“It’s Big”: What It’s Like to Ride SF Muni’s New Central Subway; Unofficial opening this weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The first MUNI Metro trains are taking passengers on their first-ever journeys under San Francisco on the long-awaited Central Subway this weekend.

Following cost overruns and a four-year delay, Muni’s nearly two-mile extension of the T-Third line finally connects the city’s South of Market district to Chinatown.

MUNI passengers were daringly going where no transit passengers had gone before in San Francisco on Saturday.

Justin Brickell brought his family.

VIDEO: Pelosi and Buttigieg Tour SF’s Central Subway Project; service on track to start this fall

“It’s great, glad it finally got built,” he said. “It was expensive but now that it’s created, it will help connect Chinatown to the rest of the city.”

“It’s amazing. I had no idea how beautiful it would be and we just had an amazing morning in Chinatown,” Carol Chan said.

The new central subway crosses the city from north to south, with three new subway stations connecting SOMA to Union Square and Chinatown.

The station’s escalators are impressive on their own, with some plunging 100 feet below street level.

VIDEO: Here’s a glimpse of SF’s central subway in Chinatown

“I haven’t taken the stairs yet, and I may not for a while. It’s all good,” Joost Kemink said.

Taoist monks held a blessing ceremony at Chinatown station, named after community advocate Rose Pak.

“It’s big,” Donald Luu said.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Donald Luu said the new metro line was a long time coming.

MORE: San Francisco Central Subway Project Delayed Due to Pandemic Complications

“The opening of the central metro couldn’t come at a better time. Chinatown is recovering from the pandemic, anti-Asian hatred and a general business downturn,” Luu said.

SFMTA Director Jeff Tumlin acknowledges that the $1.95 billion subway project went over budget and is four years behind schedule.

“We touched a river we didn’t expect, we touched archaeological sites that made extraordinary discoveries. It’s the fulfillment of a promise. It brings Chinatown 20 minutes closer to BART, East Bay, Caltrain and Peninsula,” Tumlin said.

Rides will be free on weekends through December. The grand opening of the Central Subway is scheduled for January 7, 2023.

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