44 rant

This is something that’s been on my chest for four years. Four years! I used to ride the 44 line religiously each day at the start and end of my very, very long commute to Mountain View. I even dedicated a personal journal to the 44 just to vent my frustration in a positive way. So I figured I’d share my woes with you guys on Muni Diaries.

For those of you who still ride the 44, I hope the line has improved its on-time performance. It really couldn’t have gotten much worse. The 20-minute interval between buses as displayed on the Muni schedule is a bunch of packed-in crap. Just writing all this now takes me back to the days when I’d wait and wait and wait for the bus, sharing my angst with fellow Muni goers. I guess you could say that the 44’s habitual inconsistencies brought the community together. But I’d rather engage with fellow San Franciscans at an antique show at the Cow Palace than stand around talking about how long we’d all been waiting for the bus. And I hate antiques.

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Bikes and Buses, Part 1

This may come as a shock to some, but I don’t ride Muni every day. I bike to work, and I walk most other places. I claim no authority at crafting the site you’re visiting, other than being witness to its birth in idea form. I mean, I ride buses and rails just like the rest of you, just maybe not as frequently.

But, like I said, I ride my bike to work, so I deal with Muni in a way I’m pretty sure many of you do: Avoiding the bus as it’s coming to KILL ME.

What I’m speaking of, specifically, is Muni buses’ proclivity toward not seeing bicycles. The phenomenon breaks down into two main categories: Pulling in front of us, or pulling out from the curb toward us.

The first I speak of happens like this: I’m riding at a moderate clip, as aware as I can be of my surroundings. I approach a traffic-lighted intersection, and as I do, WHOOSH! a bus zooms by my left side and cuts me off as it beelines toward the stop on the other side. Thanks, I think, and continue riding at a slightly slower speed, only to then encounter scenario two:

I ride past a bus that is at a stop, angled as it were with its ass pointing out. Because I’ve almost been hit by drivers who pull away from the curb before looking to see if anything is coming, I steer way too clear, looking behind me first to see … you guessed it, if anything is coming.

Two questions:

  1. Why do the buses feel the need to gun it and drive in front of bikers, whose lane they will then have to cross to get to the bus stop? Why not go ahead and start slowing down, let the bike-riders pass, then pull over?
  2. Why do almost all drivers start driving before looking? Isn’t this Rule 1 of driving anything, including a tricycle?

Will APTA Rail Conference Spur Good Behavior?

We’re waiting, Muni. And we’re watching.

And what the hell is an APTA Rail Rodeo? Well, funny you should ask:

Saturday, May 31 marks the 16th year for the International Rail Rodeo Competition, which highlights the best rail operators and maintenance teams from across North America. Competitors, selected from local and state competitions, will compete to be crowned champion.

While We Were Away

Muni went and hit some peeps.

Details are sketchy, but apparently early Saturday a woman was struck by a 71-Noriega at Market and Sixth. She was taken to General, but died from her injuries.

Then, Monday, a 12-Folsom struck a ped near Howard and Embarcadero. This accident was apparently originated with a car running a red light and cutting off the bus, which caused the 12 to strike the walker.

His condition is not known.

It should be noted that cause is not known in either of these incidents, but that extra caution is called for by pedestrians and bus operators.

Thx: SFist and The Examiner.

NextMuni: 10 minutes…1 minute…28 minutes…

I actually like the fact that NextMuni exists. It gives me something to look at in a bus shelter rather than stare at the people in it, stare at the Muni map I’ve damn-near memorized, stare off into space, or stare at my cell phone photos or text messages to keep me entertained. It also helps prevent stepping out and looking for the bus (“Is it there now…now?…NOW??”), though I still do that if it’s one minute away and I don’t see one headed my way.

Though I hear some fairly positive reviews of it (and read a handful of fairly positive reviews of it on Yelp), I kind of hate NextMuni, an apparent adjunct of NextBus. I really want to know who is responsible for it, so I know who to complain to about their irritatingly inaccurate system.

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