Reader Mail: A “What the Heck?” Moment on the N

This hasn’t been a great week so far for our Mighty N. First, we had the train jump the tracks last night, which caused quite a bit of ruckus. Now, Reader Peter writes in with a strange situation on the N today:

I hope you can advise a neophyte…
I tried to take my kids to 31st and Judah this morning (26 October, 11 AM) by getting on the N at Duboce Park. The online Muni schedule says that all trains run out to Ocean Beach, and when I called 311 the person advising me told me the same thing… every 10ish minutes, all the way to La Playa.
However we waited for an hour at Duboce Park, and each train that came by said that they stopped at 19th and went no further. We went home.
I called 311 again and they said that the drivers were wrong, all trains go to La Playa.
So I turn to you, who seem to know more about this than anyone else. What’s the deal??

I have to say this is a bit strange. I haven’t heard of any track work being done that would have caused this, and it seems even stranger that there’d be so many trains stopping at 19th in the middle of the day. (That’s usually reserved for rush hour).
The disconnect between what 311 says, what the drivers say, and what Muni says makes this even more baffling. Loyal Readers, feel free to offer your observations. Perhaps we’ll get a response from Muni in the process!

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7 Responses to Reader Mail: A “What the Heck?” Moment on the N

  1. Anonymous says:

    The signs on the N-Judah outbound are frequently not updated.

  2. JD says:

    Guess they are actually trying to be honest about their short runs for a change. It’s not unheard of for N to arbitrarily turn around before Ocean Beach even if it says Ocean Beach. I’ve once had the driver kick everyone off on the west end of the Duboce Tunnel at 10:30pm.
    Personally I would have asked the operator about the destination.

  3. @makfan says:

    MUNI has to be the worst system I have ever seen with regards to the destination signs. The sign may not get updated at all (how many Embarcadero trains do you see heading out to the beach), or they may change the destination mid run without updating the sign. One car of a 2-car train may say one destination and the other car a different destination. It is maddening to be kicked off a vehicle that said the right thing when you boarded.
    On top of this, the commenter said that they checked the schedule and 311, and NO TRAINS were schedule to end at 19th Ave during that time. Sigh.

  4. Greg says:

    This has to be one of Muni’s greatest weaknesses-telling people what is going on. Many people are ok with hearing bad news – but they need to HEAR IT from the operator because there’s no other way to find out. 311 is useless, 511 wouldn’t necessarily know about a temporary change, and so on. So it really is up to the operator to just be clear and make sure the darn sign is accurate. It’s not that hard to do.
    The weirdest sign I ever saw on an N was a “Judah A Stops” one. The operator explained to everyone very clearly that it was just the plastic roller getting stuck and that the N would make all its stops. He later told me that there is some option where the N would only make a few stops back and forth from downtown but that it was never really used anymore.

  5. anonymouse says:

    Whoa, there was skip stop service on the N? That might actually be handy during rush hour, or service disruptions when there’s lots of people waiting at each stop. Of course, you’d also need to get rid of some stop signs for it to really be useful.

  6. Greg Dewar says:

    So long as they explain it loudly and clearly, yes. But I’m not sure how much of a legacy that is from the pre-LRV days or not. I’ll find out.

  7. david vartanoff says:

    A B skip stop was a plan never tried. As to the bogus turnbacks, this will not be fixed until the MTA Board and ED (Ford’s replacement can’t come too soon) decide to actually manage the system for the riders. I sadly expect to be ashes in the Potomac River before that happens.

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