Dang, this would’ve made a great pic in my epic series of pics of this spot.
People in San Francisco don’t agree on much, but just about everybody likes to hate on MUNI. The system takes a lot of grief, much of it justified. But I grew up in So-Cal, a place with notoriously rotten public transit, so even when I’m fuming with several hundred other stranded souls as an N Judah languishes between Van Ness and Civic Center, I try to remember that MUNI, for all its faults, is a far sight better than what I had to deal with as a kid. I also try to feel grateful that I get to live in a city where you (usually) can use public transportation to get around, because I believe mass transit creates a better society. It’s a wonderful social equalizer and it brings all kinds of different people into contact with each other. Sometimes this contact can be unwelcome or unpleasant, but so what? That’s kinda the point. Most people in Los Angeles don’t get the privilege of standing on crowded buses or trains with all sorts and sundry of humanity. They seal themselves inside their cars. In my opinion, this mass isolation instead of mass exposure is one of the main reasons LA sucks. It appeals to and caters to a certain kind of personality. Not that everyone in LA is a preening narcissist. (I dig LA in a lot of ways, and the people who live there. It’s a grittier, more diverse city than SF.) But let’s be real. Its preening-narcissists-per-capita quotient is quite high. The same is true for Silicon Valley, which—not coincidentally—also has shitty public transit.
And actually, this is all just a preamble to the real story, so read on.
Hollywood be all like, “here, lemme redesign that for you” (Godzilla, 2014):
After all, who would want these pieces of shit searing the eyeballs of America:
Rather than, say, this boring old stuff they’re talking about getting:
Yesterday’s corporate shuttle hearing at SF City Hall brought out supporters from all sides of the transportation controversy to have their opinions heard regarding the recent proposal to allow the shuttles to share public stops with Muni buses for a mere $1 (instead of hefty $300+ fine leveraged on normal citizens who get caught using the stops). Community members came to describe how the presence of these shuttles has affected their daily lives, while tech workers attended armed with scripted talking points provided by Google itself.
In the end, the Board sided with Tech and will charge private shuttles a pitifully insignificant $1 per bus, per stop used. Which is ridiculous. The fact is that these shuttles are used as a recruiting tool, making it convenient to transport tech workers (who might otherwise choose to work in the city) down to the South Bay without them having to interact with undesirables. God forbid they use the public transit already in place. God forbid their companies invest in said public transit to help bolster its ability to ferry workers of all stripes around.
And no, these people wouldn’t simply drive to work if the buses didn’t exist. Most would either move closer to their work or find jobs here in the city. Basically, it’s how a company like Menlo-based Facebook can compete for young talent against SF-based Twitter.
Look, I get it. Muni, BART, and CalTrain aren’t perfect. But they’re not bad, and with a little help and some extra funds, they could be a lot better. However, based on the Board’s decision, this help isn’t coming anytime soon.
[Photo by Steve Rhodes]
The Market Street Railway blog breaks the news:
As our members learned first in their exclusive newsletter, Inside Track, Market Street Railway has acquired for Muni a second boat tram. We’ll have much more to say about this here in a few days, but for now, we just want to thank Michael Thoresen, the most generous donor who made the acquisition possible through the Thoresen Foundation, and FedEx Trade Networks, which arranged and helped underwrite the shipping of the tram from England to San Francisco. [link]
Now that we have two, can we race ‘em?