San Francisco’s delayed Central Subway has a “soft opening” date

The Chinatown-Rose Pak station as seen in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, September 8, 2022. (Photo by Jerold Chinn).

The long-awaited Central Subway has an “soft opening” date of Nov. 19, San Francisco’s top transit official Jeffrey Tumlin announced Tuesday.

Tumlin made the announcement at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting during his report to the board. Passengers will be able familiarize themselves with the new subway during the soft opening period.

He said the agency will run a free weekend train shuttle service between the Fourth and Brannan and Chinatown-Rose Pak stations at the start of Nov. 19 through the end of the year. Other new stations that are part of the Central Subway include the Yerba Buena/Moscone and Union Square/Market Street stations.

During the soft opening period, the T will continue to run its usual route until the subway is fully opened for service, seven days a week.

(Graphic courtesy of SFMTA).

Full revenue service will happen sometime in January next year before the Lunar New Year.

Tumlin explained at the board meeting why the agency chose to do a soft opening.

“This will be a soft opening because we still need to make sure that all of our staff are fully trained, not only in the daily regular operations of Central Subway, but every single problem that might arise or emergency that might arise,” Tumlin said.

Critics have long pointed to the project’s delay and growing project costs.

The baseline budget for the project had been estimated to cost $1.57 billion, but the project has now been estimated to cost $1.93 billion upon completion.

This story has been updated from its original version.

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Jerold Chinn

Award-winning transportation journalist based in San Francisco.