Muni's "Garbage Bag Bus" Breaks Down

Categories: Public Transit
Joe Eskenazi

Last year, the sad plight of bus No. 5427 served to illustrate Muni's disturbing approach to systemwide maintenance.

Former driver Dorian Maxwell swore that the high voltage wires atop the bus were insulated in garbage bags -- and had been for at least 15 months. "They are still on there now," he said at the time. "I guarantee you that."

They were. On the morning our June story was published revealing a legion of maintenance shortcomings, the bus abruptly pulled to the side of the road. It was subsequently rolled to the Potrero bus yard where a long-overdue $180 part was finally installed atop it.

And now, the ex-Garbage Bag Bus is laid up again.

Garbage Bag Bus juxtaposed.jpg
Joe Eskenazi (top), Christopher MacKechnie / (bottom)
The former state of No. 5427, as compared to a less creatively repaired bus
On Friday evening, the crippled bus sat in the intersection of Fillmore and Waller, less as a means of conveyance than an obstacle. A handful of Muni workers could only say the bus was "broken, broken, broken!" and awaiting a tow.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said Bus 5427 has "a broken driveshaft" -- not a minor impediment. Continues Rose: "We are working to procure a new set of these trolley coaches, which are, on average, 15 years old."

He notes that these aged buses typically "operate on challenging routes with steep grades and heavy ridership."

That doesn't jibe well with the reality of garbage bags being used as insulators on this bus for years at a time. Sigh. Get well soon, No. 5427.

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