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Mayor Newsom Gets an Earful, and Maggie Lynch Says a Mouthful - The Latest MUNI Blowout!

On Wednesday, I hopped on MUNI, to take a trip downtown to check out the "soft launch" of the Market St. Railway Museum and take a few pictures. Although the "official" opening is not until early October, the Museum is open now and has some great exhibits plus some really nice photos and posters for sale. What could possibly go wrong?

Little did I know we were going to have Yet Another Muni Blowout, and we were also going to get Yet Another Mindbending Quote from Muni Spokesdroid Maggie Lynch. I was amazed.

First, of course, was the meltdown itself, when we were all stuck on the N-Judah waiting to go into the tunnel, only to find out that a train ahead of us was "stuck" and we had to get out. There is nothing as fun as being cooped up in a crowded train, not knowing what's going on - or why you can't leave.

The many rush-hour commuters that morning were just thrilled to get out en masse to try and catch a train on the F-Line, or one at the Church St. Station. The poor station agent just let the masses in, to speed things up for people so they could get to work on time. No one was happy, to say the least.

But the real fun was watching coverage on KPIX News about the latest meltdown, in particular this gem of a quote from our well-paid spokesdroid:

Muni spokesperson Maggie Lynch said, "Unfortunately, what we've had is like Lemony Snicket -- a series of unfortunate events -- and they just came all together, and it makes it seem like there is an overriding problem."

Put aside for a moment the mismanaged cultural reference, and read that statement again. It flies in the face of any reasonable nalysis of the many analyses of MUNI indicating significant systemic perfomance problems with MUNI management and service.

To somehow suggest that there's "no problem" after Yet Another MUNI Folly Day, as MUNI's spokesperson does is simply amazing. I can't fathom how someone could say something like this with a straight face, much less repeat it to the press and expect to be taken seriously.

However, Mayor Newsom does not seem amused by the latest antics. Let's hope he can suggest to the well-heeled managers of MUNI it is in their interest to get things on the move. Something's gotta change soon, or we're all going to be a city of de facto pedestrians, outrunning MUNI.

UPDATE, 9/16: The Chronicle recaps the week in Muni Follies, with a bonus of both an F-line closuer and our famous Cable Cars as well. And we got more silliness from MUNI's spokesdroid.

I wonder if we are at that point in our culture where an agency can routinely screw up and the People In Charge can keep peddling the PR that "nothing's wrong" and still a) be taken seriously by The Media and The Public and b) keep getting paid out of our taxes and fares?

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