That time when a Muni driver let me take the N-Judah for a spin

Rider Adrian Covert casually mentioned on Twitter the other day that he “drove the N-Judah once.” The driver actually invited him into the cockpit, he says. So, of course, we chased him down for the story.

Here’s Adrian’s tale:

I was about a block away from the N-Judah stop at 9th/Irving when I saw that I just missed the train. I was bummed at first, until I heard another train pulling behind it (as often happens with the N). I started running…

The train pulled to a stop just as I was running across the street. The driver, however, refused to open the door. Following a nightmare week of nightmare Muni service, I stepped in front of the train, and told the driver I wouldn’t budge until he opened the door.

He opened the door and I sat right next to him so that I could vent. He then asked, “Sir, what train is this?” I replied this was the N-Judah, and that I hated Muni. He asked again, and pointed to the sign, which read “Train out of service. Sorry, No Passengers.”

I looked around and noticed I was the only person on the train. I accepted that this was my bad, and apologized for being an ass. He said that what most worried him most was how I ran in front of the train at the intersection. He talked about how long it took trains to stop.

When we arrived at the entrance of the Carl & Cole Tunnel, he stopped the train, stepped out of the driver area (cockpit?) and asked if I wanted to drive the train. “Are you serious?” I asked. “F*ck yeah I want to drive the train.”

I sat in the driver seat, and he showed me the kill switches and levers. He said, “I want you to take the train to top speed, and then slam the brakes so you can see how long it takes to stop.” He mentioned this tunnel was safe, in that it was straight without any switches.

I took it to about 40 mph, and slammed the brakes. Took about a hundred yards to come to a complete stop, still in the tunnel. His point made, he then retook the “wheel” and let me sit in the control room with him until I got off at my stop.

We’re so glad Adrian took the driver up on his offer.

Underground (not literally but figuratively) Muni? Muni after dark? Whatever you call this genre, we want to know about it. In the same vein, Muni Diaries’ own Tara once got a private ride on an off-duty 49, straight-chillin’, cigarette-smoking operator and all. If anyone deserved it, this person did. (More than a decade later, she’s still not naming names.)

Muni Diaries is made of your stories, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not! Submit your own tale on the bus by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Photo by @captum.cdxv

One comment

  • Josh Behr

    “I should have taken a cigarette so I could tell people I smoked with the driver on a Muni bus.”

    Missed opportunity IMHO

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