Posts Tagged ‘municipal transit agency’

MUNI’s Pathetic San Francisco CultureBus Gets Mocked on Its Final Run

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

A kind of black celebration was held in Golden Gate Park this afternoon to mark the end of the MUNI’s San Francisco CultureBus.

See the death throes of CB via Steve Rhodes, Whole Wheat Toast, Plug1, Octoferret, MattyMatt, SftaJan, AgentAkit, and Jamison

Who showed up? Transit fans and local online royalty. Click to expand:

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This 74-X couldn’t leave without baffling its last pair of tourists. They didn’t get on. Surprised?

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All that was left was the filled-in pole hole that used to mark the CB bus stop:

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Yes, the 74X is terminal. It’s dead, Jim

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Here’s one last glimpse through the famous see-through bus: 

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Perhaps these brand new buses and their friendly drivers will soon be put to better use, just in time for the possible BART strike.

We Can Only Hope.

Who’s Responsible for the Failure of MUNI’s CultureBus?

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Today will see the last run of the San Francisco CultureBus (or “Culture Bus,” some people call it that). Yes, they’re “taking Old Yeller out back to shoot it and put it out of its misery.” But once you have a carcass, you need to find someone to take the blame for the FAIL. So, around whose neck should this screaming yellow albatross go?

The answer in MUNI chief Nat Ford. But not for the reason you might think.

“Is it he?” quoth one, “Is this the man?”
by him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless CultureBus.

Nat Ford is the Ancient Mariner:

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Watchet, Somerset, England. Via Adrian Pingstone

Is the source of the idea of the CultureBus documented anywhere? Not that I’m aware of. Obviously, the whole program was highly redolent of the New York City “Culture Bus” that ran from 1973 to 1982, but who had the idea to revive CB here in San Francisco? Perhaps it doesn’t really matter.

Whether or not the CultureBus concept was forced upon MUNI, doesn’t MUNI have the right and obligation to tinker with the idea? Did MUNI do anything to alter the CultureBus program once it became obvious (I’d peg it at early October 2008) that the daily ridership was turning out to be extremely low? I mean something other than spewing the stereotypical platitudes you’d expect them to spew?

Here’s what MUNI did – it cut back service 66% in January and raised prices 43% in July. That’s it. Just how airtight were these unseen agreements made amongst the stakeholders? Nothing could be done? Srsly?

(So, it’s like the Great Helmsman, the Dear Leader appoints you manage the Yangtse River Watershed and then tells you to kill every damned songbird within a 500 mile radius - how would you respond? Here’s what you’d do, you’re a team player right? You’d execute the plan and then wait for millions to die, powerless to alter Fate. And then you’d say boy, that Great Leap Forward, boy, it just didn’t work out.)

Wouldn’t it have been interesting to try something different? Lower the price to $1.50 for the sole purpose of actually moving people about the City in light of the circumstances? Or just trying anything except the same old same old, month after month?

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Oh well.

So there’s your albatross, Nat. 

But that’s why you get paid the big bucks.

And as for you CultureBus, your pain is over, boy. Soon the Twitter birds will descend to lift you to Heaven.

Sleep! It is a gentle thing:

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(In Elysium, there’ll be plenty of diesel and you’ll always be full of happy passengers.)

Good night, sweet CultureBus.

The Fullest CultureBus Seen in a Good Long While

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Here it is, the fullest CultureBus seen on the Streets of San Francisco since debut weekend back in September 2008.

Upwards of eight blond(e) Euro-types could be seen through the tinted windows.

Click to expand:

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Perhaps its the Tut Effect.

Who knows?

Tourists Continue to be Baffled by MUNI’s Culturebus

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Look at this sad scene from Golden Gate Park yesterday. See all these people? They’ve been patiently waiting out in front of the California Academy of Sciences since just after the closing time of 5:00 P.M. The problem is that 5:00 P.M. is when the last Culturebus departs for the day.

However, los turistas don’t know that. I told some of them about the 44 O’Shaughnessy but that didn’t tempt them. They sort of knew about the 5 Fulton, but the closest stop is about 1000 feet away. The $7 fare - news of that is what it took to drive the bulk of them away from this bus stop. 

The Euro-looking family held out hope as they could see a CB stopped at the other end of the Music Concourse but, for some odd reason, the schedule is set up to deliver people to the Cal Academy 40 minutes after closing time – it doesn’t accommodate anybody wanting to depart Golden Gate Park after 5:00 PM.  

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The poor devils, they’d be better off hailing a cab, if they could find one. Click to expand.

Now if I were a “courteous CultureBus operator” I’d feel obligated to take these people wherever they wanted to go in Union Square irregardless of the schedule. But that’s just me.

Could somebody put up “Fare: $7, last pickup at 5:00 PM” on this CultureBus bus stop sign?

Is that too much to ask?

This CultureBus – Totally Empty or Not? Plus, A Modest Proposal

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Ah yes, Culturebus 74-X. First, the Proposal. Since it’s dying anyway come September, couldn’t the SFMTA just reduce the price down to $1.50 and have people actually ride the thing? Why not?

Wouldn’t you agree, Nat, that the CB’s $7 charge puts it on the right side of the Laffer Curve? Would lowering the price actually increase revenue? I say yes. Here I stand, I can do no other.

Are the relevant contracts and agreements etched in stone or something, forever unchangeable? What do we have to lose by lowering the price?

Second, come play CultureBus – Totally Empty or Not? Let’s get started.

Take a gander. It certainly looks pretty empty. How many souls aboard? Go ahead, click to expand.

Surprise! Kilroy is here. Part of what made CultureBus a laughingstock was all the reports of totally empty, see-through buses, but some of them might actually have had paying passengers. Riders generally tend to cluster in the same spot and it’s hard to see their heads popping up from the low-rise floor.

Still don’t know who was behind San Francisco CultureBus 2008-2009. Oh well.

Come sempre, la vittoria trova cento padri, e nessuno vuole riconoscere l’insuccesso.

John Avalos, the Pied Piper of Polk Street – $15 million MTA Transit Justice Package

Monday, May 18th, 2009

110 souls were at this afternoon’s rally at the steps of San Francisco City Hall in support of the $15 million MTA Transit Justice Package from Supervisor John Avalos. Also on hand were Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and David Campos.

Read all about it here at SF FYI Net and the SFWeekly.

The mise-en-scene. Click to expand:

“Free MUNI for ALL. Make the Banks and Corporations Pay.”

Leah Shahum of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition:

And then John Avalos marched on down to Van Ness and Market to go see MTA Director Nat Ford. Read all about it from Joe Eskenazi

And its whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason.

Supervisor Avalos on the right with supporters and reporters in tow at Van Ness and Abbey Road:

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.