Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cash Passengers the Wrong Way and the Right Way

So on the day when I met Greg Dewar a couple of weekends ago, we were both riding the N inbound on a sunny Saturday. It was a fairly busy day and the N was about 20 minutes late (I called 311 to complain while I was waiting). By the time we got into Cole Valley we had stopped for a couple of wheelchairs and had also no doubt picked up a number of cash passengers (being a sunny weekend day and all). Greg and I were in the second car, however, and although there were a few standees it was nothing approaching full.

To my surprise, the operator closed the doors pulled away leaving a dozen or so people standing. He announced, "There's another train right behind us," which means only, "There's another train. Today." And from that point he passed up most of the passengers who would have paid cash, between Cole Valley and the Market Street tunnel - all the while with room for 50-100 passengers in his second car. So I called 311 again.

I was on an inbound N this past Saturday around 11AM - during Outside Lands - and we had the same situation, but with a huge number of cash fares. So when we got to Cole Valley, I started hearing "didididididi shing BEEP! dididididi BEEP! didididid shing BEEP!" faintly over the PA. Apparently the mike was open and I was hearing zillions of cash passengers boarding. Then, after a little delay, people bearing transfers began to trickle into the rear car. Yes, the operator was letting people board and pay, and then asking them to move to the rear car. This repeated for the rest of the surface stops until we entered the tunnel with a full load and hadn't passed up a single passenger.

Almost like he was trying to get everyone where they wanted to go.

Weird, huh?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stupid Passenger Grouch

How is it that regular riders on a half dozen consecutive stops today couldn't manage to operate the rear doors on an Orion hybrid?

Stupid passenger: "Back door!" Bangs on door. Door doesn't open.

Adjacent passenger: "Just hold your hand there." Door opens.

Next stop.

Stupid passenger #2: "Back door! The back door won't open!" Bangs on door. Door doesn't open.

Adjacent passenger: "Put your hand on it." Door opens.

Next stop.

Stupid passenger #3: "Back door! Open the back door!" Bangs on door. Door doesn't open.

Adjacent passenger: "It won't open if you bang on it. Hold your hand there."

And so on.

Muni was, of course, foolish in calculating that Muni riders would be intelligent enough to operate an assortment of door opening mechanisms. But then again, a rat would have no difficulty learning to operate two different types of doors as long as it received a sufficient stimulation of its reward center upon success. So what is it going to take to straighten out these otherwise high-functioning* passengers? Do we need to install hoppers of food pellets at bus stops?

Good news: Today's driver filled up the bus.

*Remember, what "high-functioning" means to psychologists and behavioralists is more along the lines of "generally does not drop trou in meetings" than "got Ph.D. at age of 16."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Were Ronstadted (We Blew by You)

Another fine morning of pass-ups on the 29 - we didn't stop for or pick up a single passenger, again, between 19th & Holloway and Ocean & Plymouth. At least today the bus was mostly full.

You Don't See This Every Day

In fact you don't see this every year. (Click on the photo to see it larger and more clearly.)

Can someone explain to me what exactly is wrong with bringing a bicycle onto an empty train?

The operator, by the way, was "Major Transfer Point Guy." I don't know if he saw the bike come on or not but regardless he's still one of my most favorite N Judah operators.

If you're curious, the photo was taken with my new Horizon Perfekt.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grouch Is Back in Session

Now that City College is back in session, the 29 Sunset can start passing up passengers again. Today our driver passed up about 20 people between 19th and Ocean. Not so much a shock except that not only was there room for at least 10 standees in the back of the bus (the aisle was empty) but there were even empty seats in the back.

As I was getting off at Ocean I stopped to tell him: Hey, there were empty seats in the back and you had room for at least 10 more standees. His response:

"I couldn't see."

Well, pardon me, but he never said a word during the whole 35 minute trip, except for "Exit to the front," once, when a passenger was having difficulty opening the rear door. (The door was refusing to open the whole time.) When his bus was filling up he didn't say "Move to the rear." Does he think there's something special about his bus, that his passengers automatically pack the rear of the bus first? And what excuse does he have for not getting up to check that his bus is full before he calls in saying he is full?


The passengers who alight on the hill between 19th and Ocean are about fifty percent elderly. No doubt they enjoyed watching the bus go by, and their subsequent ten minute wait for the next chance to get a ride. It's no big shock to them though; it happens all the time.

Yup, the Grouch is back.