The 47: Everything that’s wrong with Muni, all in one route
For work, I had to go into the edge of the Tenderloin one afternoon just as schools were letting out. I didn’t get what I needed for work, but I did witness a drug deal, so I suppose I got my afternoon’s entertainment out of the trip. I hopped on a 47 on Van Ness to get back to Market Street.
For starters, it was full of high-school students, who were clotted into the back of the bus and screaming at one another. As far as I can tell, they weren’t screaming anything intelligible, they were JUST SCREAMING. After two blocks, the bus came to a stop and the driver said, “We’re having mechanical problems. Everyone has to get off the bus and wait for the next one.”
The next bus came, and everyone piled on. We went another block to the next stop, which was also full of high-school students. When the doors opened, the teens on the bus screamed at the teens on the sidewalk, and vice-versa. Then more teens tried to cram themselves on, forming a solid mass that started deep inside the bus and ended on the sidewalk. The driver couldn’t close the doors. The police came and physically created enough of a separation in the throng of adolescents so that the doors could close and we could be on our way. (Does anyone know whether buses can operate with their doors open?)
Then, at the next stop, a crazy guy got on. For some reason, probably because it was the only open spot, he stood next to me. He was carrying on to himself at a normal volume at first, and I just looked out the window and pretended he didn’t exist. But then he got louder.
“THE NEXT PERSON WHO [something unintelligible] IS GONNA GET IT. NO ARGUMENTS.”
“IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE BITCHES!”
He was yelling almost right in my ear. I thought I might start crying. After all, I was the closest “bitch” who might “get it.”
At this point I was trying to figure out what would attract more attention: staying where I was or scuttling away, toward the cloud of screaming teens in the back. I decided to stay where I was and keep him in my peripheral vision, should I suddenly need to defend myself.
That’s when he started yelling at another woman about her makeup. Something like, “WHO TAUGHT YOU TO PUT ON MAKEUP? IT LOOKS LIKE SHIT.”
And then, a stop later, he got back off the bus, right in front of a cop. I was hoping like hell the officer would notice this guy’s lunatic, homicidal, makeup-critiquing ravings, but the man wised up and got quiet.
Fortunately, the remaining three blocks of bus ride were relatively uneventful.
I guess I can’t say it’s ALL of Muni’s problems in one route — after all, nobody threw up on me.