The long-delayed Muni light rail extension from Embarcadero station to Caltrain at Fourth and King Streets is now slated to begin service in January. When this newsletter went to press, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled for January 10. The line will operate only as a shuttle to Embarcadero station due to the limitations of the present train control and signaling system. It is not known when through service to any of the J, K, L, M, or N lines will be possible. It is rumored that the consultant charged with the task of upgrading Muni's train control system to enable this has quit the project.
From a train rider's perspective, the new light rail service will offer only modest improvement over current Muni buses. Riders can expect it to relieve some overcrowding on the buses. The line follows the scenic waterfront. However, this new downtown connection will still take about as long as current bus lines. Its only stop convenient to most destinations will be the Embarcadero subway station. It will also make stops at Folsom and the Embarcadero and in the South Beach neighborhood.
To reach the boarding platform for the new line, transferring passengers will have to cross three lanes of southbound King Boulevard just upstream of the onramp to I-280. There are no plans for free transfers, a measure that riders would probably appreciate as much as having a new Muni connecting line.
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Last updated: December 10, 1997
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