Is ‘Muni Operator’ the worst job in SF?

It sure seems so.

From the short-tempered 31-Balboa driver this morning, who apparently doesn’t field questions, to the downright defensive lady who I have to assume was training my 49-Van Ness driver just now, Muni drivers give the impression that they’d rather be mopping floors and flipping burgers.

In my latest incident, I watched as we approached the stop before mine as an elderly man kept yanking the stop-request cord. I almost asked him politely to stop, but then I noticed why he was so aggressive: The stop-requested indicator wasn’t lighting up. The trainee driver, despite seeing the man and his friends stand up in anticipation of the stop, breezed on by 19th Street at a moderate clip. It was only when the cadre of senior citizens raised their voices that she stopped, just past the striped-off bus stop.

Not wanting to take any chances, I stood up as soon as she started going again, knowing that my stop was a mere block away. I pressed the red stop button located on that bar by the doors, to no avail. I tried pulling the cord on the side opposite where the old guy pulled his. Again, nothing. But this time the driver stopped at the actual stop, to my relief.

Still, a faulty stop-request system is something perfectly reasonable to make the operators aware of. So as we stopped, I told both the trainer and the trainee that the cords on both sides weren’t working, and neither was the button. Boy, was I in for it.


All I could do in the face of such angry defensiveness was simply say, “Okay, thank you. Have a good day,” and of course, deboard.

Question: Why run incomplete routes?

More than once now, I’ve boarded a 31-Balboa inbound on a weekday around 9 a.m. only to be let out at Masonic.

When it happened just now, I asked the driver, who was clearly pissed at my question. “It’s the schedule, dude. Call Muni and complain.”

Hmm, more on that later. For now, anyone wanna guess (or impart wisdom) as to why they’d do this? When it’s happened to me, the next inbound bus is just a few minutes behind. I can’t make any sense of it.


I have a new name for the N-Judah. It’s the N-Nada. As in, “waiting for an N? Sorry, NADA.”

Preface: while I ride Muni just about every day in bus or F-Market/Wharves form, I rarely ride Muni Metro. I always hear that electronic lady saying “N (N echo) in 2 minutes!” when I walk upstairs from BART, and the metro line has a pretty satisfying whir to its machinery. But I’ve never depended on it; before today, the last time I used it was probably around February.

To those who were curious, “Muni Metro” is a slower, not entirely underground version of the New York Subway. It’s a rail-transit line that goes faster than the buses and goes to many parts of town. But that’s where the similarities to the Subway stop.

To those who use Muni Metro regularly, someone has to flippin’ tell me if you always have to wait this long for an N-Judah, allegedly one of the most popular Metro lines.

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NextMuni flat-out does not work

Waiting for a 49 at Mission and 20th. Checked before leaving home. It said 5 minutes. Perfect.

Got out here and the NextMuni marquee said 2 minutes. Awesome, I thought. It’s working.

Except that four minutes or so went by. No bus. I waited a few more minutes then went to check the marquee.

Side note: As I approached the shelter wherein the marquee lives, the clearly homeless guy began taking a piss … while remaining seated.

Anyway, magically, the next bus was now scheduled to arrive in 22 minutes.

How does this mindfuckery happen???

Of course, it was a matter of three minutes before the bus (which I’m on now) arrived.

Gotta love it.

New Features on Muni Diaries

In our never-ending desire for more contributions, we’ve added “Share a Muni diary” links at the top and right side of the page. Being bound to work within the limitations of WordPress, that’s the best we can do for now. Work is under way to completely revamp the site, and a “share” or “contribute” button will figure prominently in the redesign.

There’s also a “contributors” page now. We’ve started with beauty and the beast (Tara and me, respectively), and will be adding more names soon.

Enjoy, and stay tuned …

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