Saturday, March 26, 2011

MUNI Driver Takes Unscheduled Break, Enjoys Starbucks

   Yesterday, myself and a group of six other people waited for almost an hour for the 23-Monterey bus heading East towards the Bayview, but it never came.  Actually, three buses never arrived.
   When a bus DID finally arrive I asked the driver (who was actually very apologetic), he told me that his leader and the leader before him had both called in sick. It seems that with MUNI owing operators a budget-busting $28 million in overtime pay, and with the SFMTA recently enforcing existing work rules that caused a 1-week decrease in absenteeism of 40%, and with annual salaries that rival any transit system in the entire country; why should even marginal ineptitude ensure job security?

   So, I arrived at work an hour late, finished my shift and then proceeded to The Castro to blow off some steam at my favorite happy hour haunt, The Midnight Sun.  Upon arriving in the Castro I noticed a bus half-full of passengers, parked with the door closed at 18th and Castro, as I watched the driver walking across the street to Starbucks. This sounds awfully similar to the KFC incident on the L-Taraval last month via MuniDiaries. I timed the layover at 8 minutes.  The bus number was 5451.  The driver's number was 2489.  This layover occured at 5:10PM during a busy Friday evening commute.
    My only previous interaction with this driver was about a year ago, when on a northbound 24-Divisadero he repeatedly passed people waiting at stops, didn't stop the bus when when requested by a passenger, and when he was asked by a customer to stop (after the driver drove right by his stop) the driver curtly asked the passenger to exit the bus or he would kick them off.
    Although my experience with this driver is less than stellar, I regularly see him interact positively with many people as he is a regular driver on the 24-Divisadero line.  Feeling free to take unscheduled breaks in the middle of a Friday evening commute, with passengers in tow, and on one of the busiest transit routes in the city; some might consider a luxury.
    Generally, my experience with MUNI is good.  Only about twice a month does a bus not arrive.  Only about once a week is it late, and rarely do I get a driver with an attitude.  Today was one of those instances where I'd had just reached my limit with PUNI.

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