Life Lessons Learned Early

I heard something on the F yesterday (yes, I still take it when I’m too encumbered or lazy to walk downtown) that was moderately appalling. Though, truth be told, it was the end of the day and I was starving for dinner.

A woman and her son (dad and Other Sibling were elsewhere in the streetcar) got pretty awesome pole-standing spots right in front of the back doors, by the stairwell. As long as you hold your bag in front of you, it’s really not a bad place if you’re stuck standing. The stairwell space gives you room to breathe, and you get a pretty awesome blast of fresh air when the door opens. If you stand aside, it’s just mildly annoying to make way for people on their way out. Mom clearly realized this was a good place to be, encouraging her son to “stay in this spot, because it’s the best one.”

Had this been a full car with a smattering of standers, then, by all means, stand at the choice back-door spot until you’re blue in the face. But remember the Golden Rule of Public Transportation: if people are still boarding a standing-room-only bus…

keep moving to the back of the bus.

Move as far back as you can go. You can stop when there is absolutely no more room left to stand in the back. Otherwise (and it does seem like people need an explanation on the physics of it all), the front-loading bus gets clogged at the neck, and it will just take that much longer for you to get to wherever you want to go.

Anyway, the rudeness of it all was just beyond me. Maybe I’m an idealist, but public transportation should not be a gnarly experience. Being considerate of everyone else in the bus (or streetcar or train), helps move things along.

Telling your son (and yourself, apparently) that blocking the flow of well-meaning passengers trying to be considerate and head to the roomy back of the streetcar does not help move things along. Also, yes, stepping down into the stairwell will open the doors. Every time. Advise your offspring.

I hope the good people at Muni Manners enjoy this one. Sheesh.

Tara has been writing and editing (professionally) since 2001. She spends her days doing both of these tasks for a ubiquitous San Francisco art university, and spends some of her free time doing it for fun and for side-projects. Her most commonly used Muni lines are the F-Market/Wharves, 31-Balboa and 49-Van Ness.


  • Dan

    I wish Muni could do something to let people on the F-Market know that they’re not going to get trapped on the streetcar, their destination is the end of the line and would they please move to the back of the car?

    I’ve done it a few times, though I haven’t been as nice. I try not to snarl at the tourists though that F-Market just sucks the nice out of me some days.

  • Thanks, Dan! I feel like a crazy person in a parallel universe on the F sometimes, good to know someone else feels the same at times.

    And yes!! No one gets off before the Alcatraz stop, yet everyone still hoards their standing spots like the damned streetcar will take off without them.

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