Confused Riders on the Outbound J
Photo by Flickr user dennis
This hilarious-yet-sad anecdote came to the Muni Diaries inbox last week from Muni rider Eric G:
I got on the J at 34th and Judah. For those not in the know, the N sometimes goes outbound to Ocean Beach, then becomes an outbound J. This means it turns onto Church St instead of going into the tunnel.
Of course, this confuses a lot of people. One woman asked me if it would go to Civic Center. “Nope,” I replied.
A few minutes later, a second woman asked if the whole train was going into the tunnel, or just the first half. “This train will turn at the next stop,” I explained.
Thing is, this woman wasn’t just a regular Muni rider. She was a fare inspector. And to make matters worse, she was leading a group of fare inspectors.
I don’t blame her for not knowing. But I think this is symptomatic of Muni not training their employees nearly well enough.
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I ride this train regularly and have to explain how it works to someone about once a week. In one extreme case, I have witnessed the train operator catching an earful of verbal abuse from a surprised passenger. Folks have got to check the headsign when they board. If it says “N – Duboce & Church” or “J – Balboa Park”, it is not going downtown.
I have boarded a J train at 34th and Judah that did indeed go downtown. I got off at Van Ness.
The thing about these ghost trains, as I call them, is that if you were to call the 673-MUNI hotline and ask when the next one was coming, they couldn’t tell you.
They also couldn’t tell whether or not the J train you had just boarded was going all the way downtown or turning at Church street.