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Release date: Dec. 6, 2011

*** Press Release ***

The Board of Directors for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today voted to make permanent the NX Judah Express Bus based on strong ridership and positive customer input collected during the pilot, which began in June. With a daily ridership of nearly 40,000, the N Judah rail line carries almost 30 percent of all Muni’s rail customers. The weekday, peak-hour NX Judah Express Bus service will continue to operate in tandem with existing N Judah Rail service. In addition, the Board approved a 26 percent increase in frequency of service on the popular F Market & Wharves historic streetcar line, which began in October.

“The N Line is a real workhorse for Muni and we want to make sure that we can accommodate the large ridership,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Prior to the pilot, crowded peak period conditions led to pass-ups and reliability issues. The Board is pleased to see targeted efforts to improve Muni service systemwide.”

“While the SFMTA will continue to pursue improvements to all of Muni’s rail lines, the NX Express Bus has helped improve reliability and has expanded capacity along this major commuting corridor,” said Edward D. Reiskin, Director of Transportation. “Overall customer feedback has been extremely supportive.”

The NX pilot program began in June and used buses traveling between the Financial District and Ocean Beach to alleviate overcrowding and improve reliability on the N Judah Line during the morning and afternoon commutes. The pilot bus service operated locally between 48th and 19th avenues and traveled express between 19th Avenue and the Financial District. This provided N Judah customers in the outer avenues a choice between express bus service with limited stops into and out of downtown approximately every 10 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours and regular rail service.

All of the key statistics for the NX Judah Express Bus have exceeded the Agency’s expectations with average ridership growing from 5,000 to over 7,000 weekly boardings and buses near capacity. Because passenger demand has continued to be high in the last half hour of the afternoon service, the NX hours will be expanded by 30 minutes to 7 p.m., effective January 23.

Customer feedback regarding the NX has been overwhelmingly positive. As of mid-November, the SFMTA received nearly 150 comments, 10 of which were negative. Customers reported more predictable commute times and reduced stress levels because of the service.

NX Judah Express buses are easy to recognize by a distinctive blue stripe around the roof line and windshield, purple colored lights and the NX Judah Express logo featured prominently on the bus exterior. Maps displaying local NX stops and the express service route are posted inside each vehicle. A detailed route map is available on the SFMTA website.

F Market & Wharves

Beginning in October the F Line increased service by operating every five minutes instead of every seven minutes during midday and instead of every six minutes during evening commute hours. In today’s meeting the Board approved making these schedule changes permanent.

“We appreciate that the SFMTA has made these changes to improve F Line service not only for our visitors, but also for the many Fisherman’s Wharf employees who use it to get to and from work,” said Troy Campbell, Manager, Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District. “It is especially encouraging that SFMTA staff acted on our concerns and worked with us to find solutions.”

The new schedule reduces crowding and pass ups. Muni Operations began improving line management this fall by assigning additional inspectors to the route. In addition to the improved schedule and line management, Muni continues to increase its historic streetcar fleet through vehicle rehabilitation. Buses will be used on the route until operator training and vehicle testing are completed, which is expected to be next month.

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