Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bus Report #361

I left work and headed down to the bus stop, feeling good, feeling excited for a 4-day weekend.
I was waiting for the 10 Townsend, and I noticed there were no buses idling around the corner or by the mailbox.
A woman who I've seen a few times was waiting, too.
"There's a problem," she said. "The 4:49 PM bus never came and I don't see the 5:09 PM, either,"
"Hopefully it's just a little late," I offered.
She went off on how she had to get across town, how she should have left work early but couldn't, how MUNI was falling apart and needed to be fixed.
I couldn't disagree with her, so I nodded my head and craned my neck to see if anything was coming.
She called 311 and asked for the ETA of the next bus.
They told her it was on time, so she laid in to them, telling them she didn't see any buses and that they were mistaken.
They put her on hold to 'check on it'.
When the operator got back, he told her that there had been a bus taken out of service and that the next 10 would be there in 15 minutes.
I thought about taking a 22, but prefer the 10 so I waited.
We waited, the woman and I, talking about MUNI and MUNI schedules and all things related to MUNI. A guy with a baseball cap joined in on our discussion.
15 minutes came and went with no new 10 Townsend buses in sight.
Of course, 3 22 Fillmores came by, picking up everyone else.
The woman called 311 again.
They told her it would be another 20 minutes.
I was mad. At this point, I could have walked to Market and Church and taken an alternate route. I wished the woman and the ball cap guy good luck and hopped on the next 22 that came by.
We rolled along and eventually got to 16th and Bryant. The bus stopped and the driver got out.
I thought we were changing drivers, so I didn't give it a second thought.
5 minutes later we were still sitting there, sweating and stewing, more and more people trying to pack themselves on an already crowded bus.
The driver came back on the bus and looked around, then got back out.
A moment later I heard a loud 'thud'.
Everyone turned around.
The poles had come down and were on the ground.
"Everybody out," the driver said. "out of service."
I was pissed. Out of service? And when exactly did you know this, when we stopped here? While we were sitting here in pools of our own sweat?
I stomped off the bus and tried to get on the 22 that had pulled up behind us.
No go, as everyone else did the same thing. I went to stand under the bus shelter.
A 33 was going to be arriving in a few minutes.
Total time spent trying to leave Potrero Hill? 45 minutes. And we hadn't even gone a mile yet.
I called 311 to make a complaint.
The operator took down my name and my story, and I felt a surge of satisfaction as I told him the bus number of the 22 driver.
It took me 1.5 hours to get home that day, only 30 of it spent on my 33 which dropped me off on Geary.
Damn you, MUNI.


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