I rode MUNI three times today.

Was I asked to pay?

Morning Rush Hour:

Right before where I would hop on the antique trolley for my ride to work, there was a very minor fender bender.  I guess.

There was this yuppie chick with a brand new something SUV.  It looked like a pricy, compactish SUV.  Someone else in a not so nice car must have nudged her. When I get to the street, here’s these two cars, right on top of the rail line.  And this self-righteous yuppie chick, all in black, is in the middle of the street looking put upon.  There’s her car, blocking traffic.  There’s another car, bloking another half a lane.  The cars are not touching.  I have no idea what happened, but there’s no damage to her car.  I looked.  And she’s all pissed-offedly exchanging insurance information in the middle of the road.  Of course, she’s alone in her SUV (three people in the other vehicle, FWIW).

Fifty yards down the road, there’s my trolley.  It can’t go anywhere.  After about five minutes, everyone gets off the trolley and people filter down to where I’m waiting.  Not sure where they think they’re going, but there you are.

After about another two minutes, yupster  finally huffily pulls away.  The trolley comes down; the operator opens the doors and annonces everyone’s free.

So, that one’s iffy.  I wasn’t asked to pay.  The driver made a generous gesture at city, state , and federal taxpayer expense to make up for the inconvenience of having to wait an extra ten minutes.

Afternoon Rush Hour:I happened to ride a cable car today.  I was going to the west part of the city on an errand so I rode the California Street line out past an apartment I used to live in…  Different times…  But I digress.  I was on the telephone almost the entire time (my daily evening powwow with Rabid), riding on the step and hanging on to the pole with my crooked arm (dang, you’d think those things would be huge liability traps…  No one asked me to sign anything…).

I had read something earlier on Wikipedia that said…

 In mid-April 2007, the San Francisco auditor’s office is saying that the City and County of San Francisco is not receiving their expected revenue from cable cars. It is estimated that about 40 percent of cable car riders ride for free. The possible reason for the 40 percent of free riders is because conductors have been too busy operating the cars.

I was musing while I read this that the conductors probably mainly charge the tourists.  I don’t know why I felt that way since two weeks ago, the first (and last) time this visit that I had tried to get on a cable car, the conductor looked at my weekly FastPass and asked for the dollar.  As it turns out, I did not have a dollar on me (or thought I didn’t; it turned out later I had overlooked a dollar in my pocket) and got off without riding.

Also; regarding the conductor being too busy operating the cars?  No.  There are two staff persons on the cable cars; a gripman and a conductor.  The gripman operates the car.  The conductor takes money.

Anyway, despite my hanging on the outside of the car with a phone glued to my ear and generally (IMHO) not looking like a tourist, the conductor sought me out and was going to charge me a dollar based on my expired last week’s FastPass.  I got out of that by producing my May monthly FastPass.

So, that’s a sorta.  I mean, the conductor made sure I had some form of payment (albeit expired) and asked me to pay the difference.

Somewhat Later:

I finished my errand and went home.  My walking route took me through part of Golden Gate Park, across Hippie Hill, and down the Haight.  Old habits, maybe; my first neighborhood was at Hayes & Stanyan.

I stopped at a particular Irish pub where my reading was interrupted by lots of people yelling about something happening on television sets.  People wearing colored clothing running up and down on some wooden platform or stage, throwing some spherical object.  It seemed rather dull to be yelling about and my Guiness experience wasn’t what it might have been had I been able to read in peace.

Then I walked down the street and hopped on a bus for home.

About ten other people got on as I did.  Most of them used transfers.  No one paid cash.  For my part, I held my wallet partially opened in a manner that ensured that the bus driver could not see the expired weekly pass inside.  I pretended to wave it at the bus driver who pretended to look at it.  The bus driver thanked me.

That, I’d have to say, is a no.

So; three MUNI rides today.  No real attempt for payment twice.  Asked to pay $1 difference between an expired card and posted fare; once.