Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Back of The Bus
For decades on Muni, it was verboten to enter through the back door of the bus, thereby not paying one's fare, and the driver would often stop and make the miscreant(s) march down the aisle and pay him or her before they moved the vehicle again.
At some point in the last decade, a clueless planner for Muni decided that an "honor system," allowing people to enter streetcars through any door they wanted, backed up by diligent fare inspectors, would be an easier, cheaper and more convenient experience for everyone. They were deeply, disastrously wrong and now there are thousands of people who are used to hopping on the back door of whatever type of Muni vehicle they require whether without having paid a fare or not.
At the corner of Market and Third, for instance, exiting the 30 Stockton bus through the back doors is almost impossible because there are always scores of people waiting to hop aboard before the back doors close, and they are not shy about it. There are overpaid, clueless fare inspectors in the Muni Metro underground below, trying to catch a few fare evaders, but the real scofflaws are right above them, untouched. It's a perfect metaphor for a city government that's forgotten how to do the simplest things.