Taken for a ride?

In recent columns, I dealt with the serious subjects of homicide and violence in nightclubs and with officer-involved shootings. This month I will deal with violations of the law that are not violent and may be considered much less serious. However, they are blatant, they affect a large number of people in the Marina, and they impact our quality of life.

Sections 1183 and 1183.1 of the San Francisco Police Code make it “unlawful for any person to operate any commercial motor vehicle with seating capacity of eight or more passengers” within an “area bounded by Chestnut Street to Baker Street, to Marina Boulevard to Laguna Street, to Bay Street, to Franklin Street and returning to Chestnut Street.”

There are signs posted on many of the streets in the Marina that specifically restrict commercial vehicles capable of carrying eight or more passengers. Recently there has been a significant increase in the number of buses violating this law. As the restriction is clearly posted, these buses are not only violating the San Francisco Police Code but they are also violating Section 21461 of the California Vehicle Code. That section requires drivers to obey all signs posted on city streets.

I should make it clear that the restrictions do not apply to Muni buses or school buses. In addition, the reconstruction of Doyle Drive has caused the Palace of Fine Arts to lose its parking lot for some months. As a result, there are some temporary relaxations of the law for buses delivering visitors to the Exploratorium. But setting aside these exceptions, there has been a significant increase in the number of commercial buses on streets in the Marina.

Some are tourist buses, some appear to be buses hired by employers to take employees to their offices outside San Francisco, and some appear to be “booze cruise” buses. The Marina Community Association has discussed this problem with the San Francisco Police Department, but the Department is suffering from a personnel shortage due to budget cuts. Although they are willing to enforce the law, they naturally have to devote their resources to the more urgent matters first.

If this is a law you would like to see enforced, you can help. If you see a bus violating the law, make a note of the location, the time, any markings on the bus, the license plate number if possible, and possibly take a photo. Send that information to the Marina Community Association at We will collect all the data and review it with SFPD. It appears that a small number of companies are responsible for the bulk of the violations, and we would hope to meet with them and the SFPD and ask those companies to comply with the law.

Alan Silverman is a Marina resident and a board member of the Marina Community Association. E-mail: