Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bus Report #486

Laid-back weekend, lots of Muni, minimum fuss.
Thursday night I took the 22 to Fillmore and switched to the 38L. A man kept asking when we would get to Divisadero, and people kept repeating, "It's the next stop."
I got out at Presidio and did some grocery shopping. As usual, after, I thought I would walk home but the combination of the cold and heavy grocery bags had me waiting at the Collins stop for a regular or an express (and how much will it suck if we have to start paying extra for the express, huh?)

Friday I took the 38 down Geary, then up Geary, then down again later.

Yesterday I joined CALIBER for their photo walk. Really, really fun, guys, thanks for putting it together.
I took the 2 Clement downtown. It was really sunny and I didn't have my sunglasses. I thought I'd buy a pair at Walgreen's, but man, did they have some terrible, terrible sunglasses. Oh, well. I managed just fine, had a blast and met a ton of people, took a few photos, too.

I am already waiting for the next photo walk. Cheers, again, CALIBER!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bus Report #485

Not much to report Muni wise this week, just some bits and pieces...

Monday: Lazily took the 33 to the 5 after work to take a fun sewing class at Workshop. Then, took the 5 to Arguello and walked out to Geary to catch a 38. The 38 pulled up the minute I got to the stop, prompting a guy standing in the bus shelter to say, "Wow, you have good bus luck."

Tuesday: Crowded 22 during my morning commute. At one point, my seatmate got up and I asked a woman standing nearby if she wanted to sit. She smiled and shook her head. "I'm too young," she said, and continued to stand.

In the afternoon I took a relatively uncrowded 10 Townsend downtown.
A woman in the back of the bus spent her ride yelling at her little daughter, who couldn't have been over 4 years old.
In the first seat in the front of the bus, a slobby guy complained very loudly into his cell phone about some charges he didn't think he needed to pay (why do people do personal business on the bus? Why?) He wore a T-shirt that said something like, "It's okay that I'm [something I couldn't see from my seat] because I'm the BIG DUDE." Yeah.
At Caltrain, the woman who had been yelling at her kid started screaming at the slobby guy. "I wanna get out here, so I can go to Safeway then get back on the bus. Cause I gotta get home, that's why!"
She shoved her little girl towards the door. "If you don't get out of this damn bus I will slam you," she said.
The slobby guy got out through the front door and joined his dysfunctional family, and the three of them crossed the street to Safeway. Poor kid, I thought. I hope she turns out better than they did.

This morning: I got down to Fillmore just in time to run for the 22 but have the driver shake his head and point to the next stop. Yeah, that wasn't going to happen, though the rude construction worker guys did run for it. Good riddance.
I waited, and waited, and waited some more. Finally, a 22 pulled up and I got on. Carmen was sitting in our usual seat, a friendly face on an annoying commute morning. We caught up, which was nice, and I still managed to get to work on time despite missing the bus.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bus Report #484

Thursday dose of extreme Muni-related cuteness.
This comes from my friend and neighbor Rebecca, mama to the adorable and effervescent nursery-school-aged Tom.

She reports this conversation with Tom, regarding slow-moving Muni cars on the N-Judah line the other day, in the rain.

Tom: Mommia?
Rebecca: Yep?
Tom: why they call it moody trains? is it sad? (ed: the train, that is)
Rebecca: (thinking) Hmmm... Rachel will love that.

Moody trains! I do love that! And yes, sometimes they are QUITE moody, aren't they?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bus Report #483

Another wet and wild morning on Muni.
By the time I got to my stop, I was already soaked through. My sweatshirt hood didn't do anything for my hair, except maybe make my hair into more of a helmet.
The 38L driver rolled his eyes at me as a woman got out through the front. I climbed in and made my way to a dry seat in the middle of the bus. A mom and her daughter sat across from me, the daughter half asleep.
At Fillmore I stuck close to the sides of the buildings so as not to get wetter. There were a few people already waiting at the bus stop: the stinky security guy and the two rude construction workers. The construction workers looked over at me, the newcomer, and then they lit up some cigarettes and stood in the bus stop puffing away.
A woman in a red rain poncho wandered over and stood between the security guard and me.
She had a fancy bouffant hairstyle that hadn't fallen or melted yet.

The bus pulled up, one of our regular drivers, and he stopped right in front of me.
I was about to get on, when one of the rude construction workers elbowed his way into the bus in front of me! Drama!
I sucked my teeth at him and the driver gave me a slight shake of the head when I finally got on. The nerve.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. Lots of umbrella shaking and wet seats.
I jumped out at my usual stop, almost getting hit in the face with the umbrella one of the stairwell-blocking postal workers had decided to unfurl before stepping out of the way.
I escaped, ran up the street to get my coffee.
The coffee shop was empty. I guess no one else wanted to venture out on such a rainy day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bus Report #482

Deluge edition!

