F the F

Some of this post is F-centric, and some of it is just rants and raves about what should be basic common sense on public transit. It’s going to be pretty clear which is which.

Muni Diaries often complains about the F. I guess Muni Diaries complains about a good handful of things, but there are special problems inherent in the F that require extra-special complaints.

I don’t know how much it cost by its unveiling in 2000 to expand the F-Market line to the wharves, but I’m sure it was expensive. It appears to have been part of a continuing effort to revamp the rails and give tourists something cute to ride on. Nonetheless, I think the city underestimates how many people, regular SF residents, use it to get to work. We use it because there is NOTHING QUICKER. It’s so freakin’ cute. It emphazies local history and I love that to bits. But it is so inefficient and slow, it makes me and the other commuters want to rip our hair out as we all fight to get on the tiny, infrequent cars.

I stand at one of the most popular F stops on Market every day, and find it’s almost entirely commuters trying to get to the northeast end of the city. I understand that a tiny, old-timey rail car (whose electricity pole regularly falls off the cable) is going to be crowded and inefficient. And, since there are clearly no efforts to expand or improve bus or rail service to the north end (save for a very fledgling plan to put rail service between Mission Bay and Crissy Field), this will have to do. Complaining about it (loudly and often) only goes so far, it seems.

To add insult to injury…you’ve heard of “missed runs” right? It’s a term Muni uses to refer to “when the bus just doesn’t show up, haha sucka!” These missed runs can be due to any number of factors, including a driver not showing up for his or her shift. Muni is bad about these, based on any news story that bags on the agency for its piss-poor on-time performance and lack of adequate funding. You can tell when you’ve been Missed-Run-Rolled because you’ll be, say, standing at an F stop on Market with 30 other commuters, only to be greeted with a standing-room-only streetcar. Sometimes there’s another F right behind it, or on its way down Market (you can usually see it). Other times, you have no fucking clue when the next one is going to show up, so you start throwing elbows, demanding people move all the way to the back and stop thinking about whose crotch you’re currently nestled in.

The basic tenet of public transportation is simply that: Move all the way to the back. I don’t care if your girlfriend/boyfriend got a seat and you want to stand next to her/him. Fucking get up and stand together in the back. I also don’t care if you feel some personal connection with the primo pole-holding spot you scored. If there are more people trying to get on and there is room in the back, MOVE. TO. THE. BACK. As far as you can. Because, guess what? The F isn’t going to move until everyone is crammed into the streetcar. So, not only are you going to end up later for work (or for the Alcatraz ferry), you’re going to contribute to Muni’s horrible on-time performance.

I dare anyone to stay sane as the sometimes too-friendly F drivers, in streetcars moving opposite directions, STOP on the rails to chat with each other for a second. The tourists are on vacation and don’t care. I am trying to get to work.

I’m not sure if it’s clear, yet.



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