Thanks for sharing

No, ma’am. It wasn’t your facial hair. Nor was it your morbid obesity. These things I can look past.

You didn’t hoard any seats, spit, or litter. I’m pretty sure you flashed a Fast Pass and took your seat, not refusing to move to the back of a crowded coach like so many of your fellow riders.

No, your offense was perhaps more egregious: You treated us all, a peaceful bunch of weekday morning 31-Balboa riders, to an exclusive, VIP performance of … your phone conversation with a friend. Loud and clear, thank you.

It was so wonderfully annoying, really, the way you neglected to shield your loud mouth from us. Otherwise we might not have been privy to all those glorious details of your home and social life.

Unless it’s an emergency, or you can keep it brief and quiet, put your phone away.

– Jeff

Jeff has heard his fair share of excuses.

Pissin’ in the Wind out in the Avenues

Thank god sometimes for NextBus.

This morning, I was out in the upper 20s on the north side of the park, and was passively relying on the 31-Balboa, which typically arrives shortly after 9 a.m. I usually check NextBus around 8:50 or so, and this morning, it’s a damned good thing I did. Here’s what I saw:

There was no way I could make that seven-minute bus. I’m not sure the world is ready to see me ride Muni in my boxers. That, and I still had to get the dog ready.

But note the parenthetical around that 22-minutes-away bus: Masonic & Turk????

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The 31 diaries

I’m generally pretty complimentary about the 31-Balboa because it generally deserves it. At best, this means it’s somewhat innocuous, boring and quiet, which can be a good thing when you’re riding clear across town.

Today’s ride home on the 31 was actually above-average, if you can believe it, and it had nothing to do with how punctual the bus was.

First, let’s discuss the “BACK DOOR!! BACK DOOR!” phenomenon. The back doors open when you step into the stairwell. Sometimes, you have to touch the door handles to make them open, which, on the 49-Van Ness, for example, is akin to licking your fingers after using a public bathroom. However, do not stand in the stairwell when the bus is trying to move from a stop, because it pretty much won’t if someone is still standing in the stairwell. This is complex exiting protocol for some, but I find it uniquely Muni, in its own irritating way.

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Is ‘Muni Operator’ the worst job in SF?

It sure seems so.

From the short-tempered 31-Balboa driver this morning, who apparently doesn’t field questions, to the downright defensive lady who I have to assume was training my 49-Van Ness driver just now, Muni drivers give the impression that they’d rather be mopping floors and flipping burgers.

In my latest incident, I watched as we approached the stop before mine as an elderly man kept yanking the stop-request cord. I almost asked him politely to stop, but then I noticed why he was so aggressive: The stop-requested indicator wasn’t lighting up. The trainee driver, despite seeing the man and his friends stand up in anticipation of the stop, breezed on by 19th Street at a moderate clip. It was only when the cadre of senior citizens raised their voices that she stopped, just past the striped-off bus stop.

Not wanting to take any chances, I stood up as soon as she started going again, knowing that my stop was a mere block away. I pressed the red stop button located on that bar by the doors, to no avail. I tried pulling the cord on the side opposite where the old guy pulled his. Again, nothing. But this time the driver stopped at the actual stop, to my relief.

Still, a faulty stop-request system is something perfectly reasonable to make the operators aware of. So as we stopped, I told both the trainer and the trainee that the cords on both sides weren’t working, and neither was the button. Boy, was I in for it.


All I could do in the face of such angry defensiveness was simply say, “Okay, thank you. Have a good day,” and of course, deboard.

Question: Why run incomplete routes?

More than once now, I’ve boarded a 31-Balboa inbound on a weekday around 9 a.m. only to be let out at Masonic.

When it happened just now, I asked the driver, who was clearly pissed at my question. “It’s the schedule, dude. Call Muni and complain.”

Hmm, more on that later. For now, anyone wanna guess (or impart wisdom) as to why they’d do this? When it’s happened to me, the next inbound bus is just a few minutes behind. I can’t make any sense of it.

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