Stuck on Muni in the Sunset Tunnel

100 Muni StoriesAbout 30 feet into the the Sunset Tunnel the in-bound N-Judah stopped. People sat quietly, unsurprised. Then someone in the front of the car exclaimed that the train had come apart and we were left behind. It took a few moments for people to process this before starting to exchange glances, mostly of amused disbelief.

Sure enough, the second car had stopped and for some reason been unattached from the first car, which continued out of the tunnel. I was worried about the chance of another train coming up behind us but it is a short tunnel and you can see light at both ends from the middle and I thought, surely the operator in the first car and muni control noticed the problem, as you can see in the photo I took that shows that a second train had started to enter the tunnel behind us and stopped.

A woman in the front car had dialed 911. She asked if anyone had any medical issues or if anyone was having a panic attack – no. Someone would be on their way to help. After five minutes or so, a Muni employee showed up and hopped on. He tried to start the car but explained it was not getting power. This is why it stopped and uncoupled from the
first car.

Everyone filed off the car and walked back to the tunnel opening to be greeted by fire trucks, police, and curious neighbors. A bus was being brought in to pick up passengers. I had plans to meet someone in the Castro. A quick check of the map and I was on my way up Clayton and down 17th. And that was it.

This was Katie’s day on Muni and her entry for the 100 Days, 100 Muni Stories contest. We all know too well how one little thing can derail your carefully scheduled day. Check out other stories competing for 100 Days, 100 Muni Stories, and send us your own Muni story today. Use the Muni Diaries submission form or tweet @munidiaries and include the hashtag #100MuniStories.

Ode to (Not Muni) Transit

Photo: Staś Małolepszy

Muni rider Jessica has had it with Muni. She writes:

I had been a long time Muni commuter until a job took me to Oakland and forced me to start commuting via bicycle/BART. Now I’m back in the city and at the mercy of Muni when it rains. Last week was particularly bad, and inspired me to start rhyming.

This commuter’s frustration culminated in a very Seuss-ian poem, “An Ode to Independent Transportation.”

I do not miss you Muni bus, who squished and threw and jostled us
I do not miss you 45, recycling and chickens (live!)
I do not miss you 41, iPhone in hands of everyone
I do not miss you 19, too, you smell of B.O. and of poo
I do not miss your route through town, drivers wearing tan and brown
I do not miss your speed, a crawl; I do not miss you, not at all!

Send us your Muni musings, rhyming or otherwise, today.

Heater on Muni: Hell Yes or Hell No

Photo: CarbonNYC

Q. Who loves talking about (complaining about) the weather?

A. San Franciscans (myself included).

Remember when it started to get cold before it got warm again? In that not-so-distant past, I put up an important poll on our Muni Diaries Facebook Page:

Heater blasting on Muni is:

a) Like winning the transit lottery on these chilly days. I love it.
b) Like stewing in armpit stench. Hate hate hate.
c) Indifferent.

There were a couple votes for A. As rider Elizabeth said, “Heat is always a win as far as I’m concerned. Would rather smell some body odors than be cold.” A couple others, including rider Faern, said it depends on the type of bus. Faern cited the 22, which…OK, we can stop right there.

Still, B won by a pretty wide margin amid concerns over the B.O. hot-box. Oh, and the fact that it’s allegedly not that cold (what about the wind?! THE WIND!?) in San Francisco. I’ll be out completing my Christmas Story look, then.

Wouldn’t you know it, some recent tweets to @munidiaries side with our B voters. @missmarymary says, “Sweatiest commute ever. Dear muni, rain =/= cold,” while @janepfrank reports it reaching a million degrees on her 38-Geary.

So, which is it, A, B, or C? This is very important, you guys.

Muni’s Number-One in My Book, Too

Photo: epugachev

Over at 16th and Church, rider Jayne made a run for the J-Church stopped at a red light. She says that, despite some hand-waving and the presence of two more would-be passengers, the driver ignored them and bailed once the light was green. Try to contain your surprise. But that’s not where this tale ends.

I decided to walk to the Church St. Station to catch the Metro. When [I] arrived at Market/Church, I saw the J streetcar was struck in traffic at Safeway. I proceed to walk down to the subway and catch a train to Van Ness Station. When I arrived at Van Ness…I saw the J-Church that didn’t opened the door for me slowly arriving…so I made my way on the platform to the front and, as the J pulled up, I stood at the side of the driver’s cab and gave him the finger and let it linger there for about 10 seconds or so.

There’s a first time for everything: 30-plus years of ridership, and she says it’s the first time she flipped off a driver.

Well, we’ve all been there: riding the high (“You’re stuck at a red, thank jeebus! Open up, kind sir or madam!”) and the low (“Oh. Walking won’t be so bad, I guess). Literally giving Muni the middle finger could be a bit much, but getting stonewalled is obviously a shit picnic.

What say, Muni riders? Is finger warranted here?

Travels with Shady on the 8BX

Photo by Rubin 110

The F-Market/Wharves operators are very quick to remind us all, tourist and local, that packed trains may mean picked pockets. Lest we forget, some tourists take the 8BX-Bayshore “B” Express also, and folks definitely take advantage of them.

There’s this guy stationed at the North Point and Stockton stop. He has maps and acts as a slightly pushy, official tour guide. He’s exceedingly polite — and accurate — when pointing people wherever they want to go. Then, almost like it didn’t happen, you see dollars exchanged for transfers. He’ll quietly explain that they’re good until the time listed — also accurate — and they stare interestedly at this slip of paper. Some are skeptical and some just pay, no questions asked, like they knew he was there with the “discount” tickets. One guy asked tons of questions, which tipped me off to his dealings in the first place.

But one woman who bought a $1 transfer was obviously a local. She knew exactly what she was doing, and I’m surprised I don’t see it more: paying $1 for a still-active transfer instead of $2 honest fare.

And he did it again at the same time the next day.

I don’t know where he gets the transfers. I figured maybe he stole them from a parked bus in the Kirkland Yard, mere steps away from this stop. Maybe he has a buddy who just hands them to him like it ain’t no thang.

It is, though. It’s illegal to sell transfers, so Muni at least kind of agrees: buying and selling transfers only cheats the paying customers. It’s also kind of a shitty thing to do.

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