NextMuni.com says my bus arrives in 18 minutes and the next one comes in 32 minutes. Next I check it’s 9 minutes and 23. Then the ETA jumps up to 12/18…then 13/16…and finally 4/4. By the time I get to my stop, both buses are pulling in together. Just another typical morning waiting for the 33 in Upper Haight.
I hop on the first one, frustrated that yet again it would have been faster to drive. The bus driver apologizes, saying the two buses that were supposed to be in front of hers aren’t running today. Then she offers me my choice of wrapped candy from a dish by the fare machine and for the first time I actually look around at bus 2442 driven by Tammy.
It’s like a Fourth of July party inside Tammy’s bus. There are red white and blue streamers, balloons, coils that say “happy,” banners and party lanterns hanging from the railings. Large handwritten posters adorn the windows thanking her riders and spouting truths such as “Until Muni realizes that without our passengers there’s no Muni!” and pretty much everyone has a smile on their face.
As I sit in the bus watching new passengers board, I witness a Muni miracle: a sea of frowns turn into big grins as people enter and see what awaits them. I overhear nearly every newcomer commenting on the scene to either Tammy or their fellow straphangers. “How cool is this,” they ponder aloud. “Is this for Mother’s day?” “Is someone retiring?” “I can’t believe I got candy.” Even the woman on her cell phone discussing how her doctor just found a lump in her breast seemed upbeat, enjoying her Tootsie-Roll lollipop with her lips curled up from ear to ear.
Photo by Flickr user photine
Muni rider Adam saw a group of people scamming Muni passengers on the 24 recently with the infamous “three cup shuffle” scam. I’ve heard about this scam being carried out on tourists at Fisherman’s Wharf and in some other tourist-heavy cities, but Adam’s description of what happened seems more threatening:
Today a friend witnessed a group of people gambling/scaming passengers on Muni. One guy would do the ‘which cup is the bottlecap under’ and bug nearby passengers about money, while flashing cash. A nearby passenger refused to pay attention so two other guys came up and threatened the guy into giving up his cash on hand. This was on a 24-inbound. They jumped off in the Haight. Not 10 minutes later another friend texts me that this same group of guys (whom he sees all the time) are on the 71-inbound doing the same thing. They intimidated a guy out of $40.
Adam said he called 311 and was transferred to SFPD, who then transferred him back to Muni. Adam also reports that the 311 operator would not take an anonymous report, but on the 311 site I found that you can indeed file an anonymous report about Muni.
Photo by Flickr user Jeff Howard
Sarah of I’m writing, you’re reading sent us the following remarkable little slice of life on the 24-Divisadero.
I sat down on the bus (ran to catch it again thankyouverymuch) after my second 3-hour yoga session of the weekend. Yoga mat and eco-friendly water bottle in hands. Glance across the isle and spot the exact same eco-friendly water bottle in the hands of another girl.
Oh and what do you know, she’s holding a yoga mat too.
Well aren’t we just two identical San Francisco stereotypes. In the flesh. On the bus.
So we make eye contact and I first point at my water bottle, then to hers. Then to my mat, and to hers. Laughter.
Janet’s class?, she asks.
No, Dina’s workshop, I answer.
YogaTree junkies. Shoulda known.
We bond over our mutual love of Janet Stone’s flow classes at the Castro studio, and she knew exactly which workshop I was taking because she thought of taking it too. And is going to take it later.
What’s your name?, she asks.
I’m Sarah, I answer.
She just shakes her head and laughs.
I’m Sarah too, she says.
When Sarah got off the bus, the girl next to me confirmed what I was just thinking, “I’m sorry, but that was really cute.”
Now it’s your turn — tell us what happened to you on Muni today.
I was on an outbound 24 Bus this afternoon. Fairly empty. As we zig-zagged from 30th to Mission to Cortland, there seemed to be an agitated passenger bugging the driver. Well, that’s how it looked from the back of the bus where I couldn’t exactly hear the words the guy was saying.
He was yelling, “Hurry up!” presumably at the traffic in front of us, then he leaned across the driver and HONKED THE HORN. I thought (in a selfish muni-riding way) “Oh crap, now we’ll be delayed while the driver deals with this nut.”
Alas, I misread the situation. The nutty guy turned out to be a friend of the busdriver and he was just goofing around. OK! Friends of the driver can honk the horn, check. Also, he dialed a phone and handed it to the driver to talk on.
Here’s the driver on the phone: