Tag Archives: transportation

Electric Scooter Invasion

San Francisco was recently bombarded by three electric scooter rental companies. Literally thousands of scooters have been dumped all over the city. You either love them or hate them, and some people really do hate them. I’ve seen pictures in the news of scooters that have been tossed in trees, thrown into the bay, stuffed into garbage cans, left toppled over, have had cords cut, have had QR codes removed to render them useless, and shat on. Like people have actually pooped on them. Electric scooter rentals are a new thing so a lot of the users are riding them on sidewalks, endangering pedestrians and dogs out on walks. They leave them parked in random spots, blocking the way for disabled people. They have been decried as a public nuisance.

But the scooters are a great alternative form of transportation in the city. It’s cheaper than a Lyft or Uber for short distances. There’s not much polluting involved. And it’s a fun way of getting from Point A to Point B. My friend started riding them about a week ago, he made a good enough sales pitch for me to download Bird and LimeBike. The apps sat dormant for a few days until tonight. I had to transfer buses on the way home and the next bus was sixteen minutes away. So I got pissed and jumped on my skateboard towards home. I passed by a LimeBike scooter and I took that as a sign to try new things. I jumped off my board and opened the LimeBike app. It accessed my camera and asked me to scan the QR code. I did. Then it asked me to activate the scooter by paying with ApplePay. I pressed my thumb on the sensor and the scooter came to life. It was that easy. There was a safety light in the back and a little headlight in the front. It wasn’t bright enough to see where you’re going, but it’s enough to keep cars from slamming into you. There was a speedometer that told me I was going about fifteen miles per hour. It took less than a minute to get used to the scooter. I was able to drive it with my longboard hanging from my left arm, a bag of groceries on my right shoulder, and my backpack of work stuff without any problems. I was able to go about a mile in eight minutes and it only cost me $1.20. Maybe there was a promotion or coupon added automatically but it was totally worth it. I’ll ride an electric scooter again. I encourage you to ride one too.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Wearing Scrubs on Public Transportation 

 I rely on public transportation to get around the city. I try to be aware of my surroundings and I’ve noticed a lot of hospital workers wearing their scrubs on the bus or train. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Wikipedia defines scrubs as the sanitary clothing worn by surgeons, nurses, physicians, and other workers involved in patient care in hospitals. The key word is sanitary, and I don’t think wearing scrubs on public transportation is sanitary. The subway isn’t exactly renowned for its cleanly conditions. Scrubs are supposed to be sterile to keep germs and infections from spreading to vulnerable patients. Wearing them on the bus seems to violate that cardinal rule. You trust healthcare workers to be clean. Seeing them rub shoulders with homeless people on public transportation is pretty disheartening. It should be illegal. Write your congressman and voice your complaints if you feel the same way. Maybe someone can start a petition to outlaw the practice. I’m too lazy to take the initiative but I’ll gladly sign my name to the cause.
 Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Living Across Town

I work in San Francisco’s number one tourist trap, Pier 39. It’s a cool spot. There are a lot of restaurants and shops, the weather is pretty decent, there are sea lions, and there are tons of things to see and do. The only problem with working there is that I live across town. Living across town is kind of a big deal. When I get out of work, I only have two options: I either go out or I go straight home. I live so far away that I don’t have time to go home and change if I want to go out. It takes me an hour or more to get home via a combination of public transportation and skateboarding, and another hour or so to come back out. It’s not worth it to go home and change, and that means I end up taking my work stuff in my backpack and lugging my skateboard around all night.