I am not a fan of the umbrella or the rain slicker, believing, perhaps incorrectly, that they only serve to get everyone and everything around you wetter than you already are.
I headed out to the bus today in my rain boots, sweatshirt and jacket, the hood pulled over my hair, my lunch bag carrying only my waterproof lunch container and water bottle (my usual book and folder full of papers securely plastic bagged in my purse).
The rain was coming down like nobody's business. I crossed the street to catch my bus and a car, totally not paying attention, rolled towards me.
I stopped right in front of them and, gesturing like a crazy person, made them aware that it was my light and they needed to fucking pay attention.
At the bus stop I huddled under the shelter with three other drowned rats.
The 38L bus pulled up right on time (and on a rainy day, surprise!) and I got in, settling into a dry seat near the back.
It was a quiet ride down to Fillmore.

At Fillmore I waited under the overhang with a kid dressed properly for the rain with a raincoat and rain shoes.
The 22 Fillmore showed up early, too, another (welcome) surprise. I slid in to a window seat, because the aisle seat had a puddle of water on it.

A man in a bright yellow, knee length, hooded rain slicker got on. All I could think of were the peg leg sea captains I used to draw as a kid and the spokesperson for a famous frozen fish company.
A woman got in at Mission wearing a huge rain poncho. Water streamed off of it. She sat down, effectively ruining a seat for someone else because now it was covered in water.
A gothy teenage girl slumped into the puddly seat next to me. When it was time for me to get out, she refused to move an inch, so she got my wet bag and my wet jacket and my wet ass in her face. Served her right.

Outside it was still dark. M. was standing in the street with a shovel, furiously scooping leaves out of the storm drain. The rain fell around us. I stood on the sidewalk and we talked for a minute, then I headed up the hill to a warm office and a cup of tea.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bus Report #481

This morning on the 38L, A woman was sitting two seats down from me. She got out at Presidio. A man who had gotten on the bus a few stops earlier, slightly grubby, slightly grumbly, battered cap on his head, immediately went over to her seat and started rubbing his palms over it. At first I thought the seat was dirty and he was brushing it off, but no. This was... well, disgusting.
He rubbed and rubbed at the seat with his bare hand, then sat down in it and stared at his hand, which he held palm up, fingers rigid, in front of him. I know I was not the only person watching him and feeling grossed out.
He sniffed his hand, bent his fingers and moved his hand up and down in front of his face. Shudder.
I got out of the bus as quickly as I could when we got to Fillmore, and did not look back.

The 22 was crowded when it finally came. I sat next to a man who had a large duffel bag at his feet. He had a hot cup of coffee in his hands. The coffee smelled old, burned and gritty.
As the bus filled up the smells got worse.
Tiger balm and ginseng, Ben-Gay or something similar, stale cigarettes and beer, the unwashed jacket on the security guard who would not move out of the stairwell.

At Hayes a woman tried to get out through the back door but she would not step down, despite the chorus of voices telling her that she needed to do so.
She marched towards the front of the bus and started yelling at the driver, who ignored her.

The woman with the same travel mug from an Austin coffee shop that I have at home got out at her usual stop, called a cheerful 'thanks!' to the driver.

At my stop I maneuvered around the security guard who wouldn't move away from the stairwell and hopped down, lightly, favoring my right leg because my knee's feeling tight today. It was so nice to be out of the bus. I breathed deeply, inhaling the fresh (well, fresh for 16th Street) air. Got my coffee and disappeared down the hill into the fog.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Bus Report #480

Last night I took a 38L towards home from downtown.
At Powell there was some sort of scuffle and someone talking very loudly up front. I wasn't sure what was going on, but our driver got on the PA system and said, "Quiet down back there and cut it out, there are cameras on board."
Eventually the people quieted down, and I never got a good look at them.

The stop identifier was one stop ahead the whole ride, so that the bus said, "Polk-Van Ness" when we were at the Geary and Larkin stop, for example. So after each early identifier, the driver would add, "Next Stop."
It was kind of funny, because the automated voice would say each stop once, then the driver would add his announcement, then the automated voice would repeat, and so would our driver.

This morning the 22 was late. Late, and full. The fare box was broken, too. This is the second broken fare box on a bus that I have seen this week. And Muni wonders why they are so broke financially? Wouldn't it be a better idea to take buses with broken fare boxes off the schedule until they are fixed?
They lost a lot of money this morning, as evidenced by people trying to pay and the hordes of riders who crammed in to the back of the bus with no intention to pay at all.

When I got on the bus all the seats were taken, except for one right in front of Carmen, next to a guy who kept reaching in to his pocket (which was right next to my side) to check his phone. When he got out, hurriedly at Hayes, clutching a large manila envelope, Carmen came over to sit next to me in her usual spot.
Carmen and I chatted about the late bus, her nightmare commute from yesterday morning and the Fast Pass fare increase.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bus Report #479

Happy New Year, everyone.
Did anyone else buy the Muni-only fast pass? So far so good.

Random thoughts:

Is Next Bus accurate? I'll check it at work and then go down to the bus stop, and the Next Bus there will be totally different. Strange.

Did anyone else see the fliers on the bus today from the driver's union, telling us how hard they work and how they did not get 3k bonuses? I glanced at it and then pushed it away.

Is my friend A. right, do only seasoned riders open the windows on buses? I know I am usually the only person doing this on my various routes.

Saw Carmen on the bus on Monday. We Happy-New-Yeared each other and caught up on things.

Walking to work yesterday, I saw the aftermath of the 19-Polk crash yesterday morning. Scary!