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Friday, April 24, 2009

So You've Puked on Muni. What Penance Can You Serve?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge You can't buy your way out of this guilt, Buddy
  • You can't buy your way out of this guilt, Buddy
It turns out you really can divide the world into two groups of people: Those who are ashamed that they've thrown up on Muni and those who aren't really bothered by it. Let's assume you fit the former category. What can you do to assuage your aching conscience? It turns out that, thanks to that meddler Martin Luther -- who, we hear, never once rode the bus -- you can't simply toss some money down for an indulgence and donate away your guilt.

Muni officials confirmed that there is no fund to benefit those fretting about their Muni misdeeds; the money to pay for the services of roughly 100 car cleaners is drawn from taxes, fares, and fees. In fact, the only place the general public can opt to actually donate money to Muni is via the nonprofit Market Street Railway -- which might be apt if you lost control on an F-Market trolley, but certainly won't go toward keeping the cars clean.

Now that we know what you can -- or can't -- do to pay Muni back for befouling its vehicles, we grew curious how much befouling goes on. And, just as David St. Hubbins noted in Spinal Tap about how "You can't really dust for vomit," Muni officials had difficulty quantifying the stuff. 

Spokeswoman Kristen Holland actually did get back to us when we asked about this. Here's the info:  

"We do not have a way to quantify the gunk left behind. We do, however, keep track of the cleaning we do," she reports. "The following numbers are averages for the number of vehicle cleanings each month -- Interior/Exterior Cleaning: 40,000. Graffiti removal: 8,800."

In addition to vomit, Muni cleanup crews agreed that beer and soda were the most-cleaned fluids. Solid waste -- apart from the obvious reference here -- comprised newspapers (sorry -- then again, no, we're not) and other paper products. Graffiti is removed from buses around 600 times a week.

In an effort to keep Muni clean (and Muni dollars safe -- so other departments can steal them) SF Weekly urges you to "Give a Hoot -- Don't Boot."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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