There are benefits to living across town. You have to sacrifice a few perks of downtown living, which isn’t hard to do. Living across town generally means that it’s quieter. Parking is more abundant. There is more nature, more parks, and more stuff to do outside. It’s easier to have dogs, cats, or kids. It’s just a bitch to take a cab, Lyft, or Uber home when you live across town. It’s more expensive and the driver is reluctant to take you there. You live on the other side of the city, you can’t blame them for hating you. Your best bet is to share a ride with other people who live across town. Not everyone lives out in the boonies though. Living across town isn’t for everyone.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Teleportation

Teleportation seems like it would be an awesome superpower or technological advantage. Going from Point A to Point B without moving between the physical space would save you a lot of time. When you’re done with work you can teleport straight home and avoid the shitty commute. You could travel anywhere in the world instantly and avoid paying excessive airline fees. Seems like there are a lot of perks to teleporting until you realize the truth. When you teleport you’re rearranging atoms and molecules to recreate your own in a different place. You’re basically cloning yourself into a new location and destroying your original self in the process. The clone looks just like you, has all your memories and personality traits, and thinks that it is you. But it’s not you. It’s an imposter. You killed yourself when you teleported. Suicide shouldn’t be a viable form of transportation.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Turbulence

I’m not scared of flying, but I’m not much of a fan of turbulence. I know that planes want to be in the air, that they are designed to deal with sudden dips and drops and violent shakes, but it’s still pretty unsettling to know that you will plummet to your death if the wing rips off. All you can do is to try not to spill your drink or think about dying in a horrifying crash. And on that note, I don’t think that floatation devices under the seat are particularly helpful either. My last flight was from San Francisco to Las Vegas. I noticed that there aren’t too many places to execute an emergency water landing when you’re flying over the desert. I’d prefer a parachute under my seat instead. At least give me a fucking chance to survive. Flying is statistically the safest way to travel. But turbulence can still make you fall out of the sky.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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An Efficient Cab Driver

I live in the Sunset District of San Francisco and that means that cab drivers hate me. I live too far away and it’s not profitable for them to take me all the way out there. But they have to take me because it’s the law and I don’t take any bullshit. That’s when you seen an angry and bitter cabbie show off his driving skills. He switches lanes and maneuvers around cars with graceful ease. He screeches to a halt at stop signs at the last possible moment, and guns the engine after the briefest of moments. He starts mumbling and groaning and tapping his hands on the steering wheel when he gets stuck at a red light and then he floors it a half second before the light changes to green. An efficient cab driver is like a machine; he’s all about getting the job down as quickly and with as much precision as possible. Every second matters and he wastes absolutely no time in getting you from Point A to Point B as fast as he can. Don’t confuse an efficient cab driver with a rude driver; he’s just trying to get another fare as soon as he’s able to. It’s all about the turn and burn.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pedicab

A pedicab is a pedal-powered taxicab. It looks like a giant tricycle with a couch in the back. It’s a green and clean form of transportation, but your speed is entirely dependent on how in shape your driver is and how many people you have crammed into the pedicab. You’ll see two couples snuggling in the back of the cab as the wheezing driver struggles to obtain a speed faster than 10 miles per hour. You can walk faster than most of them. You usually find pedicabs in groups of three or more waiting outside of tourist attractions in major cities, desperately hollering at people, begging for their business. I’m convinced that the pedicab industry is based entirely on pity. No self-respecting local would be caught dead in one. They are for tourists who are tired of walking and are too cheap to take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. I like the zero-emission concept, but there should be a way to make being green less embarrassing.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Muni

Muni is the nickname for the San Francisco Municipal Railway, the public transportation system for San Francisco. It sucks. It can’t run on time. They say your train is three minutes away, two minutes away, a minute away, arriving… but then there’s no train and then it says its coming in three minutes, two minutes, a minute, arriving, and then that one disappears too. That’s not bad service. That’s fucking lying. You said the train was coming and it didn’t. It’s like that friend who said he would give you a ride to work and then he doesn’t show up when he said he would, so you call him and he says that he’s five minutes away. Five minutes come and go and so you call him so see how far away he is, and he tells you he’ll be there in five minutes. And those five minutes comes and goes, and then another five minutes, and you call him again and he says that he’s four minutes away. And you don’t believe him, but you have to wait for him because he’s your ride. Muni is that asshole friend that has no concept of time.

