wportal_muni_crash.jpgNearly a year has passed since a San
Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail accident at the West Portal Station
injured more than 50 passengers
; however for Muni, the incident is far from
being over and done with.

Since the July 19 crash, which
occurred when the driver operating the L-Taraval train reportedly passed out while
switching the train from automatic to manual mode as he pulled into the
station, 57 people have filed claims against San Francisco for the injuries
they incurred.

Out of that total, 16 have accepted settlements amounting to a
grand total of $211,359, according
to a report in yesterday’s San Francisco Examiner.
10 lawsuits are still
pending and 24 claims remain open, meaning that the payouts could greatly
increase over the nearly quarter of a million dollars already handed out by The

Henry Gray, the train operator at the time
of the accident, apparently suffered
from a medical condition
that caused him to become unconscious while
driving the train. He is no longer employed by the SFMTA.  

In light of the accident, the SFMTA
implemented an “immediate action plan”
which called for train operators to
be written up if they are observed in manual mode without instruction from
central control.

The SFMTA also recently hired Reginald
Mason as its new
safety chief safety officer
after James Dougherty stepped down in
to take a job with the DC Metro. Mason was formerly the chief safety
officer of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County in Houston,
Texas. Under his watch, bus collisions dropped 25 percent and rail crashes
decreased by a whopping 53 percent.

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