Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bus Report #286

Yesterday morning I went downtown, early, to meet some friends at the SFMOMA. I waited for the 38 at Arguello, and was surprised and a little excited to see that our 38 Geary was actually the double decker bus that's being tested out on a few lines to see how it works for San Francisco's commuters.
I got on and immediately went upstairs. The ceiling on the second level is pretty low, but I'm not tall so I had no problem. I sat down in a nice, clean-looking upholstered seat that featured red, white and blue stars and stripes.
The seats on the double decker bus are smaller than on the other buses, but the nice thing about them is that they are sort of separate seats, so I don't think you'd have the problem of huge people taking up most of your seat like you get on a regular bus.
The bus was much quieter than the regular ones, and not just because people were quiet. The only bus-specific noises I heard were the announcements the driver made at each stop and the MUNI Transit Assistant who sat in front of me asking people if they wanted to take a survey.
It was cool to see the city from up on high... It looked cleaner, calmer, more San Francisco-y than usual.
I got up and went down the stairs a couple of minutes before we pulled in to my stop. There were a couple more MUNI attendants downstairs, manning the collection box for the surveys and making sure the doors opened properly.
So what's the verdict? Well, Fog City Notes enjoyed riding the double decker bus. It wasn't as spacious as the double deckers in the UK are, and the ceiling on the upper deck is definitely too low for anyone over five feet five inches tall.
I wouldn't want to take one during rush hour, though, or late at night. During rush hour I can see people getting stuck on the upper deck if the bus gets crowded, and at night I can imagine people camping out in the back seats, or sleeping, or doing things usually reserved for late night 22 Fillmore buses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same rush hour concerns when I first heard about this, and when a double-decker 38L rolled up one day around 8ish I kinda went "uh-oh" in my head. However, I noticed that the stairs are designed such that once you get down the stairs to get off the bus, you're not battling other riders who are continuing on because all the lower deck seats are in the very back, behind the exit. It could still potentially be a problem if the upper deck ran out of seats, but not nearly as bad I thought it could be.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Yes, I think you're right. It would only be a real problem if the top deck was packed tightly and you couldn't get out.

10:07 AM  

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