The boat is back for Muni Heritage Weekend

Muni heritage is this weekend, when you’ll be able to ride vintage Muni cars including the Boat Tram. On Saturday and Sunday, you can ride vintage streetcars like Streetcar 1, dating back to Muni’s opening day in 1912.

You might also see “Dinky,” or Streetcar 578, built in 1896 in San Francisco and the oldest operating streetcar in the United States.

More from the SFMTA:

Other free vintage vehicle rides departing from the museum include Muni Trolley Coach 776 dating from 1950, and 1975 Muni Trolley Coach 5300 in the classic “Sunset” orange colors created by San Francisco designer Walter Landor. The recently renovated 1956 Mack Motor Coach 2230, 1938 Motor Coach 042 and 1969 Motor Coach 3287 will also be offering free rides.

There’s also a cable car bell ringing demo at noon! Find out more about Muni Heritage Weekend.

It’s all happening this weekend 12-5pm at the San Francisco Railway Museum on 77 Steuart Street (just across from the Ferry Building). If you are lucky enough to get on one of these vintage cars, tag us #munidiaries on Instagram to submit your Muni Heritage Weekend diary!

Photo by @sfmtaphoto

Meeting Joan Didion in San Francisco right after 9/11: One grad student’s tale

How do you go from humble grad school student to being on stage with one of America’s literary icons, all in a matter of days—especially when those days are ones following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001? This is exactly what happened to one San Franciscan, who met his intellectual idol, Joan Didion, who was speaking at City Arts and Lectures soon after the towers fell.

Our storyteller, Judson True, was a journalism grad student at the time. After a series of nerve-wrecking events, he ended up interviewing Didion on stage at the Herbst Theater. For this podcast episode, he unearthed an ancient email thread from his Yahoo inbox, taking us back to how he got plucked from his classroom and placed onstage with his favorite writer.

Having moved from the midwest to San Francisco, Judson says that “everyone has their own San Francisco. That’s one of the great things about a real city.” Meeting Didion that day marked a significant moment in his time here that defined what San Francisco was, and is, to him.

Listen to this story (full transcript below):
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You might remember Judson from one of our early Muni Diaries Live shows, which took place right after he left his post as the SFMTA spokesperson (perhaps one of the most stressful city jobs ever?). He’s currently the chief of staff for California State Assemblyman David Chiu.

This story is an installment of San Francisco Diaries, our spinoff series, which just celebrated its first birthday! Thanks to your support on Patreon, we’ve been able to record lots of new stories in our podcast studio. If you like these stories and can spare your coffee money for a day or two, we’d appreciate your help. You can find us at Patreon.com/munidiaries.

Know someone with a great story about San Francisco? We are all ears—submit your own story at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by @goincase

=== Transcript ===

I found out about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, from my wonderful but soon to be ex-girlfriend who had just moved to Taiwan on a Fulbright. She lived in the future, so she saw the attacks on TV while I was sleeping. She called and told me what was happening and I turned on the news in my rented San Francisco apartment. I spent those devastating hours in shock with the rest of the world. Read more

Muni says sorry for serious summertime service fail

Blame it on the dog days of summer, but Muni issued an apology for its system-wide service failure, admitting that “Muni service in the past few months has been performing below our 98.5% service goal.” That’s probably putting it mildly, as earlier this summer, The SF Examiner reported that “On any particular weekday almost a hundred buses — ones meant to run — sit unused due to a lack of operators.”

[We’ll pause here for the jokes and snark.]

Mission Local obtained the missed hours of service of every Muni bus or train line for every Monday going back eight months. Some buses missed almost a third of their scheduled service time on certain days.

Thanks to this diligent local journalism, we at least know it wasn’t just our imagination. Muni’s apology included several solutions that they want to implement, such as converting part time drivers to full time and speeding up new driver training.

It is not yet clear when these measures will impact our commute, but if you do see any improvement, please let us know @munidiaries on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo by @kateconger.

Portraits of Muni and BART riders in space

We’ve all had those “anywhere but here” moments of fantasy on Muni. But artist Kevin Lewis took his commute one giant leap beyond merely a daydream. He recently finished illustrating and writing a sci-fi graphic novel/adult picture book (tentatively titled “BARTians”), featuring 70 drawings of his fellow Muni and BART passengers. Instead of portraying them staring at their phones, Kevin transformed these passengers into doing so much more, literally above and beyond planet San Francisco.

You’d think she was riding BART, but through Kevin’s creative eyes, this young lady is actually on her way to a coronation to continue (or upend) her mother’s legacy.


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How one woman served sweet, sweet justice on Muni

Gwen Carmen is a survivor: She’s taught middle school and beaten cancer. So you know she wasn’t going to let a creeper on the bus get off easy. When a man’s wandering hands met storyteller Gwen’s seat, she was shocked. But she didn’t spend too much time in wondering WTF—here’s how she tracked him down and got her own version of bus creeper justice.

Gwen told this story at Muni Diaries Live’s 10th anniversary show and our jaws were on the ground. Listen to her story here:

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Gwen is an activist, actress, educator, and writer whose work appeared in Essence magazine, Plexus feminist newspaper, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and numerous other small presses during the ’80s and ’90s. She was the editor/publisher of La Morena Women of Color bilingual newspaper.

Thanks to you, we’ve heard amazing stories of women standing up for themselves and each other—like this tale of riders who, one by one, walked over to support a woman being verbally harassed. Another time, riders on this bus collectively said No Way to body shaming.

Keep it up, San Francisco.

Got your own story to share? We are all ears! Pitch your own Muni or San Francisco story to us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. You can also help us keep the lights on at Muni Diaries HQ by supporting us on Patreon

Photo by Right Angle Images

Mona Lisa takes a ride on the M

This doppelgänger for the famed Leonardo da Vinci painting was seen riding public transit with a serene smile. Shall we caption this…the Muni Lisa?

(We’ll be here all week, folks.)

OK, OK, judging from the fabric of the seat we know this is another public transit system altogether, but it’s just too good not to share. Not for nothing, we’ve spotted other celebrities on Muni like Justin Bieber and Fabio. It’s a regular day of “Celebrities, They’re Just Like Us” here at Muni Diaries headquarters.

Thanks for the submission, reader Nandita D., via Fernando Meisenhalter on Facebook.

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

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