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Reader Mail: A Farewell to the Inner Sunset, and a Weird Muni Frak-Up on Thanksgiving Eve

Today in Reader Mail, we have two entries. The first is a link sent to me by Reader James, who was one of the original readers of the site since back in the day. He is moving to the East Bay, and wrote this wonderful ode to the Inner Sunset, as he departs after almost 10 years in the area. Ironically, he first lived on 8th, next door to the building I live in now!

Next up, Reader Joel sent in a live update of a scene of bizarro Muni behavoir on Thanksgiving Eve. I would have posted it sooner, but I wanted some time off and try and be as offline as possible for a few days. It still merits posting as it describes a rather ironic situation involving a Muni driver trying to flag down a bus with predictable results.

I think with the impending demolition of Muni (which our "Mayor" had the temerity to brag about as if this was a good thing), we'll be seeing a lot of this. Which makes me wonder how much longer I'll write about it, since this was supposed to be something other than the "let's document how badly our Mayor, MTA Board, legislators, Board of Supervisors, and Muni frakked up our city." Sadly, that's more often the case.

Is it just me or is this is insane?

I caught the 71 outbound tonight at Powell Street at 5:45pm-ish. Headed down Market Street. The bus pulls over at Van Ness and Market (yep, pulled over on the side of the road) and parked. As always, no information from the driver. (This is a bus, not a train. On the trains, you expect to be left totally in the dark about what's going on.... but a bus?)

After sitting there for a few minutes, passengers start yelling "What's going on driver?" The driver then tells us that his replacement didn't show up on time and we have to wait for him. Because there's no relief driver to take over the current driver's shift when he pulled up to Van Ness, we had to wait for him. A bunch of passengers just got off and started walking (you've seen this scene before, I'm sure.) Those of us whose destinations were beyond walking distance just sat there and continued waiting. A bus FULL of people -- trying to get home after work on the evening before Thanksgiving -- just sitting there on the side of the road, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Are you kidding me?

Then the driver sees another 71 approaching. He announces to us that he's going to flag the oncoming 71 bus down. "Everyone off the bus, I'll have this next bus stop and you can get on it!" He grabs his flashlight and we all hustle off the bus immediately in order to catch the next bus! The driver gets in the street -- Market Street -- and starts flashing (with his light) at the oncoming bus to stop -- because it's not a normal bus stop (remember, we are just pulled off to the curb Northwest side of Market at Vaness. The driver of the other bus sees the driver in the street but refuses to stop -- just keeps on going. [This is my favorite part --> I then yell at our driver "Now how does it feel to flag a Muni bus down and have it ignore you and keep going?" That comment got a lot of laughs from all us passengers standing around our parked bus.]
(emphasis added. - .ed)
Attached are picture of us (passengers) standing around, and our "driver" sitting in his seat.

Is this as good as it gets?

Pathetic, I tell you.

Eesh. Needless to say, this is a time when no one wins. Notice how the fact a bus driver failed to show up for work, for God Knows What Reason, starts a domino effect that harms his fellow driver, harms Muni owners, and escalates, needlessly. I have to say, if we could just get a handle on unscheduled driver Failure To Appears, life would be better for folks. I don't know how we can continue to afford this, and drivers do not earn friend points when they pull this kind of crap, as it makes the whole system look bad.

Remember - you are the owner of Muni, not them, or any of those knuckleheads in office. Until they all realize that, nothing changes.

Comments

That's possibly the best Muni story of all time.

SF citizens may "own" Muni on paper, but it has for decades been operated for the "necessity and convenience" of the drivers. While there are a number of honorable and dedicated workers, the general culture is where is my paycheck? not what needs to be done to get service on the street?
Have a look at a Daily Service Report on SFMTA's site. 20-50 missed runs per AM or PM schedule. overall absenteeism 20% daily. The TEP fraud is throwing the deck chairs overboard rather than just rearranging them.

The really nutty thing is that the 71 line changes drivers somewhere before Van Ness in the MIDDLE of the outbound run. I have experienced the exact same thing on the 71 except it was during daylight hours and the next bus the driver flagged down for us stopped and picked us up. Unbelievable until you ride MUNI regularly.

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