muni_driver.jpgThe usual rumor mill of news and innuendo is working at full-speed in San Francisco today, as rumors about whether or not the threatened Muni sickout is taking place are flying about faster than gossip in a classroom full of preteen girls.

As reported late last week, the SFMTA was readying itself for a possible barrage of Muni driver absences this week in response to changes to their sick-day and parking policies. After an anonymous list of demands circulated throughout San Francisco, SFMTA officials threw the gauntlet down in a public memo to Muni employees, telling them that a sickout would not be tolerated and that any and all absences must be excused with medical certification.

Yesterday, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told Bay City News that the agency was treating the flyer and the reports in its wake as mere speculation, saying, “The bottom line is, it’s just a rumor right now, and if something were to happen, we’re prepared to deal with it.”

Today Rose confirmed with the Appeal what he and many others had surmised, which is that no sickout has arisen today, after all.

“What I can say is that we are running normal service and there appears there is no sickout today,” Rose said in an e-mail to The Appeal.

Appeal contrib Matt Baume, who runs MuniAlerts, the unofficial Twitter feed of Muni delays and disasters, also said via e-mail that he has not received any reports outside the normal round of delays.

Muni Diaries is also tweeting/reporting on the lack of extraordinary problems, outside the usual stories of female passengers being hit on by creepy old men and speeding Muni drivers.

If a sickout still comes up sometime this week, however, Paul Rose told the Examiner of the SFMTA’s contingency plan, which basically consists of directing passengers to use BART and other forms of public transit and asking drivers not scheduled to work to come fill in for their absent co-workers.

“There is no real way to replace a service that boards 700,000 passengers a day,” Rose told the Examiner’s Mike Aldax. “But if anything does happen, we’ll be ready to try and provide the best possible service we can.”

To see daily PDF reports from Muni concerning operator absenteeism, click here. For SFMTA contact information to report any unusual absences or delays that think may be attributable to the rumored sickout, click here.

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