I have spent the past couple of months splitting my time between Chicago and San Francisco and while there are many things I will miss from SF there is some craziness to my commute to work that I am not sure if I will miss or being saying good riddance to.

My corporate apartment is in the Marina district, which is a area I had driven through often in the past, generally only stopping occasionally at the Safeway that is now right across the street from me (very convenient when you don’t have access to a car). And that is where the commute story comes in. Without a car, I needed to find the best bus route to get to and from work as taking a cab every day would just get too expensive. So I headed off to the iPhone app store and found a few candidates, one which I rely on greatly and would highly recommend (which apparently also has an Android version). Apps in hand, I found that the 30x express would best suit my needs.

What the app didn’t tell me was how popular this route is. In the morning, the busses are only a few minutes apart, yet they are often “standing room only”, and sometimes “no room at the inn” by the time they get to my stop. Therein begins the craziness.

The standard mode of operation of riders, which now includes myself, is to arrive at the stop and look down the street to see if a bus in within a couple blocks. If so, then one waits and hopes there is room. If not, one starts walking toward where the busess are coming from, yes in the opposite direction of downtown, to the next bus stop, generally one block away. And the procedure repeats, but generally a bus is too close by then to walk another block. Of course, if after all that, there is no room on the bus that approaches, one walks to the next stop before the next stop and starts the whole procedure again.

I know it seems crazy, and sometimes after the walk the bus one alights does wind up stopping at the original stop, but not always. And on occasion when I haven’t played the game I have been left standing on my corner as the bus drives past without stopping.

Crazy, right? Well, yes and no. It is great that so many people are not driving that busses running every 2-3 minutes are packed. But can they run more often? Can some start mid-route to make sure those at the ends of the routes get served? Can larger busses be used? How does one get this feedback to Muni?

Enough of the commute comedy, on to some of the things that I will miss as I stop making regular trips to San Francisco, at least for now:

  • OK, so the commute reappears, despite all of the above, it does take me a half hour or less to get to work (not counting the days I fly)
  • Being lulled to sleep by the sound of the fog horns in the Bay
  • A grocery store across the street
  • A ton of great restaurants within walking distance
  • Yoga studios within walking distance
  • Yoga in Golden Gate Park
  • Opportunities to attend Girl Geek Dinners, well at least to enter the lottery, hoping that if I had stayed I would get to go to one
  • Awesome weather
  • Being a short 2-hour drive away from my nieces
  • The sound of cables running underneath the street

Of course there are a few things that I won’t miss as well

  • The flights, although I could still have something similar where ever I go next
  • Only have about 5 TV channels (and a very tiny TV)
  • Boring, and slightly uncomfortable corporate apartment furniture
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