Two Awesome Muni Drivers That Deserve Some Recognition
The fact we even were able to get on the train was a miracle, and soon we were packed to the rafters and off to the Sunset. Needless to say, this kind of unpleasant ride is SOP during rush hour, so complaining about it wasn't worth the trouble. However, little did we know we were about to be on a Muni train run by an actual professional. In this case, we had an operator who CLEARLY announced each stop, AND connecting trains and significant landmarks/destinations as well. Needless to say, it was a welcome sign. I remarked to my colleague how we were lucky to even hear the stops, much less the connecting lines. A toursit from Texas said "It's always nice to have a real person's voice on these things. These days you get the robot on the telephone most of the time." Indeed.
I'm kicking myself for not noting the number of the train they were on, because I wanted to call Muni and tell them to give this person some sort of recognition. It sickens me how the TWU leadership continually rewards the few bad apples, instead of getting recognition for the good people which would encourage excellent service. Then again, you could write a telephone book-sized thesis on just how out of touch the TWU leadership is with its own members, the labor movement, and reality in general. (For fun, read this piece about how the leadership - not the hardworking rank and file - are balking at restoring some service cuts. Really!)
The other story was related to me by a friend who was on the 22 a few days ago. The bus was crowded and he noticed two shifty types who were acting a bit strange. Then, he (as well as many others) noticed these guys were pickpockets, preying primarily on an elderly man and a few others. Now, everyone SAW it, but no one was saying anything, so my friend decided to tell the driver. He didn't know that he was telling the Jules Winnfield of bus drivers, though.
Immediately the driver stopped the bus. He then made sure the doors were locked, got up and said "THERE WILL BE NO PICKPOCKETING ON MY BUS!" then put out the signal to call the cops. The criminals were desperately trying to leave, but no dice. The police came and the elderly man got his wallet back. Needless to say, that is rather cool. But there's also an uncool part of this story - plenty of people clapped at the end and knew what was going on, but didn't do anything to help. Fortunately, we Muni owners had a professional on board that day, and two hoodlums were taken away by the SFPD.
I will repeat this until the day I die that the majority of Muni operators are good people who want to do a good job. The leadership of their union is a clueless aristocracy that is unqualified to be in charge of a two-car parade, much less the leadership of workers critical to making sure our Muni runs on time. The rank and file need to have a coup d'etat and remove these folks. They deserve better and so do we.