Wikipedia says that Muni is the 7th largest fleet in the US and is dead last in commute time. That’s not something to be proud of. When your average speed is only 8.1 mph and the city you serve is only 7 miles by 7 miles, you’ve pretty much failed. Muni sucks because it is unreliable and it treats their customers like they are scum. One time I missed the last bus to my house but they refused to give me back my two dollars. They can’t just refund your money; you have to fill out paper work. That’s the exact opposite of customer service. If you pay for a service and they don’t deliver, you shouldn’t have to pay. Muni is like a vampire, it will suck you dry. First they take your soul, then they take your money. The best way to fix Muni? Make the people that run it have to rely on it. Then marvel as the shit finally runs on time.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Honking to Pick Up Your Passenger

Hey Mr. Asshole Driver, it’s awesome that you’re being green and saving the planet by carpooling but there’s no need to announce your arrival by honking excessively. Especially at 7:00 in the morning. There’s no excuse to wake up the whole neighborhood just because your passenger isn’t waiting curbside. You can always ring their doorbell or call/text them to tell them to come outside. That’s what normal people do: practice common courtesy. Besides, if you can afford a car you can afford a phone. Fucking use it and lay off the horn.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Riding Backward on Public Transportation

Riding backward on public transportation makes some people nauseous. Some people can only face the front when they are the bus or train. And that works fine for me. Anyone that can’t handle riding backward on public transportation is a friend of mine. They are less competition. They can only sit in half the seats and that means twice as much seating is available for me. I wish I could feign sympathy, but I secretly relish the fact that you get dizzy facing the opposite direction. I must be a better person than you if I can sit in more places, right?

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Talking on the Phone in the Subway

Having a long conversation on the phone in public is enough to make everyone hate you, but talking on the phone in the subway is just plain stupid. The other day I was in the underground station waiting for my train. There was a stupid bitch yakking away on her phone standing behind me. The train approached and we both got on, she just kept on chatting away as the door closed and the train started to move. Then her phone cut out because that’s what happens when you’re in a tunnel. I enjoyed the temporary reprieve from her annoying voice, but then she called her friend back at the next station. We were still underground and we had three more stops to go before we hit street level. So she had a twenty-seven second conversation before the doors closed, the train started moving, and her phone got cut off again. And then she called back at the next station, apologized for losing reception because she’s in the subway, and promptly got cut off when the train started moving again. She let out an impatient sigh, like it was the train’s fault for her being an idiot. I know that she’s an idiot because she called back at every station. It’s truly remarkable how people like that exist. And holy shit, there are a lot of people like that. I can’t wait for the zombie apocalypse.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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XFASLNR

This is a true story involving road rage and a customized license plate. I was a senior in high school and I was driving home on the freeway, my friend was in the front seat, and Tom Petty was on the stereo. We saw a red pickup truck with a customized plate that said “XFASLNR.” We spent a few minutes debating and deciding what XFASLNR meant. Extra Falsener? Is that something? We gave up and drove past the truck and as we did, my friend made a funny face at the red truck. He didn’t flip him off, or scowl at him. I think he stuck out his tongue and waved his fingers like a five-year-old taunting his crush on the playground.

That was enough to make XFASLNR declare war. He instantly floored it, cut me off, and slammed on his brakes. I used my ninja reflexes to dart into the other lane. I didn’t even have time to flip him off before he tried to cut me off again. And again and again. He would veer into my lane; he would speed up behind me and try to tap my bumper, he would try to run me off the road. I wasn’t close to home either. He chased me for a few miles before I finally got to my exit and made my escape. We considered ourselves lucky and the matter closed.

A year and a half went by and I was now in my second year of college. I went to my buddy Cody’s house and there was a red pickup truck in his driveway with the license plate XFASLNR. I had a flashback to my near-death experience and ran into to Cody’s house and demanded answers. A mutual friend who was from the same hometown was sitting in the living room admitted that the truck was his dad’s. I told him the whole story of being chased halfway across the county. He told me that it was definitely his dad and regaled me with stories of his dad tailgating, swerving, and instigating fights over perceived slights for years. He told me about being five years old and pleading with his dad to not punch another driver who cut him off. He acknowledged that his dad was crazy and I realized I was lucky to be alive.

