10 September 2015

MUNI sucks - and you're making it worse

With an estimated 40,000 new residents since 2010, life in SF is getting more challenging. This is showing in our infrastructure issues and in particular with MUNI.

MUNI was never a well-run or well-funded system, nor was it a complete one. But now MUNI is breaking under the strain.

And you all are not helping.

Let's be honest... MUNI sucks. We all know it.  We all say it, we all live it. But we can make it better. We can make the entire experience better for everyone who rides MUNI light rail, and it's not even difficult or any real sacrifice.

So here, from a 20+ year MUNI light rail rider, are the ways to make MUNI light rail better (for all of us) by simply behaving a little better.

  1. Lines. We're not like the English. We kind of suck at lines. That does not, however, mean that it's a fucking free for all out there. We all know the proper order based on who arrived when. There is a virtual line as a result. When you get all clever and slip around the outside and dart in ahead of everyone else you're not being smarter than the rest of us, nor are the rest of us being chumps. You're being an asshole. Wait your turn, behave like a decent human, and we'll all get on the train and get home and we'll do so without the current level of hatred and simmering conflict.
  2. Boarding. When the train arrives, wait. Let everyone get off before you get on. This is the simplest of rules and the simplest of fixes. This will increase the efficiency of unloading and unloading and will result in MUNI running better throughout the entire system. Once everyone has debarked, you need to go as far into the train as you can. Stopping as soon as you board and grabbing an upright like you're about to drown creates a bottleneck which results in boarding slowing dramatically. If you simply go to the center of the train quickly, everyone will get to board, the train will load more quickly (and thus MUNI will run more quickly overall) and the train will hold more passengers (also resulting in quicker and better operation of the system). 
  3. Seats. If you sit in the outside seat when the inside seat is empty, there is a decent chance no-one will ask to take the inside seat. It's a politeness thing. But, again, doing this is not an indication that you're smarter than everyone else. Not doing it doesn't make you a chump. No... doing this makes you a fucking asshole. If 4 people do this per car, you're talking 16 fewer passengers per double train. During rush hour, this works out to around 320 fewer passengers per hour. So yeah... move to the inside seat.
  4. Backpacks. This one I do not understand at all.  It's fucking obvious. First of all, MUNI at rush hour is like Tetris and if you leave your backpack on, fewer passengers can fit on a train. Secondly, every time you move around in a packed train with your backpack on you're assaulting everyone behind you. I've had coffee spilled on me this way, I've been knocked to the ground this way. Third, when you try to board or exit the train, you're a massive unwieldy object in motion through the crowd. Disasters are predictable. So... a simple and binary rule... Before you get on the train, take off your backpack. You can hold it in your hand between your legs, you can rest it on your feet - but just take it off your fucking back. Mkay?
  5. Arriving. First and foremost... if the train is packed and you're by the doors, and the train stops somewhere that isn't your destination - step off the train so people can get off. If it's super packed and you're a few people in from the door, you too might have to step off the train. Once off the train, wait until everyone gets off, and then re-board (in the reverse order of you you left). If you're on the platform waiting - let the kind people who got off the train board before you get on. Not doing so makes you on par with elevator farters and with luck you will spend hell in an elevator filled with farts. Now... if this is your stop, don't freak out. Calmly work your way towards the door. If there are people blocking your path, politely say "excuse me." And if someone says, "excuse me" because you're blocking their way off the train - get the fuck out the way. 
There we go.
Five simple steps, a handful of simple rules.
If we all start doing this - MUNI will suck demonstrably less. For all of us.

So why the hell would you NOT do this?


At 8:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

No worries. They'll all leave when it comes crashing down. Just like they did in 2000 and in 1992.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Zack Sinclair said...

Tragedy of the commons in action.

I wonder what about the commute in particular brings out the worst in people. It happens in every mode of transport. "fuck you all, i have to get to work"

It's like the safe anonymity of asshole drivers has extended to muni via earbuds and phones. The attitude seems to be that if you don't get called out, it never happened.

Therefore I propose we launch the Transportation Inquisition: vigilant citizens in grey robes armed with bells. "Shame. Shame. Shame."


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