With January rain pouring from the sky and city residents taking a rest for Martin Luther King Day, buses in the Mission had room for riders to put their feet up and watch the show.

In the case of the 14 Mission,  a 61-year-old woman boarded the moving stage at Third Street.

“I’ve been drinking since the early morning hours”, she announced to a handful of passengers. Was it proof of this or kindness that she proceeded to thank the driver on behalf of every person let on and off the bus?

And so the day went. The 14-Mission Limited made its way down Mission Street to the Transbay Terminal  without passengers having to stand in the aisle. The double-coach bus even passed up unrequested and empty stops.

Having the 12-Folsom empty in the rainy afternoon when commuters are usually heading home from work and kids are supposed to be getting out of school was a pleasure, said driver Raymond Lee.

“The holiday always makes this route easier,” Lee said.

Only four passengers boarded the 12 near the 24th Street Bart Station.

After Lee reprimanded a passenger for jaywalking in front of his bus, he speculated that Muni wouldn’t make enough profit today to justify its service costs.

“The holiday and bad weather keep people in their homes,” he said.

Even on the bus, however, it was impossible to stay dry.  Water sprayed through an open window on the 12 Folsom as it climbed Jackson Street in Chinatown.  A passenger got up quickly,  closed the window and, laughing, wiped the rain off his face.

The 12 kept at least four empty seats for the entire route between the 24th Street Bart Station and Van Ness Avenue and Pacific.

Passenger Daniel Martinez, on the 49 Van Ness-Mission,  said when he rides an empty bus, he listens to music more and is less claustrophobic.

“If there’s no one on the bus, then it’s awesome,” Martinez said. “I wish it was like that all the time.”

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Nick Sucharski

Nick Sucharski is the current transportation reporter for Mission Loc@l.

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