When you ride Muni on a regular basis and strictly follow the time schedule, it's likely your bus operator will be the same person. This is especially true for me when I take the 18-46th Avenue line because it operates on 20 minute frequencies during rush hours.
But when you ride with the same driver, you start to notice certain patterns that are just inappropriate, and I finally got fed-up enough to call 311 and report the driver for poor practices. But as we well know, reporting problems to Muni just gets ignored, so I'm deciding to take another step and use the power of my blog to get a wider audience.
Before I tell you about what happened, did you know that in order for Muni to take action against a bus driver, the union rules states that you have to surrender your name and contact information? I usually call 311 and just state I refuse to provide that info, but without it, Muni can't do shit.
Here's the whole story:
Line: 18-46th Avenue inbound (to Legion of Honor)
Time: Bus leaves at 6PM at Stonestown (outbound terminal for 18 line)
Driver #: Not known
Description of driver: African American male, thin build, in his 40s.
First incident: Stop at Lake Merced & Font (SF State)
I normally ride the 6:05PM bus arrival at that particular stop because it's just a short walk from my office and it takes me close to my home in the Outer Richmond District. The same driver always picks up passengers 50 feet ahead of the yellow mark on the pavement that indicates the bus must stop there to pick-up passengers.
To make it even more amusing, I flagged the driver by standing near the yellow mark as it was about 200-300 feet away, enough time for the driver to gently hit his brake and hazard lights, but every single time, pulls fifty feet ahead of the yellow mark, thereby forcing any passenger waiting there to rush over to the front door.
Here's a streetsview map from Google:
View Larger Map
Second incident: Stop at La Playa & Cabrillo
The bus stop at La Playa & Cabrillo next to the Safeway supermarket is a really long bus stop of about 400-500 feet, and the passenger shelter is in the middle of the long bus stop. This stop is so big because back in the day, Muni used that long red zone as a terminus for the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch, and those articulated buses are a good 60 feet long. These days, it's not used as a terminus stop because Muni built a terminal area for the 5-Fulton and 31-Balboa in an empty lot just across the street, and the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch doesn't exist ever since the 18 line was forced to take over that route.
Since the bus stop is so huge, the same driver always decides to pull to the very front end of the bus stop, this means the people sitting or standing near the passenger shelter has to walk about 50-75 feet just to catch this particular bus. When I ride at other times with other drivers, they stop as close to the shelter as possible, and that even includes the 31-Balboa. A lot of times, the passengers are mostly senior citizens carrying grocery bags, and making them rush to catch a bus that pulled 75 feet in front is just rude and disrespectful.
Here's what made it worse. Yesterday, the driver did the same tactic: Pull the bus to the front end of the bus stop (very close to where that white truck is). Nobody wanted to exit the bus (did not ring bell), and there was about three people sitting in the shelter. The driver slowed down upon approach to the front end of the stop, and I noticed in the window, two people standing-up wanting to catch the bus when they saw it. The driver assumed nobody wanted to board, so he picked-up speed and continued on. I took off my headphones and hollered at the driver, "wasn't there people who wanted to board?" I got no response.
By this point, I was fed-up with this driver. He doesn't give any respect to passengers pulling-up close to the passenger shelter at La Playa & Cabrillo and doesn't make an effort to stop at the yellow marking at Lake Merced & Font. Oh, but he'll allow any of his friends to board at any point along the route that's not a designated bus stop.
Now that I told my story online WILL MUNI TAKE SOME ACTION? It seems complaining to 311 just goes through the cycle of nowhere.