Maintenance Tasks

Buspatch is an intentional community of vehicle dwellers, operating as off-grid alternative housing. Members are expected to perform a minimum of 5 maintenance tasks per week to remain in good standing.

Tasks fall into four categories:


 Tasks that require driving are marked with this icon:
 (If you are licensed to drive in California, please prioritize these tasks)

Some tasks are easier than others. The more proactive you are about getting to tasks early in the week, the more easy ones are available. 

If you are unavailable to complete 5 tasks, you can do an advanced buy-out option at $10/task. The money will go toward buying supplies needed to complete these tasks. 
This is not meant to be a penalty for not completing your tasks, but an option if you know you will be too busy. The penalty for not completing your tasks (or the buyout) before the week's end is that you will lose the privilege of remaining at Buspatch. This is because Buspatch can only work if all our members contribute.

Task Protocols

1.0 Power

2.0 Water
2.3 Dump Greywater (Sunday & Wednesday nights)
2.4 Clear Porto Path  (Sunday & Wednesday nights)

3.0 Cleaning

4.0 Community

1.1 Fetch Gasoline

Estimated time: 30 minutes.
Our backup generator runs on gasoline. We have two gasoline cans which can be filled up at any gas station.
  • Bring one of the communal utility vehicles, fill it up too!
  • Save your receipt. Add your expense to the Buspatch group in Splitwise. Attribute the responsibility 100% to the 'Buspatch Entity'.
  • Full & empty cans live next to the generator.

1.2 Fetch Propane

Estimated time: 30 minutes.
Propane fuels our hot water heater and our indoor & outdoor cooking appliances. We have five propane tanks. Empty & full tanks live on designated wire shelves.
  • Don't refill the propane tanks at the 24-hour gas station down the street unless it's an emergency because it costs $40 and that's stupid.
  • Propane exchanges:
    • Discount Builders [Google Map] 1695 Mission St. at 101. 7a-6p weekdays, 8a-5:30p saturday, 9a-5p sunday. 21.99/tank.
  • Propane refills (only for tanks in good order!):
    • U-Haul [Google Map] 1575 Bayshore 101. 7:30-6:30 mon-sat; propane off at 4pm sundays. $3.49/gallon.
    • Action Rentals [Google Map] 1530 Folsom St. at 11th. 7a-5:15p mon-fri, 8a-4:15p weekends. $4.10/gallon. $20.06.

1.3 Clean Solar

Estimated time: 30 minutes.
`Climb atop the 3 busses with solar panels and clean them off. It's dusty AF 'round here.
  • We have one ladder tall enough for this job. When you're done don't leave it blocking a pathway.
  • Cleaning solar panels is like cleaning mirrors. Use: windex, paper towels/newspaper, etc.
  • Wipe panels until the towel comes off clear, otherwise you're just smudging dirt around.
  • Throw windex paper towels in GARBAGE (not compost)
  • Return cleaning supplies to utility bus.

1.4 Power Audit & Inventory


2.1 Fetch Water

Long story, yet super urgent. If you can drive, you can help. Talk to Victoria.

2.2 Pump Water

Estimated time: 45 minutes, but mostly just sitting around waiting.
After someone does a fresh water run, we need to pump the fresh water in the IBC ASAP so the 55-gallon barrels are available for the next freshwater run. Typically you'll be transffering the contents of two 55-gallon barrels into our IBC. This can be done a number of ways, but here's a popular one:
  • You will need: 2-3 hoses, the drill pump, the wireless electric drill, a full battery, a pinchy clamp and a hose clamp.
  • Connect shortest hose from 55-gallon barrel to drill-pump inake; longer hose(s) can run from pump outtake to IBC - hose clamp the hose to the side of the IBC.
  • With the drill on the fastest setting, get the drill pump pumping water. You can use the pinchy clamp to keep the trigger depressed but you  need to babysit it the whole time
  • Stop immediately if:
    • the hot part of the drill is too hot to touch (it needs a rest, it's not designed for continuous operation like that)
    • the intake hose runs out of water (the pitch will change, and you'll be killing the pump running it dry)
  • Put the lids back on everything, put all the tools and things away where you found them.
Here's another preferred method:
  • Use a short hose and a bunch of empty 5 gallon cleanwater jugs.
  • Siphon water from the barrels (in Morello) into the jugs (on the ground)
  • Carry the jugs over to the IBC and dump then in
  • Goes really fast with three people (one to fill the jugs, two to carry), and involves no complicated moving parts.

Estimated time: 5 minutes, but it's SO IMPORTANT that it's worth dedicating an entire task.
Our portapotty gets serviced Monday & Thursday mornings, so we dump our greywater urns into the porta late Sunday & Wednesday nights (so they don't fester for too long). This system will eventually be replaced with something better.

