Muni Smash: Six Hurt, Two Hospitalized

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News

Published on August 03, 2009 with 9 Comments

The driver of a Nissan SUV became sandwiched between two Muni streetcars
following an accident in San Francisco today.
Photos by David Waggoner

By Luke Thomas

August 3, 2009

Six people were injured today during an accident involving two Muni F-Line streetcars and a motor vehicle.

At 5:46 pm, a streetcar traveling westbound on Market Street in the Castro, rear ended a westbound Nissan Pathfinder, crushing the SUV into the back of another streetcar.

Witnesses said the Muni driver had been distracted while talking with a passenger moments before applying his emergency breaks to avoid the crash.

Both drivers were sent to hospital for treatment, Muni spokesperson Judson True said.

It was the second accident in as many weeks involving Muni rail vehicles.  On July 18, 50 people were sent to local hospitals when a Muni light rail vehicle (LRV) smashed into the back of another LRV at West Portal station. The driver temporarily lost consciousness, according to accident investigators.

True said police are investigating today’s accident.


Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:


Comments for Muni Smash: Six Hurt, Two Hospitalized are now closed.

  1. In a post above, marc says:

    “We don’t have a filth crisis, we have DPW, poverty, mental health and substance abuse crises.”

    We have ALL of these crises. Neither the mayor nor the supes have frankly faced up to the extent of the problem.

    Neither their denial, nor yours, is any answer.

  2. Arthur, I ride the 33, 14/49 and 22 all the time. The smell of urine is rare and few of the late-90s vintage trolley coaches are plagued with graffiti as I believe their surfaces have been treated.

    We don’t have a filth crisis, we have DPW, poverty, mental health and substance abuse crises.

    Arthur Evans is attacked for reasons other than his brave advocacy to end the filth crisis.


  3. I can see that marc doesn’t ride buses very often that go through the Haight and onto the Castro. He would do well to experience the #24, #33 and #37 lines.

    Then again, the experience may not register with him. For years, he denied that the city in general had a filth crisis, attacking those who dared to draw attention to the problem. Yet we all know that such a problem continues unabated here.

    So I’m not surprised to see denial at work with marc’s views on Muni, especially in this statement of his:

    “the problem is that there are more autos on the road.”

    True, there are more cars. But the problem with Muni is that it is dysfunctional, reflecting the ambient dysfunctionality of public agencies in general in SF.

    The dysfunctionality will continue as long as the denial empowers it.

  4. Harold Brown

    Hey Sean (jthohed),

    I agree if by ‘PCC’ you mean the old jitney service. MUNI drove them out of business by enacting a ridiculous insurance requirement through the Board. Present Board should rescind that and offer cheap licenses/permits/franchises to drivers who will drive the busiest routes.

    You remember the jitneys? They wouldn’t let everyone on. Hell, they owned the coaches and kept em decorated and with music. Same charge as MUNI.


  5. Arthur Evans wrote:

    “It’s rare to find a bus that doesn’t smell of urine.”

    Most Muni buses do not smell of urine.

    “They are splashed with graffiti.”

    Most Muni buses are not splashed with graffiti.

    “Garbage is strewn everywhere.”

    Most Muni buses are not garbage strewn.

    “The drivers are surly.”

    Most Muni operators are not surly, to the contrary, most Muni operators are remarkably unremarkable in comport.

    Arthur Evans wrote:

    “The system was better 20 years ago.”

    20 years ago, Muni’s rolling stock was 2/3 into its useful lifetime and was systematically bled of sorely needed maintenance by at-large elected Boards of Supervisors to cover budget deficits elsewhere.

    Say what you would, but the condition of Muni’s rolling stock in 2009, similarly situated a couple of years short of 2/3 into its useful lifetime, is much better than what we had 20 years ago.

    Perhaps the problem is that there are more autos on the road due to the tremendous gentrification of San Francisco, as people who purchase pricey condos tend to not lose the car even if parking does not come with their unit.

    Auto-generated congestion is what snarls Muni.

    Arthur Evans wrote:

    “We all know why.”

    How often do you claim to know the details of what you believe others know?

    “The unions are greedy. Management is inept.”

    Wrong again, the unions are inept and management is greedy.

    “The politicians are rhetorical and clueless.”

    One man’s “rhetorical and clueless” is another woman’s “practical.”

    “The decline of Muni is yet another manifestation of San Francisco as the Dysfunctional City.

    Operator error translates into the decline of Muni which translates into San Francisco as a dysfunctional city?



  6. Ruth R. Snave said “The unions are greedy. Management is inept. The politicians are rhetorical and clueless.”

    Points 2 and 3 may be true, but the unions (and more importantly their members) are not to blame here.

    The members of SEIU clean as many vehicles as are possible in the time allotted, given the vehicles returning in a ‘normal’ wear and tear condition. When they have to clean graffiti, urine, feces, and excess litter they have less of a chance of delivering a clean vehicle.

    As far as the Operators of the various vehicles, you’ve got to be half nuts to drive for MUNI, because you have to deal with people who cannot manage their own time, people who drive like they did in Boston, the mentally ill, drunkards, druggies, and the homeless.

    [**Please Note that I am not defending the no call/no show days off, and things of that nature}

    As far as privatization things goes…read the history of the Market Street Railway and you’ll see that it has been tried and failed. There is NO long term incentive to maintaining the system in privatization, that only eats up profits.

    The single biggest blunder in MUNI’s history (hopefully H. Brown will agree) was to move away from the historically reliable, and easily maintained PCC cars..Read up on them, especially the number of them we scrapped, and you see that older was better.

    Now that I think about it, if a ‘forward’ thinker was ever to emerge among the ‘progressive’ idiots on the board, they would take a lesson from the PCC car and how it came about. Why is it that the municipal railways of the major cities in the our great country NO LONGER have a standardized rail car?? Patronage and graft surely play a part, as does idiocy and a lack of a coherent plan from the “executive” branch of our cities. Newsom/Bloomberg/Daley/(fill in the name) should be leveraging their weight against the international corporations that produce these vehicles. Perhaps a functional, yet simple, urban rail car could be built in the City and provide BOTH jobs and a greener footprint for the City.

    See the history for yourself:

    Citizens need to realize that public transit is a necessary element in the San Francisco of tomorrow. Let’s do it right instead of dumb like the rest of the urban areas in the US.

    That all said, I hope the people in the car had decent insurance, and are doing OK.

    Sean Davis O’Dochartaigh (Jtothed)

  7. Apparently this accident was the fault of the car driver, not Muni.

  8. I ride Muni buses three or four times every day, mostly through the Haight and the Castro.

    It’s rare to find a bus that doesn’t smell of urine. They are splashed with graffiti. Garbage is strewn everywhere. The drivers are surly. The printed schedules are works of fiction.

    The system was better 20 years ago. The decline of Muni is yet another manifestation of San Francisco as the Dysfunctional City.

    We all know why. The unions are greedy. Management is inept. The politicians are rhetorical and clueless.

    The only hope is to privatize Muni. Otherwise, it will continue to deteriorate and make life miserable for people who can’t afford cars.

  9. This is one reason why it costs more to ride MUNI. Think of all the billable hours that is going to go into that work-order.