SFGate: Some Don’t Take Muni Because They’re Scared of Poor People
Photo by juicyrai
I watch people’s faces when they see me waiting at a bus stop. Many of them, especially drivers, look at me like I’m doing something vaguely unsavory – like I’m drinking out of a paper bag or flashing “designer” watches for sale.
To many people, taking the bus is on the same level as these activities. It’s interesting to ask people why they won’t take it. Usually their objections seem practical, at least on the surface: The bus is “slow” or it’s “always late.”
The real reason why people give me that look when they see me waiting at the bus stop is what happens after I get on the bus. It’s the people who are taking up two or three seats with thousands of plastic bags from low-budget food markets. It’s the people who smell like they’ve been living on the street. It’s the people who have loud cell phone conversations about their court cases or their overdue child support.
Because I haven’t done a scientific study of whether people really avoid taking surface buses and why, I’m just going to speak from my personal experience. As someone who takes the surface bus (the 47) every day twice a day, I have never seen anyone giving me a look for waiting for a bus. And the reference to “people who are taking up two or three seats with thousands of plastic bags from low-budget food markets”? Even when I’ve carried my share of groceries from Clement Street on the 2, nobody has ever batted an eyelash. The premise of “people look at me weird when they see me waiting for a bus” sounds self-conscious. It’s just not something I have experienced in the 10+ years I’ve lived here.
May I kindly suggest that if you’re waiting for the bus and people cast glances your way, they are probably looking at the NextBus arrival time, you know, that screen thing that’s blinking on the top of bus shelter?