The San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency is currently at work on a project that will install 36 bathrooms on the sidewalk along bus routes so Muni operators can have a spot to go run and pee real quick while on the job. This makes sense. Everybody has to pee sometimes. But there are some forces in town who rather see these Muni operators afflicted with kidney disease than give up more precious sidewalk space.
At $170,000 a pop, the bathrooms aren't exactly cheap, but as a spokesman for the Transit Workers Union told a Board committee yesterday, you can't put a price on a convenient place to pee:
"We refuse to be treated as second-class citizens in regards to using a restroom while serving the public and The City," said Ronald Austin, vice president of Local 250-A. "If there is a concern about a restroom costing $170,000, I have to ask how much does it cost for The City in workers' compensation costs for renal failure of an operator? I think it's a lot more than $170,000."
The private pissoirs would stand about 10 feet tall and take up an 8-by-11-foot space on sidewalks already crowded with newspaper stands, those sketchy toilets, AT&T equipment boxes and other people hurriedly walking towards the nearest Starbucks with a merciful bathroom policy. Board President David Chiu's alternative solution would be to make agreements with local businesses where Muni operators could pee freely. Muni currently pays out $4,000 - $5,000 per year to local businesses for these sorts of bathroom privileges.
Speaking of having to pee real bad while on the bus: partying on Muni is quickly becoming a thing. It's been a long-held open secret that the historic streetcars on the F-Market line are available for charter. (The boat car's annual participation in the Pride parade, for example.) What we didn't know was that Muni actually has a very liberal policy towards alcohol during these chartered rides. It's really more of a pack-it-in-pack-it-out policy. During a party organized by an enterprising friend of SFist back in March, a gascan full of pre-mixed Manhattans and a pony keg of Sierra Nevada came aboard one of the lovely Milan cars. And the wonderful driver barely even batted an eye as riders sloshed around from Dolores Park to Fisherman's Wharf and back.
Noted Internet magazine and party sponsor The Bold Italic is throwing the party again next week and tickets have apparently sold out in less than 24 hours. It is officially the only time anyone is actually clamoring to hand over money and hop aboard Muni. Granted, for a few hours, that Muni car will be the only moving bar in town and there will be cocktails, but there's not even a bathroom.
Anyhow, it strikes us as only a matter of time before some techie type comes along to do their disruption thing and sell tickets to F-Line parties in order to fund improvements to the rest of our unreliable transit system. That would be more productive than complaining about BART at least. Either that or we equip all our Muni drivers with corporate sponsored bathroom finder apps.