And then I asked him the question that had been bugging me for years, the whole reason why my friend made that stupid face that set him off… What does XFASLNR mean? And it means Ex Fast Laner. His dad used to race cars and be in the fast lane. I know that’s not the most exciting conclusion to this tale of road rage, but at least I got closure. That’s worth something, right? And it’s kind of stupid to road rage when you have a memorable customized plate that makes it easy to identify you.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Blocking the Window Seat

Some people don’t grasp the fact that public transportation is for the public. That means lots of people ride it and everyone has to deal with each other. There are certain rules and customs that people abide by so that they don’t kill anyone. For example you shouldn’t sit in the aisle seat if there’s nobody in the window seat. The first person to sit down in each row should take the window seat. You’re an asshole if you’re blocking the window seat. You’re trying to keep personal space for your selfish self at the expense of the little old lady who is now forced to stand. You’re not making things any more convenient for yourself either. If the bus is crowded someone will tap you on the shoulder and ask to sit down. And you’ll have to get up and move when they do. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting there because your stop is coming up. Get up and wait by the fucking exit then. There’s no excuse for blocking the window seat. It’s even worse to sit in the window seat and block the aisle seat.  You’re just an asshole. Accept it or change your ways.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Dogs That Bark at Skateboards

I was just skating casually down the sidewalk when a small dog went crazy and barking its head off. Like howling and yipping and trying to attack me. I wasn’t even close to it; I was on the other side of the street. I don’t get dogs that bark at skateboards. I’ve had dogs. I’ve had skateboards. None of my dogs ever went nuts because of a board with wheels. Skateboards aren’t any louder than cars. They are no more intimidating than Roller Blades. Some dogs even fucking ride skateboards. I’m going to have to put this on bad training. A dog should be used to skateboards, bikes, cars, scooters… you know, common methods of transportation. Most dogs are well behaved, but if a skateboard freaks out your dog then you’re probably not taking him outside enough. You are a terrible person.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Driving With Your Blinker On

Some people are inconsiderate of others and never use their turn signals. Some people are idiotic and never turn off their turn signals. People who don’t use their blinkers are just assholes, there really isn’t anything wrong with them aside from being rude. But people who don’t realize they have their blinkers on are unaware and that’s not a good thing when you’re driving a multi-ton hunk of moving metal. You’ll see some old guy drive for miles in the left lane with their left blinker on. How does he not realize that his blinker is on? It flashes lights, it makes an audible noise, it’s pretty fucking obvious. Driving with your blinker on is like wearing a sweatshirt that says Alzheimer’s on it. You’re telling the world that you’re not all there.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Russian Dash Cam Videos

Russian roads are some of the most dangerous in the world. They have to deal with ice, snow, a deteriorating infrastructure, road rage, drunk drivers, drunk pedestrians, insurance scam artists, and the occasional horse crossing the road. Seriously anything can happen at any time. Naturally people got fed up and started installing dash-mounted cameras to record the chaos so that they have proof of what happened for insurance purposes. The next step is to upload those videos to the Internet for entertainment purposes. Sites like YouTube and LiveLeak are filled with hours and hours of horrifying accidents, narrow misses, down right bizarre incidents, and a few that showcase surprising acts of kindness (like a tough guy stopping his car in the middle of traffic to help an old lady cross the street). Reality TV is scripted and predictable. Russian dash cam videos are as real as it gets. Watch a couple of them and you won’t bitch about potholes again.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Asking How Long the Flight Was

Whenever someone comes back from vacation, everyone has a bunch of questions. Where did you go? What did you do? Where did you stay? How expensive was it? And for some reason someone always asks how long the flight was. It’s one of those stupid cliché questions that people only ask to keep the conversation going. Gee, Hawaii sounds like a tropical paradise but the flight is 7 hours so I’m not going. Generally speaking, the guy who asks how long the flight was is only asking so he can one-up you and brag about his 14 hour flight. Just nod your head and pretend to be impressed with his ability to sit on his ass for extended periods of time.

Critically Rated at 8/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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