Finding somewhere to go when you're on the go and you've got to go is a real dilemma for Muni operators like Kianga Grant. She drives the 54 Line from the Bayview into Daly City. "Sometimes we have to stop in the middle of the route and go into a restaurant or a place like that to use the restroom," she told ABC7 News.
It's a serious issue for Muni's 2,200 operators who have only 21 agency restrooms scattered around the city. Asked how long he has to hold it, Muni operator Tony Balocating said, "Could be an hour, 90 minutes, depends on your route. If you're late, you've got to keep going."
Historically, Muni drivers used gas stations but those are now few and far between. So, after some debate, the plan now is to build 30 pre-fab units 12x8x10 feet large, only accessible to Muni employees.
A supervisors committee approved two for the Bayview neighborhood On Monday. Each would cost $170,000, but Muni believes the impact on reducing service delays will be priceless. "Because the service is impacted when you have to get out of the bus, stop service, and put the bus on hold," Muni spokesperson Paul Rose said.
Until then, Muni has contracted with a few businesses like the Dog Patch Café to allow drivers to dash in there for relief. "They're some of the best customers, always very polite, always very direct," Herb Kaufman said. "We're very pro-Muni here."
Soon, desperate drivers won't have to opt for a port-a-potty. "They should install real restrooms because we are real people and we need comfort," Muni operator Danisha Hampton said.
By this spring, six so-called "operator convenience stations" could be up and running -- so the drivers won't have to.