On the scene: Frustrations run high as Muni attempts to control bus capacity
As we enter into the least-restrictive “yellow tier” of the state’s COVID re-opening framework, is riding public transit becoming safer? Ridership on Muni reached historic lows since the start of the pandemic. Even so, Muni has established capacity protocols on buses to keep riders and drivers safe. In practice, that can translate into a frustrating experience for riders and drivers alike, as not everyone has gotten the memo on why the bus is blowing you off. In this snapshot from rider Eric, he describes what riding Muni is like nowadays.
My wife and I made a “jaunt” to the Ferry Building recently, just to throw some money at our favorite food purveyors, and because the 2 and 3 haven’t run since April, we now have to walk to the Transbay Terminal to pick up a 38. No problem really, and you get your choice of seats. However….by the time we get a stop away from Powell Street, the bus is over the limit for safety and the driver doesn’t have to stop if he doesn’t want to, so we blow right past Powell. He lets two people off at the corner of Mason, just to lighten his load, and continues.
Two blocks from Van Ness, he blows by another stop but this time, a woman runs after the bus and catches us at the next red light. Boy, does she let him have it!
F-bombs and middle fingers and demands to open the door. Plus, she keeps stepping in front of the bus to keep him from going.
Two light cycles later, the driver finally tells her that he’s only allowed 30 people on the bus, so she goes down the side counting people.
“You only got 26! Let me the [f-bomb] in!”
But this time, he gets off before she can get in front.
But wait! There’s more!
The next stop is Van Ness. We see five people standing in the street with arms outstretched and another eight or so on the sidewalk. There is no way these people are going to let this bus go by! Our bus has to stop.
The result is that a dozen more get on, and now the bus really IS crowded. People with masks around their chins, pissed off people who’ve been passed by for how long….I can’t blame them.
Luckily, our stop is next. Except the driver won’t stop to let anyone off because there’s one—one—guy at the stop.
I stand up and pull the cord hard; not like it does anything, as he blows past the Laguna stop as well.
Five of us scream at him: “Hey! We’re trying to get off and reduce the number of passengers!”
Finally, he stops in the middle of the next block and lets us out. #fuck2020 #putmorebussesonthestreet
Is *waving hands frantically* the new “back door”?
As San Francisco (again, fingers crossed) continues to do a good job at keeping Covid under control, more public transit service with precautions is looking more and more likely. I, for one, recently rode Muni for the first time in seven months—a 7, in fact.
But, you’re the expert. Tell us what you’re seeing out there in the wild, for our collective online journal. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re feeling more short-form or casual, tag us @munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Pic by Ariel Dovas on Flickr