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Investigation into Muni train door left opened while moving hints at cause

Muni continues to probe how a light-rail vehicle door was open on an outbound L-Taraval while the vehicle was moving between Van Ness and Church stations during the evening commute last Friday.

The door had been placed “out of service” by the operator at Van Ness station, but may have forgotten to use a pin to lock the door shut, according to John Haley, transit director of operations.

A Muni rider, Alex Merenkov, caught the incident on video and posted it on YouTube. A familiar face captured on the video was Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was in the vehicle looking at the opened door.

Wiener said that he did not pull the emergency lever because he was afraid the train would stop immediately and throw passengers around. He said the operator had made an announcement to stay away from the door, but passengers clearly remained next to the open door.

Merenkov, though, does not recall the operator making any announcements until they arrived at Church station, where passengers were told to get off the train.

Haley said it was a rare occurrence and has only heard of it happening one other time since becoming the transit director of operations in 2010.

There were no injuries and the operator was placed on non-driving status pending the outcome of the investigation.

Haley said that if there is an emergency on the train, passengers should pull the emergency lever located near the door. Passengers can also talk to the operator through an intercom near the front and back of light-rail vehicles.