Muni Fail

This is an absolutely true story. This happened to me in February.

With a $20 bill clutched in my hand, I tried to enter the Muni station at Embarcadero. My money was no good.

I asked the station agent behind the glass how I could catch a train. She told me to drop $1.50 in coins into the turnstile. I thought for a moment, searching my mind’s wallet. I dug through my leather wallet and pulled out a crisp ATM yuppie food stamp. A sullen expression fell across her face. She was obviously troubled by her predicament. And I could tell she knew it wouldn’t end well.

She shook her head “No”, pointed and told me through the glass, “Go over there and press ‘H’ and you can change for a ONE dollar bill.” Go where? H? But I don’t have a… her eyes pierced me with sadness. She felt my pain. She knew.

We broke eye contact and I turned to face my task.

Ok let me just cut to the chase here. Muni has no way to make change. The BART machines she was pointing me to don’t let me make change for a $20 without me buying a BART ticket. So I ended up having to buy a $3.00 BART ticket to get change for the other machine, which could give me quarters for change.

That’s dumb.

One Comment

  1. Alexis says:

    This happened to me recently! The situation is really ridiculous. Really, really ridiculous.

    I do believe I found a machine to make paper change (was it four $5 bills?) from my $20 bill, then took a $5 to the machine that gave me five fake-looking $1 coins. And then was ready to overpay by $0.50, but the change-accepting slot in the turnstile was shut. But then there was a guy there offering me a Fast Pass from the previous month (still valid for another day, as this was the 2nd of the month), so I shoved some of the dollar coins in his hand and moved on.

    So it would appear that the system is this: Make it difficult to get change to pay for Muni Metro. Make it impossible to use that change. Hope that a sketchy guy is hanging out slinging stolen or otherwise dubiously obtained transit pass.

    The only reasonable solution is to stock up on token coupon booklets. I buy them at Montgomery Station, but I’ve also bought them at Rossi’s Deli on Castro across from the theater. That way you get a bonus deviled egg. Or some dolma.

    When you start using them, I can give you my FULL-ON rant on that subject.


Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" or "https://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.