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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Day Culture Rolled Into Bernal Heights: Novel Concept for Yellow City Buses -- Riders!

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge You saw it: The last two foreign tourists to be bewildered by the Culture Bus (and not get on). - JIM HERD
  • Jim Herd
  • You saw it: The last two foreign tourists to be bewildered by the Culture Bus (and not get on).
It turns out there are more efficient ways to rob tourists than charge them five times the going rate to ride on the bus. That's what the Municipal Transportation Agency found out via its ill-fated Culture Bus -- which cost $7 at its inception and 10 bucks after the markup. But 10 times zero is still zero (the Culture Bus was boarded by hundreds of riders a day; one MTA survey showed its ridership was only 2.1 percent of the F-Line's).

With Muni cutting costs, the 74-X "Culture" line was nixed over the weekend with Edsel-like fanfare; fittingly SFCitizen snapped a photo of the bus confusing two last foreign tourists. Of course they didn't get on.

It turns out, however, that Muni had novel plans for the pristine yellow buses -- carrying actual riders from Point A to Point B. If you saw a Culture Bus rolling through Bernal Heights or other portions of the city where tourists rarely venture over the weekend, your eyes weren't playing tricks on you. Muni spokesman Judson True reports that the yellow buses were tossed right into the mix on regular routes. 

The sight of yellow Culture Buses heading to the city's hinterlands won' t last, however. As of mid-Monday, all of the vehicles were uncultured; the yellow "wrap" was removed and they are now indistinguishable from other city vehicles.

Perhaps there's a metaphor here. The buses are no longer "cultural." But they are popular.

Photo   |   Jim Herd

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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" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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