Sitting on the good old bus 49 over the weekend, I came across something that is rarely seen in San Francisco – a bus driver who fought for his fare. All too often the driver doesn’t even glance at my MUNI pass and I go for days without actually needing it, wondering why I even waste the $45 dollars each month. That is a lot of ice cream at Bi-rite, well, not really all that much.
But this driver was tenacious. He kicked a middle aged man off the bus for using a senior pass. When someone got in through the back door, the driver refused to budge the bus until this man showed him his transfer. Because this man pretended he didn’t know the bus driver was talking to him for a full minute (sitting down), flashed his transfer (and sat back down), went to the front of the bus to show his expired transfer (and sat back down), and then finally came up with the necessary $1.50 (and sat back down!), we sat on the street for a good 3 minutes not moving. My ride from 26th street to 16th street took 15 minutes.
On one hand, I had places to go and things to see.
On the other hand, I was secretly happy.
But then I think about how incredibly long it would take to get the bus moving if everyone went in through the front door: stops at 24th and 16th street would probably take at least an extra minute or two. And then I get angry at the people who go out the front door who have clear access to the back doors and who are in no way physically challenged. I am even occasionally upset with the old people who insist on pulling carts everywhere – if you have enough gumption to pull a wheeled basket up onto the bus, you are strong enough to exit through the back door.
Bus rides are often long and angry for me.
And then I read how poor MUNI is, and how they are thinking of raising the monthly fare. Couldn’t I just send 10 people to the front of the bus to pay their fare and add my extra $15 dollars that way? Maybe by making people follow the few simple rules about entering, exiting, and paying fares, not only would we have a better funded system, but is possible it would no longer be one of the slowest public transport systems in the nation.
I need a bike.