Reader Mail Redux: Pain and Suffering on the N, and A Possible Reason Why

Everyone’s been noticing some bizarre behavior, on the N, and elsewhere on MUNI lately, in particular, bunched up trains and buses. Those of you who follow me on The Twitter know that I myself on the way to a sales call was stuck on an N as it was bunched up at Church and Duboce, and naturally, they refused to let us off the train or tell us what was up. Sigh.
First off, Reader Pat writes in with some tales of N Judah woe, as he starts commuting downtown via the N these days:

Hey Greg. Pat here. Hope you’re doing well.
Been taking the N-Judah downtown to some freelance jobs lately. 3 out 5 mornings last week had me waiting over 12 minutes for a train to come by, at peak morning rush (around 8:20 am). Naturally the trains were packed by the time they reached me at UCSF.
Then we waited at the Church/Duboce stop for another 10-15 minnutes. Driver of the train didn’t have the courtesy to say a single word about the delays. I was standing next to some middle-aged woman who was on her way to a doctor downtown, and was in a lot of pain. She finally got off the train and hailed a cab. The inadequacy of trains running on that line is ludicrous. I even decided to drive down and pay for parking a few times, just to avoid dealing with the awful hassle that is traveling on the Judah during peak times.

Ouch! Driving downtown is pricey, what with the tickets going up in price and parking costing what it does. I know that thanks to MUNI fails of late, I’ve been resorting to pricey cabs. Ugh. But when one has to get somewhere for work and failwhale behavior isn’t an option (as it seems to be at the Board of Supervisors or MUNI)
Now, the next email may be a bit controversial, as I cannot verify exactly who this person is. I can say, however, that some of the things mentioned, such as removing track irons from the trains, has been reported to me seperately, so in the spirit of open discussion, I shall print this message and let the chips fall where they may:

Because of stupid upper management decisions, MUNI Metro riders should expect (if they haven’t been victimized already) severe bunching of service with frequent and severe gaps in service.
Why?
Upper management has recently decided to:
-Plug and weld switches (tracks that enable turnarounds and changes in direction);

-Remove track irons (device used to throw switches) from all trains;

-Switchbacks requires dispatch of Inspector and track department to unplug/enable switch

Reason for decision:
-Prevent unauthorized switchback by operators
Consequences of decision:
– No more unauthorized switchbacks, but something worse;
– Severe gaps in service
– Frequent gaps in service
We have some operators who have bad attitudes and who make bad decisions (no excuse) that affect their riders. When upper management makes bad decisions, those decisions affect ALL riders.
How will upper management take responsibility and be accountabe for these calls which are negatively impacting the whole Metro system? Are they going to discipline themselves–or will they reward themselves with bonuses/raises (Mis-managers Nathaniel Ford, Ken MacDonald, Samuel Lau, John Byrd)?
–low-level Muni employee

Yikes! If even half of this is true, this would go towards explaining a lot. As always, the comment section is open for your reactions or contributions. Please do so and let’s see what happens.

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