Confused Riders on the Outbound J

i took the J church TO start everything off, but it doesn't really count
Photo by Flickr user dennis

This hilarious-yet-sad anecdote came to the Muni Diaries inbox last week from Muni rider Eric G:

I got on the J at 34th and Judah. For those not in the know, the N sometimes goes outbound to Ocean Beach, then becomes an outbound J. This means it turns onto Church St instead of going into the tunnel.

Of course, this confuses a lot of people. One woman asked me if it would go to Civic Center. “Nope,” I replied.

A few minutes later, a second woman asked if the whole train was going into the tunnel, or just the first half. “This train will turn at the next stop,” I explained.

Thing is, this woman wasn’t just a regular Muni rider. She was a fare inspector. And to make matters worse, she was leading a group of fare inspectors.

I don’t blame her for not knowing. But I think this is symptomatic of Muni not training their employees nearly well enough.

Have you ever been confused about the direction your train was going? Send us all your Muni stories today!


  • Matthew

    I ride this train regularly and have to explain how it works to someone about once a week. In one extreme case, I have witnessed the train operator catching an earful of verbal abuse from a surprised passenger. Folks have got to check the headsign when they board. If it says “N – Duboce & Church” or “J – Balboa Park”, it is not going downtown.

  • Gopal

    I have boarded a J train at 34th and Judah that did indeed go downtown. I got off at Van Ness.

    The thing about these ghost trains, as I call them, is that if you were to call the 673-MUNI hotline and ask when the next one was coming, they couldn’t tell you.

    They also couldn’t tell whether or not the J train you had just boarded was going all the way downtown or turning at Church street.

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