When is an “L” Not an “L?” When You Connect From BART to Muni At Embarcadero…

Get this…so lately I’ve been doing the long-haul commute from SF to far out in the East Bay every day for a client for a while now…every day I dutifully get on the N-Judah very early, connecting with BART, and heading out. Now, in the morning it is pretty smooth and so long as I get up early enough and catch one of two N’s, I make it out in time. Since most people on the N that early in the morning are either asleep, listening to music, or reading, there are few incidents on which to report for my faithful readers.
Ok, so that’s groovy, but here is the strange part. Every night when I get back into SF, I get off at Embarcadero to catch an N-Judah home. And almost every time, the same thing happens. I get off the BART, walk down to the MUNI platform, and wait. Every time the automated voice announces “outbound trains” and counts off a pile of L’s, M’s and whatnots, and it seems from the announced times a mighty N-Judah is a ways away.
Then the weird thing happens – within moments, an “N” shows up out of the blue, totally unannounced! Now I’m not complaining per se – not having to wait 20-30 minutes for an N after all those random L’s, M’s and whatnots is nice. That said, I wonder why this keeps happening, and can imagine how frustrating it is for those taking an L-L, M or whatnot.
At this point I’ve stopped trying to figure it out and just count the blessing of not having to wait forever for the N to take me home after a long day of work!

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4 Responses to When is an “L” Not an “L?” When You Connect From BART to Muni At Embarcadero…

  1. drawde says:

    this doesn’t answer your question, but…
    why get off BART at Embarcadero? to save money? if you’d take it to Van Ness you might catch up with an earlier N.

  2. Jamison says:

    Pick me, pick me! I know this one…
    Ok, so the reason you hear all the announced L’s, M’s, K’s, back to back J’s, and legend has it a thing called the Castro Shuttle, and then out of nowhere suddenly there’s an N-Judah is because the Voice of Muni (aka “the Muni Lady”) doesn’t know one’s coming until it actually gets into the tunnel and into the computer controlled area.
    I’m pretty sure the Voice of Muni is not powered by NextBus, because I’ve been looking at the screen in the Castro Station booth when the voice announces it a minute or two off what NextBus says.

  3. Peter Ehrlich says:

    Hi there,
    The previous person who answered, Jamison, explained the reason. It’s because outbound N-Judahs come in from outside the subway. The “voice of Muni” can’t recognize anything that’s outside the subway.
    There is a large train location board at Embarcadero Station. If you look at it, occasionally, you will see something stirring at the east end of the mimic board. This is an N train entering the subway.
    Peter Ehrlich
    retired Muni streetcar operator

  4. Greg Dewar says:

    Thanks to all of you for your informative comments! I learn something new everyday. And thanks for reading too! I appreciate it! 🙂

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