platform first. This suggests that certain times of day it will make more sense to wait for a train in the middle of the platform, as the train you need might pull into either position. I’m also curious if double berthing will result in trains bunching up on the underground, although gaps between trains are not often a problem so I can’t imagine this really being an issue.

  • haha.

  • David Marcus

    Ahh the CPUC. So they fight Uber and Lyft’s carpooling feature, they shut down a private company offering late-night bus service to the East Bay and now they drag out Muni’s double-berthing. I’m pretty sure they’re the reason we’re not all riding around in solar-powered hyperloops.

  • Andy Chow

    CPUC’s transportation regulation is already lax compared to what cities like SFMTA want to impose. Essentially CPUC does not block competition to protect existing companies, which can’t be said in regards to cities especially SF. The issue is that there are companies who think that they don’t need to follow any rules.

  • David Marcus

    That’s true, but they seem to be the only companies that survive.

  • Andy Chow

    I have a CPUC passenger stage and charter permit before the rise of the TNCs. The permitting process was a relative breeze other than delays due to concerns from SFMTA.

    A lot of tech entrepreneurs want to get in the transportation business without any vehicles and drivers, but the fact is that there are plenty of legally permitted vehicles and drivers (including myself) who want technology to compete with the TNCs. The opportunities are out there.

  • Bruce

    No, the 2nd train will apparently stop twice. IIRC, they do double berthing in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel with buses, but apparently Muni can’t figure out how to do it with LRVs.

  • Bruce

    2013 actually.

  • hailfromsf

    So, is this going to be a big confusing mess of “which end of the platform should I wait at?” with people running back and forth when they realize their train stopped 100 feet away? Or will they do something sensible like split the platform in half and make the K/L/M trains stop at one end, and the N/J trains stop at the other?

  • Jim

    The idea when this was initially proposed was that the second train, if it could fit all its cars, would allow passengers to alight. If the train had a second car and couldn’t fit all the train doors on the remaining length of the platform, the doors would not open. Passengers are encouraged not to board the second train while it is alighting, but rather to only board at the forward boarding area.

    I used to think the separate KLM and NJ boarding areas would work, but a train that boards only in the rear boarding area would block trains that would board only in the forward area. I’m sure if Muni invested in a train control system that didn’t run on O/S2, the scheduling and bunching issues could be solved.

  • Jim

    Additionally, like Bruce mentions below, the “second” train will stop twice. Once to alight passengers; second to “officially” board passengers.

  • hailfromsf

    Currently, all trains always block the following train—it can’t get any worse. If the platforms were split, then you’d have at least a 50% change of doing two trains at once. I can’t imagine that having trains stop twice per station is going to be very efficient—that’s twice as many opportunities for passengers to hold everything up.

  • Andy Chow

    The benefit of having two boarding areas is to lessen the crowd waiting in the forward portion of the platform. Having multiple boarding areas on a long platform is common at bus transit centers, some big train stations like the LA Union Station, and the Seattle bus tunnel.

  • Bruce

    And the dearly departed Transbay Terminal!

  • mx

    Why are we still listening to a word that comes out of John Haley’s mouth? He has clearly proved himself to be the incompetent leader of an incompetent organization. Don’t believe me? You could look at the “related articles” to this one, listing years worth of false hope over the double birthing plan. Or you could just try to ride Metro tonight; get ready for “computer problems,” stalled trains, and lots of time slogging in manual mode while riding a jam-packed car.

    These guys aren’t competent to run a child’s toy train set let alone a passenger railway.


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