I ride MUNI maybe 3-4 times per month. Each time the same thoughts crop up:
1) Why don't we cut the number of stops by 2/3 (except up steep hills) and get speeds up, costs down, and more riders who will pay for this kind of European city type of transit? No other city I've visited or lived in has SF's stop every or every other block system.
2) Why do current MUNI riders put up with such a lumbering ride across town -- over an hour from beach to bay -- and more if one needs to transfer? Are riders inured to the inefficient use of their time by MUNI, and simply don't know how much better it could be?
3) Why are MUNI drivers often so unfriendly? No reply is the most common response to a customer's hello or thank you at the end of a ride. Surely it is not because they are not well paid or because they lack benefits, sick pay, etc. Muni drivers could be the agents of civic pride, competence, etc. Instead, they are often surly.
In any case, I actively avoid MUNI, preferring a bike, walking, taxis, driving, electric bikes, really any means I can to get places without the time wasted and unpleasantness of the MUNI system. Yet every foreign city I've lived in I've used public transit every day and liked it. Something is truly wrong here.
In any case, thank you Mr. Eskenazi for the courage to say what needs to be said. You could not be more right -- giving free rides to all persons under 18 regardless of ability to pay or importance of their trip (school vs hanging out) is just stupid when the current system does not already serve citizens willing to pay for something better and different.