The Examiner reports a Muni bus hit a pedestrian Monday evening bringing the total number of “pedestrian incidents” to 20 since the start of Muni’s fiscal year on July 1.
20 incidents? Why so many? Is this excessive? Yes. Is this Muni’s fault? Yes. What causes this? Poor management and overzealous union agreements.
Muni operates a total of 1,000 vehicles during limited hours of the day. For comparison, there are 1,500 taxis in the City operating 24 hours per day. I could not find any report of pedestrians being struck by taxicabs since July 1. The most recent taxi/pedestrian incident (that I could find via Google) was in April, but the struck lady was okay in the end.
Here’s the key difference: When a bus driver hits a pedestrian, he or she continues to be paid. When a taxi driver hits a pedestrian he or she is out of a job.
Muni drivers involved in incidents such as these are shifted to ‘nondriving status‘ during the investigation. Most investigations show it was the pedestrian’s fault and the driver keeps working. The transport worker union has fought to make it onerous and slow for Muni to fire people. This is bad.
As a taxi driver, you stop working for a while, WITHOUT PAY, if you hit someone in your cab. Even if you’re not at fault, you will probably not continue driving unless your cab company is desperate for drivers. Most are not.
Driving a bus is a difficult task. A bus is an unwieldy box with horrible acceleration and braking abilities. This is not an easy job. I respect that.
But, I don’t respect a management system without effective punishment for pedestrian incidents. This management policy breeds a lackadaisical attitude.
In most cases, hitting a pedestrian should be “game over”, not a “time out”.
Just last week my boss found his car’s side badly scraped (with black marks at the same height as the black rubber strips the buses have, hmmm…) and his rear view mirror knocked off and hanging by a wire. He was parked right next to a bus stop. Reaching the obvious conclusion, he called the Muni people and they basically said if he can’t prove it then it’s not their problem. Hit and runs aren’t vehicular homicide, but still…
Your boss should have called the police and filed a hit and run report. Even if there isn’t proof, someone will file the statistic somewhere and there’s a chance that it would turn up on some report somewhere and cause trouble for someone at Muni, especially when the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. Plus, they might be able to track down which bus did it by examining the schedule. Or he could play dick tracy and do a stakeout to see if a bus comes by with paint from his car on it. Government tries to make it not their problem by puffing and acting like they’re too big to bother, but the reality is that individuals will eventually be held responsible if they’re causing trouble, but unless someone complains, nothing will be done.
PS do you think the King will show up to the deceased’s family to try and give them some Whoppers to ease the pain? I can’t imagine that Burger King wants their flame broiled beef associated with death and dismemberment to the tune of 20 deaths this year.
That sucks about your boss’ car, Steve. Every once and a while I’ll see the first or last parked car on a block smashed like a truck or bus did a hit and run. I would hate to come home to Victor and see him all smashed up.
Bob, it would be awesome if the King showed up to the funeral with armfuls of Whoppers. Mmmm…
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