Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Courtesy ShutterstockSan Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California

San Francisco unveils long-awaited new subway line

After 40 years of planning and construction, the Central Subway line is finally running.

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

San Francisco's footprint isn't very large, so its public transportation system chugs along fairly well with buses, the BART and MUNI systems, and a few of those iconic cable car lines. Just this week, another option opened, the Central Subway, for a weekends-only soft launch. The line extends the existing Muni Metro T line.

So far, there are only four stations on this new Central Subway line, currently only open on weekends: 4th and Brannan, Yerba Buena, Union Square, and Chinatown/Rose Park Station. The good news is, these stations all cover heavily-visited areas, easing congestion and hopefully making for a seamless experience for vacationers. For November and December, the subway is free since your ride operator will be still in training, so it's kind of like you're participating in fine-tuning the program. Then in January, the subway will transition to daily service with a paid ticket.

So right now, from 8am to midnight, trains run every 12 minutes, according to SF FunCheap. The opening of this historic subway system is one to cheer for, as it's been many years in the making. The $1.9 billion system of 1.7 miles has faced a decade of construction—and it's been 40 years since its conception, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Yet its launch was not without a few crinkles. San Franciscan Scott James posted on Facebook, "First day of the new subway line: it's deep underground, so there are impressive multi-story escalators to get to the trains. Some opening day jitters with escalators and elevators breaking down. Still, so glad to see so many out exploring the new system."

Starting Jan. 7, Central Subway service will extend from the city of Sunnyvale (home to tech offices for Apple, Google, Oracle and others) to Chinatown seven days a week, with connections from San Francisco neighborhoods like Bayview and Visitacion Valley to SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.

Union Square will also see improvements above ground, too. San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced this week that the Union Square Strategic Plan will make the historic area safer and more inviting. The grassy square surrounded by upscale retail has sometimes seen violence. Last year on Nov. 19, thieves broke glass at numerous stores in the square to enter and then rob them, including Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Yves San Laurent, Fendi, Hermes, Armani and others.

Latest news


    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!