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Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Solutions for the F-Market to Run Better

I asked a question last August about why tourists don't like to stand in the back of the F-Market, and many commentators gave their insight. One said it's because they don't want to miss their stop, while another said they are not used to public transit and have the death grip on the handlebar.

Saturday and Sunday due to the President's Day weekend was a terrible time for me to ride the F-Market. The trains were crowded and Muni had to supplement service with the articulated buses. Many vehicles were very delayed because the foot traffic along the Wharf was spilling on the street and cars were blocking the path of the tracks.

The wait times, delays, and passenger loads got so bad, the gap between vehicles was more than 20 minutes apart, and the buses didn't go to the Castro, they ended at the Ferry Building. Vehicles were skipping stops with waiting passengers while back of the vehicles were empty and could cram at least another 20 people (taxpayer waste extravaganza).


I learned a new lesson this weekend while riding the F-Market and I want to share it with you!

If you want the tourists to move to the back so it can finally leave, just yell out these two phrases:

  1. "There's plenty of room in the back!" (That starts the conversation)
  2. "There is a fifty dollar bill on the floor back here!" (It's a fun joke, but people get the message)
I learned the $50 bill joke from an operator on the F-Market who wanted to grab people's attention. The tourists didn't give a shit when he kept saying: "move to the rear" until he said the $50 joke to get them laughing and the swarm moved to the back so he can accept more riders.

Just remember, don't make it sound too serious or pissed off, just make it lighthearted and funny.

It worked like a charm on Sunday when there was a huge gap in the back of the articulated bus running on the F-Market route. The front of the bus looked like a can of sardines, but just telling people the joke moved the mob.


I can understand the F-Market is a line that serves both locals and tourists, but the line continues to get heavily delayed all the tourists. The major problem with the delays on the line is because the tourists are not prepared to pay the cash fare and they ask many questions to the operator.

Muni needs to do a few things to help keep the service running on-time:
  1. Use some of that federal stimulus money to install pre-paid ticketing machines at major stops (e.g. Ferry Building and Pier 39) so the passengers can flash their machine printed transfer instead of lining up and slowing down the process. Why not have the machines sell day passes too?
  2. How about hiring some interns or seek some volunteers to be at key stops to answer questions so they don't hold up the trolleys? Free work is better than paying some union wage donkey to do the job.
  3. Put stickers on every single bus and trolley front doors that clearly says: "Cash on the right, passes & transfers on the left." Also, put a white stripe down the middle of the stairs to divide the sections and spray paint letters saying "cash" and "passes & transfers."
  4. Don't let the Muni operators take their 10 minute break at the Wharf terminal, make them immediately continue back towards the Castro, then go potty. Muni doesn't allow drivers to take a break at the Legion of Honor anymore for the 18-46th Avenue.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that no operator wants to work the F-line.

Akit said...

I'm guessing that includes you, Mr. or Ms. Muni driver.