Are We In The Midst of A Slow Meltdown Of the N? Maybe!

Nothing is perfect, but as of late our Mighty N has become the Mighty FAIL, more often that usual. Obviously there are many reasons for many failures, but the frequency, and timing is becoming an issue.
Most recently, Reader Joseph (who writes the awesome MUNI Grouch Blog) had a rather disastrous night on the way home, when the N Judah operator decided, without warning to stop at Arguello Street and unceremoniously dump everyone off without a word, late at night.
You can read his entire email to the SF Chronicle and MUNI here at his blog but I thought I’d post an excerpt, since he notes (as we have) that it was not long ago we were promised by Many Important People that operators who did this would face The Consequences:

Dear Ms. Gordon,
If you recall your article of August 6:
Muni operators who shorten runs given warning
I was on an outbound N Judah last night (Nov 10) that made a short turn at Arguello, and it was *25 MINUTES* before another train arrived to pick up my fellow passengers on me. We were left IN THE DARK LATE AT NIGHT ON THE SIDEWALK FOR A HALF HOUR by the operator who said he was “ordered to” do this by control. This is probably complete bullshit; if it isn’t then someone in control is equally responsible for this inexcusable action – and the operator should have ignored the instruction anyway. The train was labeled “Ocean Beach” when I boarded it at 4th & King and the roller did not change to Arguello until the operator exited the Market St. subway.
There were plenty of trains returning inbound (no shortage, in fact one passed us while the operator was switching back), and few outbound trains, so this train was needed outbound. Ahead of us some outbound passengers would have been waiting over 30 minutes for a train.
This is totally, spectacularly inexcusable and is the kind of unnecessary stupidity and callousness that creates such a negative perception of Muni customer service – when in reality it is only a small percentage of operators and managers who are responsible.

Now, sure, things happen and all, but it is a bit much when the operator can’t use that magic microphone to TELL PEOPLE THIS before dumping them off. Is it so hard to use ancient technology to simply communicate? Anyone who’s been on a train with a mumbled announcement can answer that one.
However, this is not the only tale of woe I’ve received. Reader Karolyn wrote in the other day:

Monday, November 10th
I truly wonder what it takes to get good service on the N line? All last week it was the same no trains at 7am going in bound and the next train crowed #1412B with the driver who continually thinks every thought she has must be shared with a crowed in train. You must stand 150 feet away from my window. Ummm your going forwarded what are your worried about. And she will give this unsolicted information for the whole sweaty ride.
BUT this morning a Monday morning the sign at 7th and Irving said train in 4 minutes, then 5 then 3 then arriving. One minute later the train turns off 9th to Irving stops at 8th (there is no stop sign) then continues past the 10 or so people who need to be in their office by 7:30! Then waiting another 7 minutes for Chatty Cathy to pack us into already crowed cars. I know we voted for chickens and pigs to have moving room, but no one thought to put that issue on the ballot for muni. Well I guess it better to know what Muni really thinks of it’s passengers.
Thanks
Karolyn

When “Mason Powell” and I were returning from downtown on Election Night, we too were trapped in the vortex that is the Downtown Tunnel. Countless half empty Ks, Ls and Ms whisked by, while we waited forever for an N. Once we realized this was a fool’s errand at Powell Station (since any N coming in would be packed to the rafters), we gave up, after waiting for 45 minutes, and took the next KLM to Forest Hill and LUCKILY caught at 43 going to 9th and Judah. Now, an N Judah is not a car service and I don’t expect one the moment I walk in the station. But is it too much for them to run just a few more , and not run 1 car Ns?
Perhaps so!
Share your tales of woe by email or in the comments and let’s hope things get better soon now that it is Holiday Season.

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2 Responses to Are We In The Midst of A Slow Meltdown Of the N? Maybe!

  1. tangobaby says:

    Yeah, the N has been more and more erratic lately. I got dumped on Halloween at Arguello, too. And the commute on Monday night was a parade of J, M, K and I waited an extra 30 minutes for the N, which was packed to the gills by the time it got to Montgomery.
    *sigh*

  2. tk says:

    This is an incompetence-on-the-J story, but it involves the N. I’m on the J, coming out of the subway at Church & Duboce. There’s an N stopped going into the subway. Another N at the stop on Duboce. Our J operator waves the N at the stop forward, for some unknown stupid reason, so now the second N is stopped behind the first one and now the J can’t make the left turn onto Church because it’s BLOCKED BY THE N THE OPERATOR JUST WAVED FORWARD.
    WTFF.
    So we’re sitting there for 5-6 minutes for absolutely no reason. The guy next to me says, “Typical Muni” and everyone laughs.

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