Muni operator asleep at the … automatic controls

Castro Tunnel
Photo by Timmy

Just a few days after reports of the California Public Utilities Commission lodged allegations of Muni’s worn tracks and faulty equipment, the San Francisco Examiner delves further into the CPUC’s report to find “human error”-type infractions. From the Examiner’s story:

Many of the violations discovered by CPUC inspectors involve worn tracks, exposed wires, malfunctioning emergency phones and overgrown vegetation along the tracks, while a handful involve apparent human error.

On April 26, a state inspector observed an operator whose train was on automatic “closing his eyes while the train was moving.”

“The operator appeared to be asleep,” the inspection report said. “The operator had his right leg extended up on the trash can and his left arm was leaning on the left side of the control console. The operators head was resting in his left hand, while his eyes where closed and his mouth was open [sic].”

Other issues include speeding in a school zone, deboarding to buy snacks (something we’re all too familiar with here), and reading the paper while the LRV was operating under automatic control “an inspector observed a train operator whose cab had a number of newspapers in plain view. While the inspector did not see the operator reading the papers, the appearance was ‘that at some time during his shift he was being distracted by the news articles.'”

Read more at the Examiner.


  • Russ

    I read the article, and the operator was not reading a newspaper while the train was in automatic control as you have erroneously reported. He just had some newspapers in the compartment near him. I guess when it comes to bashing Muni operators, why let a little thing like the truth get in the way of your rant. Even in the article the reporter assumed that the operator must have picked the paper up at some point while operating, even though he never actually witnessed it.

    • Hi Russ,

      Thanks for the comment and correction. You’re right. I mischaracterized the incident with the newspapers. I have corrected it above.

      And I’m sorry you feel that this post is “bashing Muni operators.” My intent in publishing it was to shed light on a state oversight commission’s investigation of a public San Francisco agency, something we feel important for all San Franciscans, especially those who ride Muni, to know about.

      But I regret the error, and appreciate your bringing it to light.



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