SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Taking public transit can try your patience in San Francisco, especially when your Muni driver takes a break at the worst possible time.
Talk to any regular Muni rider, and you’ll probably hear some complaint about service.READ MORE: Fire Destroys Abandoned Building In San Jose Alviso Area
“Sometimes drivers are on their break, it’s pouring rain, and they won’t let you in,” said San Francisco resident Max Mallard. “They say, ‘I’ve still got five more minutes.’ They just don’t care.”
Union rules about breaks are very specific, and sometimes it’s up to individual drivers.
“Somebody actually stopped and said, ‘Taking a break,’ got off, went into the market and got a drink, or maybe used the bathroom. I don’t know,” said San Francisco’s Jesse McGrew.READ MORE: Oakland City Council Votes to Defund Police, Stripping More Than $17M from Department Budget
Bathroom breaks in the middle of a run have been negotiated into their contract. But sometimes those breaks can be abused.
There was one case when a driver on the 9 line stopped, got out, went into a McDonalds, had dinner and came back 20 minutes later as passengers waiting inside the bus.
Muni spokesman Paul Rose told KPIX 5 there have been complaints, so the agency is taking a hard look at such breaks using video from the buses.
“It’s very rare. It’s only done by a small amount of operators,” said Rose. “There’s another operator, got out of a full bus, to use a cell phone, while the passengers were on the bus, watching him on the phone. And that’s not an appropriate stop,” Rose said.MORE NEWS: 165 Pounds Of Fireworks Seized, Man Arrested In Oakland Crackdown
Drivers we tried to talk with either didn’t know, or didn’t want to talk about it. Rose said Muni has identified 10 operators who abuse the system out of 2,200 drivers, but so far no action has been taken.