Sometimes there IS a benefit to working at home, as I don’t have to commute downtown like I do in the fall…but it does make me miss out on what apparently was some MUNI holy Hell this morning…I’ve got a stack of emails asking me “WTF?” and the MUNI TroubleAlert indicated not a single problem (aside from what seems to be a recurring problem with Cable Cars as of late).
So! Share the pain in the comments….
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i like the N. having lived in various cities and various parts of this city, i have found the N to be one of the best and most reliable routes. i am usually the first to defend the N.
that said, today was a complete and utter clusterfuck and made me want to move downtown so i no longer have to deal with this mess.
this morning i woke up late and figured that on the eve of a holiday weekend at 9AM getting downtown would be a breeze. i walk down to 19th and Judah and see lots of people waiting and no train in site. so i walk down to 22nd and Judah hoping to catch a 71.
after ten or fifteen minutes, a 71 comes down and it is too packed to get on. ten minutes after that a shuttle comes down the N tracks and is too packed to get on. finally a second shuttle arrives and i manage to get on. by 10:30 i am downtown; i figure these little glitches are part of life.
things at work are slow and my boss didn’t even show up; elated, i decide to leave at 3. approximately 3:05 i step on the 2nd car of the train at 2nd and King. waiting to get into the embarcadero tunnel the driver announces ‘there is a problem with this train, an expediter will be here soon.’
the lack of communication is probably the most infuriating part of this situation. what kind of problem? will the train still run? can we get off? what is an expediter and what will he/she do for us?
after ten minutes there a MUNI worker gets on our car and starts running back and forth between conductor seats. i ask to get off and he tells me we can’t. i ask when we will be moving and he doesn’t respond. i spend the next 20 minutes mischievously eying the emergency exit hatches.
finally the two cars are separated and we move into the tunnel. i assume the riders of the first car were told to disembark and get onto our car at Embarcadero; we are moving slow now and packed, but at least we are moving.
one block past Church and Duboce our new driver announces ‘there is a problem with this train, i will open the doors and you can get off if you want. you are welcome to stay, we are waiting for a technician.’
the doors open and about a third of the passengers step off of the packed train. 4 or 5 minutes later, with no technician nor an explanation, the train starts moving again; much to the chagrin of those who disembarked. the driver then announces that the last stop would be Stanyan.
at Stanyan i consider walking home, but instead join everyone else and pack into the next train.
finally at 4:45 i arrive at 19th and judah. 1 hour and 45 minutes. i have spent a considerable amount of my day on the N today.
i think the most frustrating part of this is the lack of communication or accountability. why can’t the drivers explain what’s going on? why is it some big MUNI secret anytime there is a delay?
hey Alex, thanks for the info…as I stated earlier I was at home all day today so I missed the “fun.” Heading out tonight to a party, but a bit worried how I’m gonna get there if the N (and now I hear the 71) are having drama…
Wow. Alex’s day was even worse than mine. Poor guy!
It looks like they were working on the N Judah 9th and Judah and 9th and Irving stuff ALL DAY today. When I left for jury duty at 9 AM, the next N was 31 minutes, so I took the 6 down there. But there were guys at 9th and Irving and 9th and Judah both. When I got home on the N at 5:10 PM from jury duty there were STILL guys there, one wired into the control boxes with a laptop. So, my guess is that the entire thing is based on that. I have picture of the brand new functioning pedestrian crosswalk signal sign at the 400 block of Judah sign (that’s at 9th and Judah) if you want one. I have another of the guy sitting at the little table next to Formerly Happy Donut Now Donut World™ if you want that. Just email me.
Speaking of lack of communication communication. Anyone experienced the N operator that calls out outer Sunset stops in Chinese? I assume he’s calling out stops, since I don’t understand the language.
That said, perhaps I should simply be grateful for an N operator calling out a stop, no matter what language it’s in.
Hmm. I took the N to Caltrain at around 10:30AM Friday and it was a completely routine trip. Caltrain, however, had apparently been the site of a “police action” (a phrase that strikes as much fear into the hearts of commuters as does “multi-vehicle injury accident”). However, *that* was also over by the time I arrived at Caltrain, with the net result that my train left “early” (because it was an earlier train that had been delayed by most of an hour), and, all around, my trip went very smoothly. Who knew.
Poor tango, he’d know all about shuttles if he’d been around for last spring on the N.
My favorite story about trouble in MuniLand goes back 40 years. I was visiting from Southern Calif. and had secured a release form at the old Geneva Barn office so I could visit Geneva and Elkton Shops. I parlayed this into visits to Turk St. Sub and Central Control in the Geary St. barn. The night before I had seen a welding crew at work on Powell St.
I asked the foreman what was happening and he said, “Burning a slot blade”. (if anyone is not familiar with cable car terminology, the “slot blade” is a steel wedge that can be jammed into the cable slot if all else fails to stop the car. It’s operated by the big red lever next to the grip and track brake levers, and is only used as a last resort.) Anyway, I commented to the dispatcher, “You had a little trouble with the cable cars last night.” And he replied, “We’re ALWAYS having trouble with those damn things! They oughta push every one of them into the Bay!!” More than likely that DS is long since retired, but the cable cars keep rolling along.