Epic transit nerdout today on Burrito Justice Radio

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Honestly, the only way for the protesters to get the Google bus out of the Mission is for them to stage a pedestrian getting run over by one

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.

I’m not going to cover the entire proceedings, as SFist’s Andrew Dalton has diligently provided a full account already, but the main arguments of each side were as follows:

  • Tech:  If these shuttles didn’t exist, we would all just drive to Silicon Valley instead, and traffic would be terrible, pollution would run rampant, and the entire world would soon end.
  • Community: Private corporate shuttles shouldn’t utilize public infrastructure in the first place, but the fact that they also cause Muni delays and contribute to excessive rent increases for housing is unacceptable unless the companies involved provide a meaningful contribution to the communities they are disrupting

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]

Previously:

Muni gets a second Blackpool ‘boat tram’

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?

[via @ellingson]

Aww, Muni

Brittney Gilbert reports:

Climbing aboard I saw all seats full except for one beside a little girl who was splayed across her seat and the one empty next to her. I opted to stand. That is, until the bus became so full that it was better for all involved if I took the empty seat. So, I did.

That’s when the little girl looked up at me and let out a huge smile. “Hi,” she said.

I said hello back. I smiled down at her but planned to keep listening to the music on my headphones. That’s when she offered me her hot dog.

This sweet girl, all bangs and grins, hot dog bun stuck between each of her tiny teeth, wanted to share her food with me.

I politely declined, but pulled my headphones down around my neck.

“I’m four,” she told me.

Read on.

Ugh, Muni

SFist reports:

A Muni bus at 20th and Mission had a collision with car pulling out of a parking space Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. The crash sent three passengers aboard the bus to the hospital with non-serious injuries, and it’s unclear what happened to the driver of the car, or if he/she was injured.

Read on.

Open-air F-Market tattoo

[via Vic Wong on Instagram]

Retrofitting retired MUNI buses with showers for homeless people

Did you know that there are only 16 shower stalls for 3,000+ men, women, and children who makes the streets of SF their home?  Don’t worry, I didn’t either, but fortunately there are some dedicated individuals seeking to ameliorate this imbalance by utilizing everyone’s favorite form of transportation:

The buses will be gutted and retrofitted with two showers — each with its own private changing area — and two toilets. The bus will be driven by volunteer bus drivers and will traverse the city making stops at partner organizations serving the homeless. Our goal is to provide 100 – 125 showers per bus per day. In our third year, we’ll have a total of 4 buses providing 400 – 500 showers every day

Check out the Indiegogo campaign if you feel like helping out!

Now if we could only get the actual buses we ride on to take a shower too…

Muni bus vs. double-decker tour bus

(Photos by Jonathan H.; thanks, Jonathan!)

Random Muni drawing

This morning on the way to work I noticed this dude across the train looking up and back down at a notebook and figured he was drawing the train or something. A few minutes later he came up to me and handed me a piece of paper. “I drew a picture of you. Here.”

That was pretty cool. I mean, just a totally random thing to catch me off guard. I dug it, so I took a pic of him with a big grin and a thumbs up and when I got into the office I did a quick sketch. I didn’t have the disadvantage of a moving train though.

Sometimes it’s the little things.

Shining beacon in a Muni shit storm

Our pal Brittney shares a little positivity:

There is a man who rides the 12 with me most mornings, and every time I see him he makes me smile. Because he is always smiling. Always. Rain, shine, vagrant pissing in the corner–smiley bus guy is smiling.

He never takes a seat, even if one is available. He slides his backpack around to wear on the front, conscientious of space, and he always smells like Mountain Spring soap and cinnamon toothpaste.

Smiley bus guy is a shining beacon in Muni shit storm. [link]