Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bus Report #393

Worst. Commute. Ever.

Heard that before?
Then this story should remind you of a similar tale of woe I told back in November (at least, I think it was November. Maybe October.)
I got on the 10 Townsend after running down the hill to catch it.
Nodded to a couple of regulars, and then we were off. We made good time to Cal Train, made good time over to 2nd Street, but that is where our luck ran out.
We were stuck in 2nd Street traffic for the next half hour.
Well, I was. The bus was probably stuck there for another hour at least, but I didn't stick around to see.

I got out at 2nd and Bryant, angry, and stomped down 2nd to Market.
I was listening to This American Life on my headphones, which lifted my spirits a little, but just a little. This week's theme? Ruining It For The Rest Of Us. How timely.
Every street I crossed had major traffic back ups, it was so bizarre. I wove my way through the traffic with a handful of other pedestrians (or bus refugees).

At Market, the buses were stacked up in both directions. I called 311 on my way to the bus stop.
"There are huge crowds at every MUNI stop," I told the woman. "What the hell's going on tonight?"
She put me on hold. I stood in the middle of a crowd of people at the Fremont stop. More people than I have ever seen at that stop.
Finally, she was back. "Well, I'm not showing any delays," she said.
"Well, there are about 20 people here who would disagree," I told her. "Are you sure there's nothing going on?"
"They haven't given us anything," she said. "There should be a 38 there in five minutes."
I hung up. The people standing nearest to me had overheard my conversation. One woman, who was holding her toddler, said, "I've been here forever... and Next Bus keeps saying 2 minutes, then 1 minute, then ten minutes."
She looked exhausted. I felt bad for her.
A 38L showed up and we all crowded on. It was only the bus' second stop, but it was already packed. I sat in the last seat in the last row in the back.
We moved at a snail's pace down Market. At New Montgomery, we stopped, and did not start up again.
People got out, all but five of us.
There was a protest and the protesters were blocking traffic. I was so angry (still am) that I can't even tell you how I felt about the protesters and what should happen to them (actually, I can tell you... Last night I wanted to round them all up and arrest them... see how they like having their evening ruined).
The bus driver told us that the cops would try to move the protesters.
We sat. Everyone sat. Cars in every direction, MUNI buses, Tour buses, everyone. Tourists took photos ("Look, a real San Francisco protest! Let's go to Fisherman's Wharf on the trolley!"), shoppers kept shopping, and people waited at the bus stops for buses that weren't going anywhere.
People with signs marched and yelled and milled around in the street.
Now, I love a good protest. I'm all over a good civil rights protest, it's our right as citizens of this nation, etc.
Don't create havoc for the rest of us. We're not going to embrace your message when we can't get home.
Know what you are protesting for or against. Don't just join in for the hell of it. I looked for Frank Chu, but I didn't see him.
So there we were, sitting in the middle of the protest.
For another 20 minutes.
Finally, someone from MUNI got on the bus and told us to walk up to Powell and Geary where there "might be" a bus for us.
Fuck that.
I asked him if he knew of any problems with the 1 California line.
He said he didn't think it would be affected.
Once again, I stomped my way down the street, walking down a jam-packed Montgomery Street to Sacramento. Cars were lined up bumper to bumper.
There was a 1 California coming towards us, but only going to Presidio.
I waited for the next one, which was going to 33rd Ave.
Got on it, eventually got a seat when we got through the mess of Chinatown.
A very cantankerous elderly man got on at Polk. Every couple of minutes he'd yell out something like, "I'm sick of this, you keep doing this, goddamnit!"
People moved away from him and his vague wrath.

At 4th Ave., the driver told us he was going out of service at 6th Ave.
Everyone got out, except me.
"Last stop," he said.
"You said 6th was your last stop," I called back. Sure, I could have walked those blocks, but I was feeling contrary. I was NOT HAPPY.
I got out at 6th and walked the rest of the way home.
Two hours.
It took two hours to get home last night.
Not cool.

**Edited to add... This was also posted in a shorter form on MUNI Diaries.


Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah, I experienced this ridiculousness on Monday night. Market was basically shut down between Fremont and Powell. I was going to take the underground but needed to stop at the mall so I figured I'd just take the bus. After waiting 10 minutes I got annoyed and walked. Everything was super backed up and there were tons of people in the street. I get fighting for the cause, but yo! People have places to be! Is it necessary to completely stop commuters? Nobody gained my sympathy, nor yours, with that stunt. Also, I thought protesting in the streets was illegal. By the time I got out of work, the protest had been going on for an hour and half, the cops couldn't have gotten things in order? Oh, wait.

Anyway, I empathize and am also totally annoyed if that makes you feel better.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're at it again this morning, and what did I think of when I saw the news report? You! Hope you're not trapped again.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:10 PM  

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