Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aaaaand, we're back!

So, I would have written a new post a lot sooner but the bus never came (bah-dum-bah!)

No, but seriously, personal time lapse aside, how much Muni ridiculousness has occurred in the past year?

For starters, passes have gone up from $45 to $55 and up again to $60 for regular Muni service and $70 if you're ballin' and want in-city BART access. If you're paying out of pocket per ride, the price has gone from $1.50 to $2.00.

Maybe I'm glorifying the past, but I'm pretty sure when I first moved here, almost eight years ago, it cost $1.25 to board and when I first started working downtown, almost four years ago, monthly passes were $35. I also seem to recall more frequent service.

Actually, that part is definitely true. In the last few months, at least nine lines have been cut completely, tons of stops have been pulled off the lines and by the way, less buses now run less frequently. I don't think they've added any extra cabs to assist with this, but what do I know? I live in the Richmond and cabs don't come out this far anyway.

At least one thing hasn't changed though: the Muni characters. I'm not sure if it's the economic climate or more people just aren't taking their meds, but there has been some heavy tension floating in the foggy air of San Francisco. This of course translates into some memorable rides when you're stuck on a slow moving bus with 60 other, possibly unstable, people. There were a couple really special personalities on board this past year, notably the Muni Humper, the Muni Stabber and the horrific/hilarious lesson in race relations.

Sometimes, the Muni drivers themselves are characters. Back in January, the Transit Workers Union left letters on bus seats defending their bonuses, overtime pay, the union, etc. If you recall, Muni drivers make an enviable salary. Currently, there are big discussions happening regarding reformatting and auditing the budget, while trying to cut costs. On one hand, it's Headache City, on the other, it should certainly cause us riders to think critically about what we're actually paying for.

But it's not only what's on the bus we need to concern ourselves with, since more buses seem to be having more oopsies, whoopsies, eeeks and ughs on the street. (And then there was this poor guy.) I'm not sure if I'm suffering from some variant of mean world syndrome or media over-concentration of Muni accidents, but seriously, there have been a lot of reported accidents with fatalities this year. Scary!

Are we San Franciscans crazy? We're paying more for less, complete with a side of insanity theater and the risk of death-by-bus. On top of that, the folks that are supposed to be driving us to and from work, make more not showing up than we do for going. Somebody explain that to me.

But, perhaps change is on the horizon. You can let Gav know when you were late to work because the morning bus pulled the old disappearing act. (A slight comfort all the times I've sat seething on my commute.) You can challenge the system. You can put your money/vote where your mouth is. You can join the Transit Riders Union. Or you can find any other number of ways to let the powers-that-be know that this isn't working out for you and you're not take it anymore, because as much as it's a ridiculous pain, Muni is OUR ridiculous pain and it's our job as a comMUNIty to fix it. (Awwwww.)

Anyway, that's what have we missed on No Line Left Behind. Very, very, very, very shortly there will be a thrilling ride on the N-Judah, provided the train stops/doors open/train doesn't break down/no one gets hit, etc.