Yesterday marked the beginning of the trial run of the “N Judah Express” service from the Outer Sunset to downtown via bus. I haven’t had a chance to try it out myself yet, but will do so soon, most likely on a run from downtown back to the westside.
In the meantime, report your experiences here for now, and in the future. I’m guessing they’re going to work extra hard to make this work for now – but is it sustainable? That’s the tough questions. The other question is- how much money is being taken away from making the N run as it’s supposed to to keep this non-TEP program afloat?
Post your experiences in the comments! Thanks!
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I take the N to/from 19th Ave/Montgomery. Two days running the inbound was too full to get on by the time it got to the last stop, so I went on the rail instead. Yesterday around 5:15 nextbus reported next N-X in 28 and 38 minutes, with the next N in 12 and 25, so I chose the lesser of two evils.
Tried to catch the NX twice now, but even with letting a N pass by, I never saw the bus at 22th and Judah.
Took the next 16X instead.
Today at ~7:45am @22ave Nexbus reported next NX in 5 min. I waited for it but it never arrived. Took the N eventually.
I passed an NX bus while riding my scooter yesterday morning (on Oak near Stanyan,) and it looked pretty full.
I take the N from 19th to 9th after dropping my son off at school. Since we walk almost a mile and a half from our house to get to his school, I usually don’t feel like booking it up and down hills on Judah to get to the bus stop on 9th Avenue, even though it takes about the same amount of time. Yesterday after I *just* missed a train at 19th, I figured I’d just get the next one. HA! There were three clipboard toting muni folks monitoring the NX buses, two of which stopped at 19th (packed of course) while those of us wanting to take the train waited for about 15 minutes. I asked the muni people when the next train was coming and one of them said, “that’s what we are trying to figure out!” So I walked to 9th and about 5 minutes after I got there a train came, closely followed by another train about 30 seconds apart; so that makes about a half hour gap approximately between trains between 7:45-8:15am. Not a great sign for day 2 of this grand scheme, but I’m willing to give it some time. I just hope they know that bunches of people use the N to get to non-downtown destinations after 19th Avenue like the 9th & Judah bus connections and UCSF. The train I got on today at 19th (arrived at the same time as the NX bus) was still packed.
Strange, my experiences three days in have been fantastic. The first morning I had to stand but I have to do that most days on the train anyway, and it wasn’t a crush; since then I’ve always had a seat with no problem. No long wait yet, either. It’s saved me about 10-15 minutes every ride (it’s especially great going home), and while I prefer trains to buses, it’s also been nice to have some new views on my commutes.
I’m a 19th Ave/Montgomery rider though, so I do feel like the bus was almost made specifically for me, and I, too, have reservations about how long they can keep the service up. I’m also concerned because as opposed to the buses I’ve seen being too crowded, there weren’t nearly enough people on them to make it seem worth their while in the long run anyway.
I have ridden it twice inbound and three times outbound to 46th Ave. So far it has been great. It has only saved me a few minutes or so, but has been far more pleasant. There is some sort of psychological benefit to not stopping every 3 blocks that makes it seem even faster. I suppose the strange thing is that the Nx isn’t really even for me, even though I am riding it – it is more to keep me off the regular N, so there is more room for the people that get on in the middle of the route. The N was never really a problem for me going inbound – when you get on at the beach you don’t have to worry about getting a seat whether it is a bus or a train.
Based on limited experience, the express bus seems to be relieving a lot of the morning crowding for riders who board the N after 19th Ave. I ride the N from Carl & Cole downtown, and have taken it twice this week during peak rush. I was able to get a seat both times, whereas before this week I would’ve been lucky to even squeeze on and stand. Not sure if that’s the express bus, the beginning of summer vacations, or just plain luck, but it’s been very pleasant.
The role that the new express bus plays in helping improve service reliability is priceless. Everyone has endured gaps in service, switchbacks, and malfunctioning doors on the regular service. It saves 10 to 15 minutes travel time, plus it was an ideal alternative yesterday afternoon when there was no regular service downtown while the tunnel was closed.
I’ve ridden the Nx both ways now and here is my impression: It appears to be no faster either inbound or outbound due to traffic. The first time I rode it outbound we spent ~10 minutes stopped in traffic in Golden Gate park. The second time I rode it outbound we ended up behind the N on Judah and were not allowed to pass it, making the ride considerably slower than it should be. Then due to a back up of LRVs at the end of the line the bus was unable to go past 46th Ave, leaving me to walk the final 2 blocks home. The the one time I rode in on the Nx in the morning was a similar experience, the bus couldn’t pass the train, then got stuck in traffic cutting through the park, and ended up taking just as long as the N line.
Seeing as I get on at 48th ave and am guaranteed a seat every morning I doubt I’ll bother trying to take it again as long as the N is running.
An improved idea may be to put a bus line down Kirkham or Lawton that won’t get stuck behind the train.
I tried the Nx the other day. It saved no time and was likely worse given that the bus had to compete with traffic as it wound its way downtown. The morning I took the Nx, I should actually have grabbed the N as it offered seats as it went by and the Nx was standing room only. I thought the “x” would get me downtown sooner. Oops.
I’ve noticed if I don’t leave before 8:20 those buses are much more likely to get stuck behind traffic and likely save no time (I never really know what Market tunnel delay or 9th Avenue clusterfuck I may be avoiding though)…I’m still definitely doing better getting home though.