Left Behind at the Muni Hair Show


The other day, rider Brenden boarded a completely empty bus at the first outbound 47 stop near Pier 39 and was greeted by this lovely weave.

Well, we could hardly beweave our eyes when we saw Brenden’s picture. I watched Chris Rock’s Good Hair last year so I know these hair units can be expensive. Somebody needs to hit up Kim “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party” Zolciak for some advice. Word is that the Atlanta Housewife knows how to keep her weave on her head.

Back door black hole

Photo by freya.gefn

The 47-Van Ness isn’t the most exciting ride in the evenings. It’s usually packed, but nothing really catches my eye beyond the standard staring problem, seat-hogger, sandwich-eater, or personal-drama-discusser.

But, sometimes, someone falls off the bus.

This girl was with a handful of friends, and they got off at a Van Ness stop, I forget which one. Something north of Geary. It was Tuesday, and a little rain was still coming down. She was the last one of her crew out. She slipped and fell down and onto the back stairs. Her friends and a guy standing near the door helped her out, but she seemed to bang up her knee and suffer at least a little ego bruising. I had never seen someone fall off the bus, but it reminded me to step carefully on Muni during rainy season. Falling off the bus is so much worse than regular falling, amirite, folks?

The driver stopped the bus and checked to see if she was OK, as I patiently waited for someone to get angry and demand that we get moving again. But that didn’t happen and everyone was deemed OK.

We went along until another stop, and another gal got her grocery bag stuck in the same area, in some no-man’s-land between the back row of seats and the doorway. She was freed after some collective shouting of “back door!” (which actually worked this time), but it made me wonder why this black hole was eating everyone passing through it. User error? Just one of those days?

Bonus: Obvious-Visiting Guy asks his Obvious-Local Friend, “Does shit like this happen on the bus all the time??”

Welcome, friend. And hold on.

Comic book vendor on the 47-Van Ness

reading on muni
Photo by Anna L Conti

Muni rider Charles caught an interesting scene from the back of the 47 last night:

There was a guy attempting to sell comic books and related items to passengers. Periodically, he would hold up things and announce, to no one in particular, the price and perhaps some noteworthy aspect of the items. I wish I could have heard some of his more detailed descriptions, but I was sitting too far away.

Which brings up the question: What else should be sold (legally or not) on Muni?

Seeing the forest for the trees on Muni

I have been losing my shit lately. Maybe it’s an existential crisis…

Or, maybe that’s a cliché and I shouldn’t call it that. Let’s go with dear-diary moment, instead.

Like everyone who works on this site, I gravitate willfully toward wacky-on-Muni like some kind of masochist. But my perspective is skewed after one too many missed runs, NextBus fiascoes, or just plain ol’ bad timing. I’ve been catching a 47-Van Ness in the evenings, on and off for nearly three years, and it’s all pretty standard fare. But it’s been particularly bad in the evenings, as my phone now habitually returns NextBus results like “19, 29, 39 minutes” after saying 4 minutes when I first started waiting. Say what you will about who and what sucks in this scenario, but, until recently, that was unusual for me, that time, and that 47 stop at the start of the line.

I tried to self-help by first acknowledging some basic truths. I fucking hate the bus sometimes; there, I said it. But I’m not driving to work, and I’m realistically not going to walk from downtown or ride my bike every day. Cab, shmab.

Therefore: I am taking Muni to work for at least one leg, and I have to deal with it. Dealing with it doesn’t include screaming into a phone about “goddamn shitty drivers standing around doing nothing while we wait in the rain for this fucking bus to leave.” (Who was that woman?)

Yesterday, after receiving still more crappy results from NextBus, I just grabbed an F-Market/Wharves a few minutes later. And I got a seat. And…did you know streetcars are actually really pretty after dark? They’re always pretty, you say? Not at 8:50 a.m. as a commuter.

But, at night; the interior lighting is warm, unlike the unforgiving fluorescence of our standard buses. People aren’t in a hurry. Tourists take pictures as the also-lit-up Embarcadero buildings and Transamerica Pyramid come into view. You can’t see people outside that clearly, so you’re wrapped up in an almost-intimate, cozy transit cocoon, barreling along to Market Street.

How did this turn into a foufy post about the F?

Whether it happens again today, tomorrow, or next week, Muni actually managed to make me hate it and love it in less than 30 minutes. Even if/when the scale tips again toward hatred, I will still use the bus and I will still have to find these moments to keep me sane.

Rejected by Muni. Twice

Photo by shandopics

This diary teeters on the edge between tragic and comic. This driver is Tara’s Newman. The Muni system in the far northeast corner of San Francisco is her white whale. Read on …

I work really near the start of the 47-Van Ness and use it all the time. After a Yelling Lady incident on Tuesday, I wonder if the line is slipping into full-on, always-dysfunctional territory.

Thursday after work, I saw the 47 idling at a red light before turning left at the corner of Beach and Powell. Great: I’m a few steps from the route’s origin, and the light’s still totally red. Surely, if I knock on the door (the bus was technically still touching its stop), I’ll be let on with plenty of time for everyone to be on schedule.


The driver acknowledged my knock with a step-back motion, confusing me a bit, then continued to sit there for a few seconds until the light turned green.

And then she left.

I’ve booked it to the second stop before with good results (knowing that the bus has two more lefts to make before it gets there), so I indignantly jogged as best I could with a full gym bag, a yoga mat, and a purse. I was the horse and this bus was my carrot. Surprisingly, I made it to the outside back of the bus at that second stop. A guy stood on the stairs for a second before boarding, then I watched the doors close and the bus roll along.

There is no goddamn way she didn’t see me the second time, which made it even worse. I fumed via voicemail at the stop; yeah, I was that girl screaming obscenities into a phone while toting a peppy pink yoga mat. Welcome, tourists!

It got me thinking of what a driver once said to late arrivals; you can either get on the bus as it leaves a stop, or you can have the bus stay on schedule, but you can’t have both. Is it really one or the other? I’d hope it would be more case-by-case than that, personally.

Tara is saddened, almost to the point of tears on some days, that her only transit options away from Fisherman’s Wharf elude her so regularly.

One Big Pride Party on Muni

Lesbians on the Subway
Photo by Flickr user SFBart

I never thought I’d say that I love riding Muni during Pride weekend, but I kind of do! OK, not really, but there was some silver lining Sunday in the form of random merriment on the bus.

My Sunday afternoon started with a total Muni fail — waiting for the 47 for half an hour and inching along Van Ness at the speed of walking. But most people seemed to be in a pretty good mood. When I finally got off of the 47 and hopped on the 14L, a girl with a little cross tattooed below her eye ran for the bus and sat next to me, catching her breath. She complimented me on my dress and then started fishing around in her purse. “You want one of these?”

It was this free “Pride Parade Survival Pack” that had little packs of antiacid, Advil, mints, a moist towelette, and sone Band-Aids in it. Totally sweet.

Later in the afternoon, I hopped on a crowded 38-Geary. Two young guys jumped on the bus, one wearing a name tag that said, “Bottom,” and the other guy wearing a button that says…yeah, obviously. I took out my Blackberry to check the time (neurotic habit), and Bottom excitedly says, “Hey, can I scan your barcode? Do you BBM?” I had no idea what he was talking about. “Blackberry Messenger, duh!” The two passengers next to me spent the next five minutes talking about Blackberry Messenger and whether it can scan a barcode tattoo.

If only every day could be this convivial — without the slow-as-molasses traffic.

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