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Friday, October 20, 2017

The San Francisco Muni Experience

by Ronald Hobbs (writer), San Francisco, April 02, 2007

It is no secret that San Francisco Municipal Railway, Muni, is fraught with problems. In time, sooner or later, some team of investigative reporters or some maverick whiz-bang snoop will reveal the smoking tailpipe. But unless those efforts are very, very tight, nothing will come of it in the way of results. The press will tell, the agency will defend, the public will be outraged -- for awhile -- until attentions turn to the Housing Authority, DPW, or Rec/Parks.

Muni's soldiers in the field, the operators, bear the brunt of public discontent. Imagine having to go to a job where you can count on being cussed every day, where common courtesies are extended but ignored, and the slightest inconvenience is reported to home base.

We have heard for a long time this call to use public transportation, we diss our public officials for driving to work, or being driven to work and not taking public transportation as if they were insensitive to or above us common folk. We speak nothing, of course, when Aunt Geraldine gives us a ride to Safeway. We say nothing at all when we move the old Toyota to the Tuesday side of the street to avoid a street sweeping citation while the first car rests comfortably in the garage.

If I had an automobile, I'd be in it in a hot minute, Green be damned along with any other concerns. I would not even think about our "dependency on oil". I would not have to amuse myself by watching plastic soda bottles roll around the floor of the bus or marvel at the hulls of sunflower seeds spat out by cretans. There would be no need to endure the music from my companions headphones turned up so loud that they are far less than private listening devices. Nobody in my car would be living out the high drama of their life on their cell phones. My car would not have a tag that sprays out "F JERRY" across my visor.

It would be worth the $10 to park in a garage.

In the day-to-day operation it is not so much Muni that is at fault for the riding experience, (they have other faults), as it is the fault of an unenlightened and downright rude citizenry that makes a simple bus ride torture. That, of course, cannot be rectified; the social conscience is much too small.

Ride 'em and weep.

The earlier references still stand, there is lots of dirt beneath Muni's rug, but the wet kleenex stuffed between my seat and the wall of the bus makes me think "Lexus"!


About the Writer

Ronald Hobbs is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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