Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Muni's Unreliable Oracle

The underground Muni Metro station at Civic Center is newly equipped with large flat screens that helpfully display maps and arrival times for inbound and outbound trains from various lines. However, they also feature a prominent warning, "Predictions may not be valid." On Saturday afternoon, that turned out to be a blessing, as it said the next N-Judah Outbound would be arriving in 16 minutes.

One minute later, the N-Judah Outbound display changed to 5 minutes, and the train actually showed up about three minutes later. Is this the deeply dysfunctional transportation agency's way of reminding us all that fate works in mysterious ways, and can never truly be predicted?


Mr. Eric Sir said...

There's a simple answer to this -- the predictions don't deal well with the turnaround at Embarcadero. This is at least partially due to the fact that trains often change routes in the switchback.

sfmike said...

Dear Mr. Eric Sir: Thanks for the explanation. I've noticed that the NextBus signs at bus shelters advising when the next vehicle will be along are also mysteriously invalid some of the time, and there is no Embarcadero turnaround involved. It's useful when they are correct, but I don't count on the "prediction being valid."

AphotoAday said...

Maybe the Mayor could turn waiting into a game of chance -- placing bets on actual arrival times would give everybody something to do while waiting for their train.

sfwillie said...

Suggested namings:

Muni Metro = "Joe Alioto Subway"

Subway to Nowhere =
Gavin Newsom Subway

T Third Line = The Willie Brown Line