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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Muni Is Shelling Out $32.8 Million on Collisions

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 4:25 PM

click to enlarge Yet another reason Muni has no money
  • Yet another reason Muni has no money

Muni has racked up a $32 million bill for damages resulting from recent collisions, including the July 2009 Muni crash where an operator blacked out and smashed into the back of a stationary K-Ingleside train.

The transit agency must repair eight cars that have been structurally damaged in different accidents. According to city documents released in response to a SF Weekly public records request, the repairs will be done by the Italian firm AnsaldoBreda, which owns the world's only jigs specifically shaped for straightening the frames of San Francisco's fleet of Breda light-rail cars.

The July 2009 crash, which injured 47, resulted in $7 million payouts to victims. With millions more in added repair costs, that's one blackout the driver and his agency will have trouble recovering from.

Documents describing the repairs suggest that lumbering, snaking, creaking, squealing cars are subject to the kind of precise alignment requirements associated with Swiss clocks. Muni car frames, which carry tons of weight over many miles, must remain relatively straight or else the doors could jam, moving stairs might get stuck, and articulation joints will go out of alignment.

"When this occurs, the car then becomes a maintenance problem" also known as a repeater, according to a report, which explained why only AnsaldoBreda could perform the repairs.

Let's hope that term "repeater" doesn't apply to the 2009 crash.

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Matt Smith


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