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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Driver Doug," Zen Muni Operator, Offers Keys to Transcendent Transit

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

On the 22, you will receive total consciousness... - FRED NOLAND
  • Fred Noland
  • On the 22, you will receive total consciousness...

Passengers on an electric Muni bus -- and readers of today's SF Weekly -- may already be familiar with Douglas "Driver Doug" Griggs.

The zen bus driver distilled his 15 years of experiencing life, the Muniverse, and everything into a book -- The Dao of Doug: The Art of Driving a Bus. Within he shares, in intricate detail, the travails of motoring a breakdown-prone vehicle throughout our city and his coping mechanisms for dealing with the hilarity that ensues.

He also has plenty of advice for Muni passengers along for the ride.

See Also: Traffic Koan -- Meet "Driver Doug" Griggs

Here are the pronouncements we included in our print article:

• If tagging your Clipper Card results in a BLOOP BLEEP noise instead of the regular BLEEP, you've just used up your last dollars. Plan accordingly.

• For a more harmonious Muni experience, be sure to shake off your soaking umbrellas and coats before boarding. Wet passengers lead to wet seats -- and, via a process not unlike transubstantiation, any liquid spilled on a Muni seat becomes urine. Also, wet riders cause dangerously foggy buses.

• Avoid electric buses during high winds. Avoid electric buses during rainstorms. Avoid electric buses when temperatures exceed 80 degrees: Carbon buildup on sensitive components causes them to overheat. Avoid electric buses on the day after a rainstorm: Graphite dust has been washed off the wires, leading to excess friction and "dewirements."

And here are some more:

• You are far more likely to have a bus drive past you if you

wait at a tiny stop than a major stop on the same side of the

intersection as a red light. Drivers often skip stops when their buses are packed, so it's optimal to wait where passengers are likely to get off.

• Even if you've been waiting too damn long, think about waiting a

bit for the next bus when a packed coach pulls up. Fuller buses, Griggs

attests, are far more likely to go out of service due to

overloading-induced failures or altercations breaking out on board.

• A bus driver's field of vision is

remarkably abridged - and dressing like Johnny Cash makes it hard for

her to see you. Drivers aren't necessarily being rude by not slowing for you as you run alongside; they just cant' see you. If you don't flag down a bus -- with Clipper card or fare in hand, while not smoking or chatting on your phone -- a block in advance, you may be out of luck.

• Stepping off the curb before the coach has stopped

moving is a wretched idea. And not very Zen.

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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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