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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why did Muni Plan to Change the 9X to the 8X?

Today's question: Muni's plans to change the 9X-Bayshore Express, 9AX-Bayshore "A" Express, and 9BX-Bayshore "B" Express into the 8X, 8AX, and 8BX with some minor route changes. Why did Muni change the numbers?

Here's some background information: The "9" express bus services is basically a crosstown route that goes north and south and passes through numerous neighborhoods and attractions. Many of its customers are Chinese Americans because the southbound route picks-up passengers in Chinatown and also enters Visitacion Valley, a neighborhood popular with many first generation Chinese Americans.

The number four is considered to be death in many Asian cultures. It makes me wonder why Muni didn't change the route number of the 44-O'Shaughnessy that passes through the Clement Street business district, and the route is popular with elderly Chinese Americans going to and from the Richmond district.

I don't understand why Muni decided to change the "9" series of express buses to the number "8."
  • In one point of view, I feel that since the line is heavily used by Chinese Americans and passes through Chinatown, that by switching the number to "8," you make the bus become "lucky." But wouldn't this just show that the public agency favors certain ethnic groups versus others?
  • In an other point of view, it may just be convenient for Muni to move the express buses away from the San Bruno bus lines that occupies the number "9" and the future "9L."
Let's be aware that Muni has no plans to increase service on the 9X on December 5th, and it is possible that changing it to a "lucky number" may actually increase the number of passengers packed into that bus, even if it is for a short hop to Market street. Interestingly, maybe the 30-Stockton and 45-Union/Stockton buses won't be as crowded (yeah right).

Lastly, why not reserve the number 8 for the former 8-Market bus line? That was there before the F-Market ran permanently on our city streets to provide service when the Muni metro was a big piece of poo (and still is today). I would love to see the resurrection of the 8-Market going to/from the Castro and Ferry Building because the F-Market has a reputation for being slow and delayed due to the heavy tourist usage along the Embarcadero.

Send me your thoughts by making a comment.


Erorg said...

Ill come right out and say it. I dont think that the "8" bus is lucky or unlucky, was geared to get people to ride it, or for the perception of Chinese Americans to think it "lucky". If the latter is the case, Id be riding on "7" all the time, as its lucky in Christian belief as "seven heaven".

I think it is used to set a difference between all the "9" bus lines. Frankly, I think there are too many "9" lines. 9, 9X, and too often Ive stood at a 9 stop thinking it 9X and realized it wasnt. I think its a good idea changing the "express buses" to another number, even if its the same route. Id like to see "express buses" changed completely in SF, and have different numbers in the 100's designated as EXPRESS buses. Thats how they do it in Seattle, why not here?

Akit said...

Interesting point.

Samtrans uses letters for express buses, and the first digit of three digits designate if it serves BART, Caltrain, both, or neither.

AC Transit also does this for transbay routes by using letters.

Alex said...

I think the reason why they're changing it is because there will be too many 9s with the addition of the 9 Limited. Also, the 9Xs don't heavily follow the actual route of the 9 local. Only for a stretch are they on San Bruno - most of the route is on Geneva or the highway.

Muni better get their signage correct when these service changes take place. Imagine the confusion if they fail to update each bus stop... They haven't even posted an updated SF Muni map on their website!

9, by the way, is also lucky in Chinese culture since it represents longevity.

Anonymous said...

seattle uses different route numbers for express busses, but not easy to identify ones. the first digit points the general area the bus runs in or to. (1=south,2=east,3=north;'0'=central).5xx are often express but run by a different agency.
example: two similar main southbound (and airport bound) lines were 174 (local) and 194 (express).