THINGS MUNI COULD DO INSTEAD OF RAISING FARES AGAIN
San Francisco’s favorite way to travel a mile and a half in just 45 minutes has recently announced that riders will soon be forking over another $.25 for the privilege. Many San Francisco residents think that the current $2 is already a bit steep, considering the buses never show up on time, are ridiculously overcrowded and smell like a metal tube filled with spoiled garbage. Maybe MUNI could consider some other options to balance the books?
TURN BUSES ON ONLY WHEN THEY’RE GOING SOMEWHERE
If you’ve never spent a brisk San Francisco morning near a MUNI depot, it sure is a treat. First, MUNI staff walks around and turns on all the buses to idle so they’re ready to go out and pick up passengers and get them where they need to go. Then, all MUNI staff goes on a contractually-required 4-hour nappy-time and cigarette break while the buses idle and burn gas.
I don’t know if you’ve caught a TV news show lately, but in between telling us bikini diet tips and how to host the best sangria party, they occasionally will update you on how expensive gas is. Turns out, it’s pretty expensive! So maybe letting a vehicle sit and idly burn gas for up to four hours every day is a practice that might waste a few pennies. Maybe by only having the actual driver turn on the bus when they’re going to start their shift, MUNI wouldn’t have to raise prices on all riders by $.25.
ENFORCE THE FARES YOU ALREADY HAVE
From the perspective of a regular MUNI rider, MUNI should be raking in the money. Thanks to their policy of never running buses on time, by the time they do arrive at most stops there are dozens of people waiting for the bus, and once you’ve gone through a downtown area most buses are crammed with riders. For $2-a-head, that’s quite a booming business!
Unfortunately, that would require that all the people on the bus are PAYING to ride. Estimates in 2009 put fare evasion at about 10% of ridership, but I’d place it more around 30-40% just from my own experience and observations. Just about every MUNI trip I’ve taken recently has been crammed uncomfortably full, with most people entering through the back doors and not swiping a Clipper card for payment. SFPD is supposedly required to do fare evasion patrols, but they never occur on the most heavily-trafficked lines, because even SFPD doesn’t want to be crammed onto a MUNI bus completely filled with people. They’ve got cars. Riding buses is for poor people!
Start regular patrols on the most-used lines (the 38, 8 and 30 all come to mind) and watch those buses get miraculously less crowded, and also become profitable for once. Of course, that would require the city to spend money on staffing, and it’s the San Francisco way to just jack up the price on the people who are willing to pay in the first place.
JACK UP THE CABLE CAR PRICE
Speaking of, for once how about we stop screwing over San Francisco residents and start screwing the tourists? Sure, they overpay for hotels and food, but how about the Cable Cars?
Every day during tourist season, thousands of people line up and will wait hours to ride San Francisco’s least-locally-used transit lines, the city rolly-coasters. They fork over their $5 each and ride from a mall to an ice cream stand, all the while snapping a thousand pictures that nobody in their life will ever want to see. They do this happily and with a smile on their faces, gleefully unaware that a few hundred feet away some pour soul who lives in San Francisco, pays San Francisco taxes and just wants to get to work is trapped on a MUNI bus next to a man who hasn’t bathed in 5 years playing a bongo drum he made out of a trash barrel who is also crying for some reason.
So - make the cable car ride $10 each. They’ll pay it. Guaranteed. Locals don’t ride it and we can all laugh at the tourists and thank them for pumping some money into our economy, after we explain to our boss why we were late because of MUNI again. But hey - it only cost $2 to get there!
So, there you go, MUNI. Fresh ideas that you can use, free of charge. Although, I did spend about 30 minutes on this so I think according to MUNI Union rules I now get $80,000 a year. If you need me I’ll be on my 120-minute break.
I have an old PSP that I never play. Since I’m cleaning out stuff around our apartment, I thought it would be a good time to find it a decent home. So I tested it, took some pictures and posted an ad on Craigslist for “$100 or best offer.”
What followed was a couple weeks of nightmare-inducing email exchanges from people who managed to find a myriad of reasons that I was satan himself for not agreeing to GIVE them the PSP, not to mention drive it to them personally for distances ranging from San Jose to Stockton, California. That person offered me $30 for the PSP and said that the $30 should “almost cover the gas to get here and back. Its old so that seems fare (sic).”
I’m trying one more time. This time I’ve started the bidding at $75 OBO, but I’ve made some caveats in the posting.
I’m going to give it a couple of days and see what happens. But most likely it’s just going to get shipped to my nephew for him to play with until he breaks it, which will also be fine.
I had a lot of fun performing at a show called the Sunday Night Funnies in Grand Rapids while in Michigan. If you’re a comic and in the area, definitely stop by. Grand Rapids is where I started doing standup and it’s nice to do a set there and have it go pretty well, leading me to believe I haven’t turned into a total West Coast Commie homo (yet). Here’s the audio, just ‘cuz.
As part of some recent housecleaning, I’ve been finding a ton of old photos. One of my favorites was the above, which was a cast photo from a high school production of “Rumors” that I was in (I’m the giant, far right). Everybody in the cast was very talented and it was a lot of fun.
Of course, my performing life didn’t end there, as about a decade later I finally found my niche in standup, where my true desire of just having only me onstage and me talking would finally be achieved. EVERYBODY SHUT UP, I HAVE STUFF TO SAY.
I’m back from visiting family and friends in Michigan. I also did a set at a show called Sunday Night Funnies, video of which will be available soon since they tape every show for airing on local TV and put it on YouTube. The audience didn’t quite carry me out on their shoulders, but they did give me high-fives when I came offstage and I got lots of “San Fran! You’re a funny dude!” after the show.
Tonight you can catch me at Nightlife On Mars, a great showcase at Murphy’s Pub. It’s free to get in, they have great french fries (always believe a fat guy) and if you’re lucky I’ll have witty anecdotes about the differences between the Midwest and California and air travel.
But please don’t call me “San Fran.”
This is what comedians do instead of hugs. Although San Francisco/Bay Area comics do tend to hug a lot. Thanks to Dash and Samantha, and Joe Gorman can go straight to Hell.
This show is tonight and will be delightful from start to finish. If I’m wrong, I will help you get free shirtless hugs from somebody napping nearby Golden Gate Park. I promise.
This is happening in Grand Rapids, Michigan this Sunday. Lots of fun, giggles and hee-haw’s. Be there!
Seven years ago today, I somehow convinced this woman to stand next to me and be all, “yeah, I’ll marry you.” Little did she know the torment and anguish that would follow. On the plus side, I make a pretty solid breakfast, but still - she got the short end of the stick.
Love you honey!
Tonight in San Francisco - come see me and some other of comedy’s finest and sexiest for FREE at 50 Mason, near Powell St. BART. Plus - FREE PIZZA!!!