A Brief Exchange on BART


The following is by Devin

16th and Mission BART, about 5 p.m. on the second-hottest afternoon in recent memory. Agitated Man standing on landing of the east-entrance stairway eating a hamburger out of a McDonald’s bag and intermittently barking Spanish into a cellphone.

Commuter Woman in Skirt passes Agitated Latino Man. Moments later, Agitated Man is throwing hamburger buns at Commuter Woman in Skirt, screaming largely unintelligible remark ending (mundanely) in “comida.” Commuter Woman in Skirt looks annoyed & slightly threatened, but not overly upset (probably because he missed), proceeds down into station.

Moments later, McDonald’s food mostly consumed, Agitated Man gradually starts heading up stairs, passes Irritable Man with Dog. Agitated Latino Man stops to feed rest of hamburger to Dog. Dog, amenable, stops, eats hamburger. Irritable Man screams at Agitated Man (and/or Dog; wording was ambiguous), waves leash. Agitated Man proceeds back up stairs at accelerated pace, groping for cellphone.

Dog, detecting no further hamburger availability, follows Irritable Man into station. Curtain descends.

Photo by Flickr user canadianlookin.

Write us your own Muni or BART vignette —all characters welcome.

Don’t Be “Sorry” On The 47


On my way to SPUR’s Blogging in the City event last night, a cross-dressed man boarded with a bulky roll-on luggage that was topped with yet more black garbage bags filled to the brim. He had crooked teeth and a startled, amused look on his face. As he made his way down the aisle he talked to no one in particular a little too loudly.

Passengers around him looked alarmed and shrugged at one another, trying not to notice.

As the cross dresser got up to leave, a girl accidentally bumped into him and muttered, “Sorry.”

“Don’t be SORRY,” he said sarcastically. “Do you know what ‘sorry’ means in the Merriam Webster dictionary? It means ‘worthless.’  WORTHLESS.”

Under her breath, I think the girl said, “That’s not true.”

“YES it is!,” the cross dresser said, “and I don’t need your negativity!”

Photo by Flickr user Poldavo.

Transit News Digest: SFPD, Spotted on Muni? Nat Ford — Stay or Go?


It sure was a busy weekend on the wires for transit news. While we would’ve loved to have been out in the cold, breezy sunshine, instead we were stuck indoors, with our eyes glued to the wires. Here’s what we found.

SF Appeal followed up with answers to their question, Have you ever seen SFPD on Muni? The article includes an interesting field report from Steve Rhodes. And San Francisco Citizen caught wind of a wicked photo of a Muni bus that had been co-opted by the police during Saturday’s war protests. Still trying to get to the bottom of the bizarre SFPD-SFMTA-City and County of San Francisco love triangle. We’ll let you know what we and others find.

Just before we left the office Friday, we noticed this article on Streetsblog, picking up on this report from The Examiner, which asks the pertinent question: Should Nat Ford stay or go? The original reporting in The Examiner’s post sounds like Ford’s departure is a done deal. It seems to us the rumors of his leaving serve as its justification at this point. Better to get someone new in who’s committed to not using the position of general manager as a stepping stone, we say.

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Nice people and good coffee …

muni_petes1The following is by Suzanne

Has anyone noticed how the baristas at the Embarcadero Peet’s Coffee are incredibly friendly and nice? I remembered them being peppy. The other morning I walked up to the counter bracing myself, ready to cringe at “happy happy happy” service, but instead I was charmed. This is no Burger World. The workers at Peet’s seemed genuinely nice. Their smiles were real! They made real eye contact. They joked and teased each other. It was mesmerizing. In a silly way, it melted the grumpster in me.

Cynics might say, “Wonder what they put in their coffee.” Sure, the coffee is good. But it was seeing people having a good time at work, being nice and silly to each other and customers alike that put a smile on my face. And then, when the caffeine kicked in … even the dullest doldrums in the T were looking pretty good.

Transit News Digest 3.11.09

In our last Transit News Digest, we failed to note that former Muni chief Emilio Cruz is back at it, leading a joint-venture of that drastically underfunded Central Subway Project thingy, as reported by SF Appeal yesterday. Thanks for noticing, Rescue Muni.

SF Appeal has another great piece of original reporting out today uncovering the SFMTA’s difficulties in having enough drivers on-board (ha!) to drive the allotted number of buses each day. Nice work on the article, Matt. Stay tuned, Muni Diaries readers, for your chance to ask Muni anything that’s on your mind (well, almost anything).

SF Streets Blog has an excellent piece up today asking the non-rhetorical question: What can the city do make the MTA more accountable? A great read, and be sure to share your ideas with them.

The Examiner digs deeper into just how much of a waste the ill-fated Culture Bus was, and SF Citizen isn’t far behind, comparing the yellow buses to NASA’s space shuttle program. Ouch!

And in happier news (at least for transit nerds like us), KPIX reports that about 8 percent of California’s expected $50 billion in stimulus money will go toward transportation projects. No clear word on how much of that will be for public transit, and how much we can expect here in the Bay Area. And the percentage could always be higher. But we’re happy to see the green river flowing again …

As always, if you’ve got tips, suggestions, or diaries of your own, send them our way.

Transit News Digest 3.10.09 (Update)

Silly me, posting a news digest before 1 p.m.

Update: Just learned that BART directors will a presentation Thursday (March 12) on the agency’s Fiscal Year 2010, assuming it will have one. It expects a $49.3 million deficit next year.

Original post: Earlier today, Greg Dewar posted a quick hit asking for details on a Muni slowdown. Good luck getting that, Greg. If you, dear reader, know of anything, let us know here or on Twitter, or drop Greg a line.

On Monday, SFGate reported another jump in public transit ridership, with 2008’s numbers constituting a 52-year high. It’s great news, but here in San Francisco, as in many other parts of the country, budget deficits compounded by the spiraling economy are forcing fare hikes and cuts in funding. The country is truly a shambles right now economically, but it’s at least encouraging that more and more people realize that public transit, while full of its share of problems, nearly always beats driving. (thx: Rescue Muni)

Nascent online-news site SFAppeal catches us up on just how badly the budget numbers will impact plans for the Central/Chinatown Subway project. It doesn’t look good.

Per that report last week that Muni managed to boost its on-time rates, The Examiner has a theory as to how it happened — discipline from on high. We’d sure like to see a Muni driver slapped on the wrist with a ruler next time he or she starts a route early.

In perhaps more familiar news, a suit has been filed against the BART extension into Fremont. We didn’t realize the backyards over there were so precious. Turns out the group crying foul comprises former BART directors and the Transportation Solutions and Education Fund, so perhaps it’s got merit. They claim the extension is an illegal expenditure of public funds, basically because the rest of the extension into Santa Clara County hasn’t yet found funding. To our minds, this is like saying, “Don’t eat breakfast if you haven’t yet found a way to pay for lunch.”

Oh, and be wary until about 4 p.m., as Muni is advising of delays in downtown San Francisco due to a demonstration.

And to leave you on a high note, SFist spreads word of a TransLink party along Market on March 22. Sounds deliciously deviant and painfully fun.

If you’ve got news tips or stories you’re dying to tell, let us know. And Happy Tuesday!

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