On Sunday, Muni will finally lift their draconian ban on back door boarding. Based solely on the number of media outlets that have mentioned the new policy, this is the biggest development on the Municipal Railway system since Willie Brown invented cable cars. Or whatever. We kid! We could not be more excited that back door boarding, a practice we've been doing for years by casually waving expired transfers in the general direction of the driver, has finally gone legit. That said, some people are terrible at riding the bus. Once again, SFist is here to help.

First of all, according Muni's official guidelines, any person can board through the rear doors of a Muni vehicle provided they have proof they've already paid for some sort of ticket. That includes:

  • Clipper cards (Don't forget to tag! Beep!)
  • Limited use tickets (Sold from vending machines in Metro stations, also needs to be tagged.)
  • Paper passes (senior passes, tourist passports, CityPass books, etc)
  • Regular paper transfers (that you know and love and fudge all the time)

Youth Tickets and people paying with tokens (side note: tokens still exist?) will still need to board via the front. Same goes for those people who continue to pay for bus fare with all the change they just shook out of their sofa. Which brings us to our first tip:

Wait for everybody to exit first.
This seems like a no-brainer, but some folks insist on upstreaming at every opportunity. This is not generally a problem with the front door, as only the elderly, the infirm and the totally clueless exit through the front door, and politely waiting for those folks to exit makes one feel as though they have actually done something nice today, but there will be much more traffic coming your way when you try to hop on the back door. Wait for everyone to exit like the cool, calm adult you are and then go right ahead and step on up. If you're paranoid about the doors slamming in your face, stand out of the way while you hold the door.

Head to the back. Always head to the back.
Again, we shouldn't have to say this, but it just makes everything easier up front if every able bodied rider who can goes ahead and shuffles themselves to the back of the bus. Not only does it free up space in the front, but you can avoid those awkward, "Is she pregnant? Should I give her my seat?" sorts of situations.

If the back door doesn't open: Panic. Or don't.
Muni makes no guarantees that drivers will fling open the back doors at every stop. If no one is exiting, you certainly shouldn't expect the blank faces staring back at you from inside the bus to step down or shout a "back door!" just because you were standing in the wrong place when the bus pulled up. You may have to scurry to the front door. It will be mildly embarrassing. Suck it up.

Help a rider out, step down to let them on.
That said, it sure would be nice if folks on the inside would take a moment to look up from their Kindles and iPhones to let a stranded back door boarder hop on.

Keep the back door area clear.
Don't block the doorway just because you're getting off at the next stop. Likewise, don't linger in the stairwell. It keeps the back doors open and people will most certainly yell at you. It will be very embarrassing and you totally deserved it. Finally...

Strollers to the front.
Sorry, parents, everyone is going to hate your stroller either way. Let's all agree to keep those limited to the roomy areas up front. Same goes for those folding shopping carts and oversized backpacks heading to Haight Street youth hostels.

Wonderful. Now that we've cleared all that up, Muni will be at least 75-150% faster. Fact.

Previously: Etiquette Week: How to Behave On Public Transportation