In normal times, it can be hard for a Muni bus driver to skip stops when they have an over-full load of passengers while also letting people off where there need to get off. It's usually a bit of a game with the crowded bus pulling over mid-block, far enough away from the bus stop that people can't run to catch up and jump on — but this is often a failure because people are people and they're in a hurry to get somewhere.
Add to this problem a strict, public-health-dictated capacity cap of 30 passengers, and the recipe for failure is pretty well baked in.
Case in point: Muni Diaries brings us the tale of a couple who decided to ride the bus downtown from their home in the Pac Heights/Japantown vicinity to go to the Ferry Building.
The rider explains that "because the 2 and 3 haven’t run since April," when leaving the Ferry Building they "now have to walk to the Transbay Terminal to pick up a 38."
The 38-Geary has had some well documented over-crowding issues going back to early April, seeing as it serves as a vital lifeline for residents and essential workers in the northern half of Avenues. And some Muni drivers were just complaining last month that it's nearly impossible to enforce capacity caps when no light-rail trains are running and bus service is limited as it is.
But this story suggests that it's all but impossible for a 38-Geary to get out of downtown with 30 or fewer passengers and without pissing off a bevy of waiting riders at stops along the way — some of whom, like the woman described below near Geary and Van Ness, get aggressive and try to block the bus from leaving an intersection until it picks them up.
[The woman throws] F-bombs and middle fingers and demands to open the door. Plus, she keeps stepping in front of the bus to keep him from going.
Two light cycles later, the driver finally tells her that he’s only allowed 30 people on the bus, so she goes down the side counting people.
“You only got 26! Let me the fuck in!”
At Van Ness, the driver is forced to stop as five people stand in the bus's way at the bus stop with arms waving. In comes about 13 people, the rider tells Muni Diaries, "and now the bus really IS crowded. People with masks around their chins, pissed off people who’ve been passed by for how long... I can’t blame them."
The couple then tries to get off at the next stop, Laguna, which is theirs, but the driver blows right past it despite their requesting it via pull-cord. They ended up getting let off in the middle of the next block — and he ends his dispatch with the hashtags #fuck2020 and #putmorebussesonthestreet.
Anyone have similar tales to tell of from the light-rail-free Muni universe? Are any drivers actually maintaining 30-passenger limits? Let us know at [email protected].
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images