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.

7 comments:

Kathleen said...

So true.

greg said...

amen!

the 30 stockton is easily one of the worst buses to ride . Sadly the waste of money known as the Central Subway will do absolutely nothing to fix that or any of our transit woes - willie brown had to get re-elected and promised chinatown leaders a golden train to nowhere to get that support.....

namastenancy said...

That is the one bus where I just throw my manners out the window, plow through the surging crowd, using elbows and bad language in equal measure. Of course, they should never have gotten rid of the 15 which makes the 30 Stockton even worse.

markley said...

I believe public transit should be frequent, clean, comfortable and free. This would benefit the City in many ways, including reducing the number of cars on the streets and the fumes they produce.

The present reality is far from this ideal. I think the people who board through the back doors are more part of the solution than part of the problem. It's am efficient way to get people on the bus. And many of them have fast passes or transfers.

sfmike said...

Dear Markley: The problem is that the back doors really aren't designed for entry. If you don't hold them rather strongly, they can shut on people and cause some serious injury such as the guy who was trying to get on the N Judah recently, didn't make it, and then got dragged under the wheels for two blocks.

And in the case of the 30 Stockton or the Van Ness buses, which tend to be overcrowded most of the time, it's a real pain trying to exit the buses when you're carrying anything and there's a sea of humanity rushing towards you who want to get in, blocking the way.

mac9 said...

I believe public transit should be frequent, clean, comfortable and free. This would benefit the City in many ways, including reducing the number of cars on the streets and the fumes they produce.

This is the key to any long-term success that Muni will have. It takes a public commitment and a public investment. Too bad much of the public's money is given away in the form of large tax breaks to rich corporations. It's just sad, really. For all it's "progressive" politics, San Francisco still panders to the multinationals with big bucks.

Back of the Bus Podcast said...

On such a poorly managed system I refuse to pay. I’m diffinately not rude about it and hold the door open, that’s what the grey bars on most busses are for.

As long as the 38 continues to be so completely over crouded and late I will not pay. If the system ran on time and was simi-clean I’d pay $3 a ride.