In the event this complaint falls through the cracks (not that that would ever happen on Muni), I’m posting this letter I wrote to Muni HQ today:
I’d like to call Muni’s attention to a problem I don’t see too often, but do notice regularly. I’d also appreciate a timely explanation of why the incident I’m about to describe has to happen.
I ride the F-Market/Wharves almost every day to get to work near Pier 39. While I can forgive a crowded streetcar around peak commuter times, I don’t understand why, sometimes, passengers on an already moving, already crowded F streetcar are dumped on Market and told to take the next F streetcar that comes along.
A few points:
1) The driver was rather discourteous, snapping at tourists who were confused about why they weren’t notified earlier that this would be the last stop. He noted that he “had a sign” and that they should look at it, but his sign actually said “F Market/Wharves,” just like it usually does.
2) Not only did this incident cause well-meaning visitors to look around in confusion and wonder what was going on, it added about 20 people to a group of 15 already waiting for the next F train to roll down Market Street. I don’t think I have to remind Muni how small, however charming, these streetcars are.
3) The expansion of the F line in 2000 to the wharves was, presumably, mostly for tourists to get to and from their Union Square hotels, Pier 39 and the Ferry Building. While Muni seems to have little to no regard for reliability for commuters, out-of-towners are the transit agency’s saving grace; even if it’s unreliable, the F is still adorable and still takes you on a very nice ride to all the tourist hot-spots. However, if the discourtesy and odd dumping of passengers continues, Muni is going to lose them, too. I always remember transit woes when I’m on vacation, and you can bet these tourists are going to head home and tell all their friends and family about their great trip to San Francisco, except for the time they were squeezed on all sides into a tiny streetcar that wasn’t worth the cost of the tourist ticket booklet. Considering how many huffy comments there were after the unexplained, and inconsiderate, dumping of passengers, I don’t think my assessment is too far of a stretch.
To sum up, I’d greatly appreciate detailed answers to three questions:
1) Why do passengers have to leave an F train, only to be asked to board the next one heading in the same direction? If this answer involves a shortage of cars, a shortage of money or both, please don’t hestiate to go into great detail. I’m really, really interested in your answer.
2) Are there any plans afoot to make sure this doesn’t happen regularly anymore?
3) Are there any plans generally to make the F a more enjoyable experience for tourists and commuters? There are a lot of us locals who use it, make no mistake about that.
Thanks much for your time and I look forward to your response.