San Francisco is a beautiful and strange city, and the locals want to keep it all to themselves. Last year they banned tour buses from driving around Alamo Square where the famous Victorian "Painted Lady" houses are located. Confronted with the fact that the ban is a failure, residents are now literally kicking and screaming.
"We try to block them, but they knock us out of the way," boasted Heidi Knodle to the San Francisco Chronicle. "I egged one bus. We're marking them. I was kicking a bus the other day, and neighbors were cheering along."
"There's still drivers coming through the neighborhood, and they're still as aggressive as ever," Knodle's boyfriend and homeowner Kelly Edwards fumed without a hint of irony. "They still think it's a thoroughfare. It makes me mad as hell." He proudly hangs a sign in his window that demands, "Get off your big, fat tour bus and experience San Francisco."
"This is primarily a safety issue," assured local ban fan Gus Hernandez. "The residential streets in San Francisco are too small to accommodate large tour buses." He breathlessly estimates that "in peak season… upward of 50 buses cruised through the neighborhood each day."
Despite Hernandez's claims, there doesn't seem to exist any proof that these buses are more hazardous than the rest of the 4.5 million metro residents trying to navigate San Francisco's serpentine roads. To the contrary, since people are going to look at the pretty houses one way or another, it seems like busing is the safer and more environmentally friendly option, as it cuts down on the number of vehicles on the road. And, it may be the only option for elderly people who want to sightsee.
The Chronicle notes that the police hardly enforce the bus ban because, frankly, it's almost impossible to do so and they have far larger problems than stopping a couple dozen people who earn their pay by chauffeuring others around.
Residents should take note, chill out, and maybe even embrace the fact that these kinds of services can rake billions of dollars into a local economy.