Revenge of the Nerds

Photo by Flickr user bayat

I braved the crowds of tourists and shoppers in Union Square to take advantage of the July 4th holiday sales and scored a terrific deal on a new comforter. I live fairly close to downtown SF and try to walk everywhere I can within reason but catching the 45 Union back home seemed reasonable now that I was lugging this large, unwieldy bag around with me. I walked a few blocks to 3rd and Market to catch the bus, ensuring that I’d get on before the crowds destined for Chinatown boarded. I snagged the perfect seat in the last row of double seats before the final row along the back, with plenty of legroom for me to balance my bedding-bag on my feet in front of me.

Sure enough, the bus started to fill up at the very next stop. One of the passengers towered above the usual contingent of Asian women with produce bags, a tall white guy who lumbered towards the back, glassy-eyed, open-mouthed, his significant gut leading the way. My Muni-attuned spidey senses were tingling—something about this guy was a bit off. He carried himself with the awkward air of those who don’t have a good grasp on the rules of social interaction. (His sci-fi convention-style t-shirt blaring “NEXT STOP: MARS!” helped complete the impression.) As he surveyed the open seats I silently projected my intentions. Don’t you f*ing sit here, dude. Don’t even think about it. Swayed by my venomous mental force-field (or more likely by the expanse of open seats along the back row), he plunked himself down behind me. He immediately started questioning one of the people seated by the windows about an item he carried, further confirming my snap assessment that this guy did not observe the Rule of the Bus.

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Driver Smoke Breaks


The following came to us from Matt Baume, the man behind the Muni Alerts Twitter account, among other things he’s spearheaded.

I took this photo at the end of the 41 and 45 lines, where drivers take breaks after a run. One driver is smoking. She doesn’t have a driver number on her uniform.

This raises a tough question. Smoking at transit stops is illegal in SF — Muni maps spell out the exact code that prohibits it — but what are drivers supposed to do if they’re addicted to nicotine? Where are they supposed to go to smoke on their break?

This lady seemed like a nice person but her smoke was stinking up the whole bus stop. I don’t know what the solution is, aside from firing smokers. I guess you could argue that smokers are unfit to drive buses, since they’ve chosen a habit that adversely affects their ability to do their job legally. But that also seems pretty harsh.

— Matt Baume

What do you think? Sound off in the comments section.

What are your feelings about the Central Subway project?

fourth-stockton-modified-lpa-alignmentMaybe you live along the existing T-Third route and would like to see the line extended farther north. Maybe you live in Chinatown, and would love an easier way than the 30 or 45 to hop over to SOMA or Mission Bay. Maybe you don’t live in either area, and are concerned about the costs and/or environmental impacts inherent in this estimated $1.57 billion, massive-construction project. Or maybe you’re just a transit geek, like us, and love all things rail.

Give Rachel Gordon’s post on the City Insider a quick read, and let us know your thoughts about the Central Subway project.

Next stop, Washington Square?

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s definitely an oncoming train. The question is, is it a good thing for North Beach or not?

Locals, at least those who are members of the District 3 Democratic Club, seemed divided on the subject of the Central Subway, which was the featured topic at Thursday night’s special meeting of the D3DC at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center. A well-chosen panel — representing both Muni (or, if you must, MTA) and grassroots interests — tossed the subject around, both among themselves and with the lively audience.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, the Central Subway (known sarcastically to its detractors as the Rose Pak Memorial Tunnel) is Muni’s planned extension of the T-Third rail line across Market Street and up Stockton into the very belly of Chinatown.

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North Beach Examiner on Proposed Muni Changes Afoot in North Beach

The Examiner takes a close look at the proposed cuts on a couple of linnes with paltry ridership.

A little teaser from the story:

These cuts are two of many proposals being studied by Muni as part of its Transit Effectiveness Project, which, if implemented, would result in the most comprehensive bus rerouting done in my memory. And I’ve been here a long time. There isn’t a single line passing through or near North Beach (save the cable cars) that wouldn’t be affected in some way.

Take it away, Mr. Long.

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