Bus tourism: The little idea that could

This bus-tourism article from The New York Times Travel section just tickles me. I’m a big proponent of buses (yes, really), especially as a way for visitors to get a quick-and-dirty look at local life. The NYT story claims that by using one of their suggested $7.50-per-day city bus tours – an idea likely borne out of the dismal economy – you can see most of Manhattan in 3.5 hours of bus time, plus a few short walks and/or Subway rides.

Since it takes an hour, roughly, to get between any given Point A and B in San Francisco on Muni, bus tourism is a tragically laughable concept once you translate the idea for our fair city. For comparison’s sake, based on square-footage, Manhattan Island is a little less than one-half the size of San Francisco.

San Francisco has an identity crisis. This manifests itself in a number of ways, including copious, self-conscious references to it being a “world-class” city with “world-class” stuff. You can find such references in everything from Mayor Gavin Newsom’s 2008 inaugural address to his endorsement of a contemporary art museum in the Presidio to just about any time someone official talks about San Francisco International Airport. Sadly, the world-class city with world-class stuff doesn’t have world-class transportation, effectively disqualifying it from consideration to host the 2012 Olympic games.

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Self-conscious realization gone wrong

Is this you? Please don’t talk on the phone so loudly next time.

I realize you were lost on your way to meet friends and Muni did you some horrible injustice (welcome to the club). But once you say “Wait, I’m bothering people on the bus” to whoever you’re talking to, you basically have about 30 seconds to get off the phone before you become the biggest asshole on the bus. FAIL. Visit Muni Manners for more helpful hints!


Ride Muni, Especially During the Recession

Photo: Flickr user Lola Blue

Unless you live under a rock, you know that the U.S. economy is sucking hard lately. In fact, things are so bad, we wouldn’t be surprised if you are living under a rock, or in a box, after having been evicted after having lost your job. We’re sorry about all that.

What does this have to do with public transportation?

Well, whether you own a car or not, you may have also noticed another funny thing happening lately — gas prices, once the source of so much political and social rancor, have dropped back more or less to where they were a year or two ago. Almost everywhere in the Bay Area, gasoline in less than $2 a gallon. If you do own a car, and if you’re also lucky enough to have money to keep buying stuff, you might lately have been tempted to drive, say, to downtown San Francisco, to do some shopping, see a movie, get something to eat.

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FastPass Giving

The nice ladies at Muni Manners have posted about a program wherein, if you’re leaving town for the holidays, you can donate your FastPass at one of three locations, and they’ll see to it that they’re used and used for a good cause.

Republished here, without permission (cuz it’s Saturday night and I don’t want to bother trying to track them down. Hi guys! Hope you don’t mind.):

Going Home for the Holidaze?
As the market tanks and layoffs loom, we’re all tightening our belts. This means we can’t be as generous with our holiday spirit. Well, we’ve found a simple way for riders to give back to the com-Muni-ty without spending a dime. Leaving town for the holidays and leaving a perfectly good transit ticket behind? Gift a ride by donating your used Muni Fast Pass! All passes will be collected and donated to local women’s shelters – to help women who are seeking refuge gain transportation to and from a safe haven this holiday season. It’s as easy as dropping off your Muni Fast Pass in the marked boxes at participating locations around San Francisco from December 10 through December 21. No matter how you’re traveling this season, we Muni Ladies wish you smooth riding. As you leave town for the holidays, remember to donate your fast pass. It’s the warm and fuzzy thing to do!

* Safeway, 2300 16th St @ Potrero Ave
* Safeway, 2020 Market St @ Church St
* One Market Lobby @ Security Desk

BART Delays in SF

Tara’s at 24th Street, stuck for about 20 minutes. They’re saying “police action” at 24th and Mission, but of course, aren’t being clear about a) what’s going on, or, more importantly, b) how long it might take to clear up. I realize it’s mostly commuters, but giving riders clear alternatives just seems … sensible.

It might be clearing up now. Hard to tell. Just a lot of garbled messages over the PA.

Anyone know what’s going on? Post in comments, please.

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