New Central Subway opens, connecting Chinatown to Downtown

The+Central+Subway+ahead+of+its+opening.

Jameson Datoc '23

The Central Subway ahead of its opening.

Julian Iaconetti '26, Staff Reporter

SFMTA announced the brand new $1.95 billion downtown San Francisco Central Subway system opened on Nov.19, 4 years after its initial opening date.

The soft opening takes riders to four new stops, traveling from 4th Street to Chinatown, and although the project has taken a lot of criticism from its delays, it’s still been long anticipated by residents. 

“We didn’t know what to expect in terms of people participating. So many people coming out here to share this with us made it so special,” stated Julie Kirschbaum, MTA’s Director of Muni, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

The brand new Subway system will improve transportation to and from SF’s widely populated areas and according to KTVU, several Chinatown business owners are anticipating more tourists and visitors to revive the downed economy.

Although the new transit will reduce traffic, it came at a cost with a final evaluation of $1.95 billion as the project went $375 million over the original estimated cost. 

Archbishop Riordan receptionist Chrissy McGoldrick said, “I think it was a good idea because it will be beneficial to all the people that take public transportation and help free up some of the congestion.” Then added “Obviously spending more money is not ideal, but it was stuff that would have needed to be addressed anyways.”

Social Science Department Chair teacher Cory Nelson, a San Francisco resident and sports fan, would benefit greatly from traveling to and from locations to watch his favorite local sports teams, saying “It will help me get to arenas and stadiums.”  

From Fire and water damage, to Covid-19, and discovering an unknown underground river, the project has been delayed for four years but now the wait is finally over for the long anticipated subway system. 

It’s only the start for the brand new Subway as plans are in the works by SFMTA to extend the service to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. 

After the soft November opening, residents will be expecting the full opening in just a few months as SFMTA and Bay Area residents get ready for the long anticipated debut on Jan. 7, 2023.