2.4 Clear Porto Path 

Estimated time: 10 minutes, but it's SO IMPORTANT that it's worth dedicating an entire task.
Move the vehicles so the portapotty service folks can get to it. This can be done the night before (park Morello on the street) or you can wake up at like 6:45am and do it before 7am (ughnn).
  • Sunday night: also unscrew the greywater tank lid/pipe so it can be drained too.
2.5 Inventory


3.1 Curb Garbage

Estimated time: 15 minutes.
Thursday nights the garbage, green bin and compost bins go to the curb.
  • Wear gloves.
  • Dump the common area garbages, and change their bags. Take the big bins to the curb.
  • Re-sort anything that's wrongly placed in the bins. There are signs explaining every nuance posted above the trash bins in the common area. Especially: separate recycling that can be returned for a refund from regular recycling.
  • Don't compress the trash too much or it won't fall out when they dump the bin, and then we'll be stuck with a full bin for another week.
  • Make sure the lid closes or they won't take it.
  • In an emergency, cardboard can be securely bundled and placed beside the recycling bin, and we'll be charged extra for them to take it.
  • Batteries can be recycling by placing them in a ziploc bag atop the garbage bin.

3.2 Fetch Bins

Estimated time: <1 minute.
First person to get to this on Friday morning wins this super easy task. Bring the bins back inside. That's it, you're done, you win.  UNLESS you find the bins still full. SOUND THE ALARM. Action needs to be taken immediately:
  • Call SF Recology at 415-330-1300 so they can flag our address (760 Illinois St, SF). Tell them which bins were missed and they'll make sure their drivers come back around to collect. Call before noon!! Thanks.

3.3 Wash Dishes

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes (depending on how long it's been).
Dishes should get washed as often as possible. If you see dirty dishes, it's an opportunity to wash dishes.
  • Check the greywater bin before you start - you don't want it to rain greywater on your feet.
  • Washing dishes is a 6-step process:
    1. scrape food off into compost (use a paper towel, also compostible) and use the sink/a sponge to get any other visible food gunk/sauces off the dish
    2. soapy dish bin phase. scrub that dish clean
    3. rinse 1.
    4. rise 2. gets the last of the soap off.
    5. bleach soak. soak for 2 minutes to sterilize the dish! (bleach solution is 2tsp bleach per 1 gallon water. if the bin doesn't smell like bleach anymore, add some bleach)
    6. clean a bussing bin and fill with clean dishes after they'v been soaked.
When you're done, close the lids of all the bins & Bring the clean dishes inside immediately (so dirt does not settle on them)

Estimated time: 5-10 minutes.
Assuming we had a place to put away clean dishes, after the dishes have been cleaned, put them away.
  • Note: right now we don't really have designated places for clean dishes. There is a larger task first: organize the kitchen.

3.5 Clean Kitchen

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
This job gets easier the more often it's done. It's the sort of job that can almost never be done too often.
  • Don't forget to throw away any rotting food.
  • Wipe down all surfaces.
  • Organize some stuff... use logic.

3.6 Clean Fridge

Estimated time: 15 minutes.
Before new groceries get added to the fridge, empty the fridge of old food. Throw away stuff that went bad. Clean the sides and bottom. Put good food back.

3.7 Clean Living Room

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
Let's try to make it nice. This job gets easier the more often it's done. There should not be lots of clutter around that turns into trash blowing on the ground.

3.8 Clean Bathroom

Estimated time: 30 minutes.
This job gets easier the more often it's done. It's the sort of job that can almost never be done too often.
  • Wear gloves
  • Bleach/clorox-wipe all the surfaces
  • Organize loose odds and ends
  • Bleach-rags go in the garbage

3.9 Clean Lot

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
Go around the lot looking for stuff that doesn't belong where it is, then put it where it belongs. We should do this soon. If you are strong and good at lifting things, coordinate with Victoria who knows where to put things.

3.10 Shelve Tools

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
You're supposed to put your tools away as soon as you use them. Not everyone does that and we will be angry at them. This job is to organize & put away tools that aren't organized.

3.11 Weed Weeds

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
Buspatch is at war with a bunch of angry fennel. We need you on the front lines.
  • We have big shears. 
  • Good luck.

3.12 Pest Management

Estimated time: forever.
Buspatch is actually an ant colony and we are guests in their home.
  • We have diatomaceous earth. 
  • Terro traps work really well.
  • Good luck.

3.13 Return Refundables

Estimated time: 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Gather up all the refundable glass & plastics.
  • Drive to Recology San Francisco at 501 Tunnel Avenue
  • Go during their "Buy Back Facility Hours" ; Tue-Fri 7a-3pm + Sat 8a-4p.
  • There are other places you can go to return refundables, this is just one we've been to before.
  • They will ask you to separate different types of plastics and colors/types of glass, but I just do this there while the guys who know what needs separating are there to tell me.
  • Bring cleaning gloves!

4.1 Fetch Groceries 

Estimated time: 60-90 minutes.
Buy things people can make communal meals from. Tell people you're going shopping in advance and ask if they'd like to come, or give you list of their request. Shuttle all interested parties to the store. Split the expenses in Splitwise. Get someone to clean the fridge while you're shopping so there's room for the new groceries. Take one of our utility vehicles, top it off with gas, leave it cleaner than you found it.

4.2 Cook Meal 

Estimated time: 30-60 minutes.
Make a meal everyone can enjoy. Invite people to eat with you. Yay, community!

4.3 Wash Laundry 

Estimated time: 2-4 hours.
Tell everyone you're going on a laundry run. Invite people to go with you or to give you their laundry bags/instructions. Give enough advance notice that people have time to assemble their laundry. See if there's anything random/forgotten/dropped around the lot that needs washing, too. Don't forget to bring detergent (we have unscented detergent in the utility bus). Shuttle involved parties to the laundromat. Split the expenses in Splitwise.