Woman injured at Muni station as door closes on hand, raising pressure on agency

The door of a new Muni train closed on a woman’s hand and she fell onto the track, putting pressure on the agency to fix a safety issue they were in the process of addressing.

Muni is making upgrades to the doors of its new Siemens rail cars, the safety of which came into question after one closed on a woman’s hand and she fell onto the track.

The woman, whose name has not been released, got caught in one of the rear doors of an N-Judah train she was trying to board at about 2:30 p.m. on April 12. The woman was unable to extricate herself as the train departed the station, and she ran along with it for several feet before pulling her hand from the door and falling onto the tracks, said San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Paul Rose.

“She was transported to San Francisco General Hospital in serious condition,” said San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter.

A source within Muni who was not authorized to speak on the record said the new Siemens trains use cameras instead of rearview mirrors, and the placement of the cameras leave large blind spots that obstruct drivers’ view of certain doors.

Most of the trains have a sensor in each doorway and on the outer flap of each door to detect objects, but only seven of them have an additional sensor in the door jamb.

“It’s important to remind people not to stick their hand in the door right before it closes,” Rose said. “Not only can you delay the train, but you can also hurt yourself.

“Regardless, this was a terrible event, and we are doing a full investigation.”

The San Francisco Examiner posted video of the incident on Friday.

“It’s sad because the agency was informed by operators and supervisors many times that the sensitive edges of the doors are not that sensitive,” said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union.

He said he’s aware of half a dozen incidents in the past six months in which passengers got caught in doors.

Muni plans to have 68 new Siemens trains in service by this summer, and 25 to 35 are currently in service on any given day. Ultimately, the agency is replacing 151 Breda trains.

Rose said the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni and other transit services throughout the city, is planning to install additional sensors on the rest of its new fleet, which has been dogged by other safety issues. Recently a shear pin broke on one of the couplers connecting two cars together on an N-Judah.

Inspectors found a second broken shear pin on another train when they perused the rest of the fleet, Rose said.

“Out of an abundance of caution we decided not to couple trains until we have an understanding of the failures,” he said. Muni has reduced all the new Siemens trains to one car, and is running them on lines like the J-Church, which uses one-car trains.

Rose said that all the Siemens cars have passed several safety tests and been certified by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Even though they meet all the technical requirements and regulations, we’re always working to take advantage of technology development,” he said. “We’re continuing to make improvements to the design.”

Rachel Swan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: rswan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rachelswan

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Woman-injured-at-Muni-station-as-door-closes-on-13781772.php.

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