Coronavirus impact: San Francisco commuters frustrated by drastic cuts of Muni services amid COVID-19 crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Muni officials significantly reduced bus service in San Francisco Monday, cutting from 68 lines to 17. The changes surprised some passengers.

"I was going to catch the 39 up to Fillmore, where I work, and there was no bus there. So I had to walk from Market Street to Geary," said Adam Rogers of Vallejo. He said he waited about 20 minutes for the bus until he gave up and decided to walk.

Others were concerned about how difficult it was to practice social distancing on the remaining buses.

RELATED: Coronavirus impact: SFMTA to suspend Muni service on most lines due to COVID-19

"There is a half hour between buses and they're all crowded. I had to get off two buses. This is the third bus I have tried to get to work on," said John Heiden.

Muni planners say they had to cut the service because they expect a large number of employees to stay home because of the coronavirus.

"This is in response to the reality of our operator's lives. We have a lot of operators who are members of vulnerable populations. We also have operators who are caring for vulnerable family members. So we've been seeing a drop-off in operators and mechanics who are able to show up for work," said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director.

"We're expecting between 30-40% of our workforce to not be able to show up in this coming week. And in order to be able to maintain essential service for essential workers- delivering nurses to the hospitals and cooks and custodial workers- we are going to have to concentrate our remaining service on our highest ridership lines," Tumlin said.

Officials warned over the weekend that service on Monday could be a mess and unreliable, but some were still caught off guard.

"I live in Richmond and I catch the BART and I need this 38 to get here everyday. So I just found out today! So either I am going to get up early in the morning to drive my car or get up early in the morning and wait for the BART and then wait for this bus," said Trina Morgan.

RELATED: Coronavirus impact: Changes, reductions coming to Bay Area transit agencies

Here are the bus lines that are still in operation: 1-California, 22-Fillmore, 38-Geary, 38R-Geary Rapid, 8-Bayshore, 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid, 49-Van Ness-Mission, 9-San Bruno, 19-Polk, 24-Divisadero, 25-Treasure Island, 29-Sunset, 44-O'Shaugnessy, L-Taraval bus, N-Judah bus and T-Third bus.

Officials hope service will run smoother by Wednesday once they get all the details ironed out.

They are asking people to take other modes of transportation if possible, leaving space on the bus for those who don't have any other option.

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