Tara Ramroop has laughed, cried, and commiserated with this amazing community from the start. She's been writing for as long as she can remember and riding Muni for nearly a decade.

Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez on riding Muni while running for mayor

When you’re a candidate in one of the most memorable elections in San Francisco, riding Muni comes with a whole host of concerns that us regulars may not ever encounter.

Big ups to Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, who told this story on the Muni Diaries Live stage in the midst of a career-changing, much-anticipated trial. Taking us back to the 2003 mayoral election—in which he was neck-and-neck with current Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, he shared why riding the bus as a politician in a highly contested race means always keeping one eye open.

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We’re celebrating 10 years of storytelling on and off the bus with our anniversary show on April 21, 2018, at the Elbo Room. Muni Diaries is a thing because everyday bus riders decide to share their commute story with us, so join our community by telling us your story today. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Plus, our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open!

Photo credit: Right Angle Images

San Francisco Diaries: A teen tale of thizz and New Year’s Eve transportation

SF native Katrina hit up our San Francisco Diaries Facebook page with this throwback tale from her teenage years. We were all seemingly in a state of “Who will give us a ride/pick us up/has a car/isn’t our parents?” back in those days, but the uniquely San Francisco twists give this story the edge.

Growing up in SF is a completely different experience than most other places to grow up. We did things very differently here, as I would later learn in life after leaving our bubble. This particular story is from New Year’s Eve my senior year of high school. My group of girlfriends and I had just taken our thizz, as we called it then, and decided to head outside to try and hail a cab…at 11 p.m. in Diamond Heights. Obviously, no cabs were coming and Muni wasn’t running up there anymore. All of the sudden, a fire alarm goes off and two huge fire trucks pull up. They go inside and check it out. No fire. One of my friends asks them what happened and they say, “False alarm! Don’t worry!” Right at that moment, the E hits me and I shout to one of the firemen, “Hey! Can you give us a ride down the hill? Were trying to get to the fireworks and no cabs are coming.” He looks at all of us and says, “Sure! Hop in in!” We all look at each other and climb into the two fire trucks. They give us all head sets and let us talk to each other in the other trucks. We are 8 teens on E in fire trucks speeding down the hill looking over all of San Francisco. We get to the bottom of the hill and the fire truck stops in the middle of the road, hails us two cabs, and sends us on our way. We made it to the pier right at midnight.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You certainly don’t get from Diamond Heights to the New Year’s fireworks for midnight.

Hear more San Francisco stories and Muni musings on our podcast! Find us on iTunes and Google Play.

Pic by Stephen Kelly

Alexandria Love’s not-quite love story with bonus transit twist

This tale about relationshipping in your Roaring 20s hits home for all of us who wished we could find love—or that it would find us, as promised in the RomComs—but kept looking for it in all the wrong places.

Oakland native Alexandria Love is on the podcast today with her personal, cringe-worthy story from that time in her life, which comes with a bonus transit twist. When she’s not prompting us to marvel in half awe, half horror over our early-20s life choices, Alex is also a stand-up comedian, podcaster, and writer. She’s performed at some of the best venues in California, including Tommy T’s, The San Jose Improv, and Cobb’s Comedy Club. She is the current reigning champion of Tourettes Without Regrets’ Dirty Haiku battle with 5 victories under her belt. She was the sleeper hit at the Muni Haiku Battle at Lit Crawl in 2017, which led her to snatch top honors during a reprise performance at Muni Diaries Live.

Listen to Alex’s story here:
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Got your own very-SF strange and wonderful ritual, with or without Bay Area transit twists? San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open.

Pic by Right Angle Images

Steve Pepple sounds off on the BMW experience in San Francisco

Many of us didn’t give city transit a passing thought before we actually had a stake in the game as real-life commuters/fans/foes. In this episode, Steve Pepple reminds us that a passion for the shared experience of public transportation can start even in the most unlikely places.

Sharp-eared listeners may also remember him from a previous episode of this podcast, in which he regaled us with a tale of the time he accidentally wandered into a secret furry party while looking for the bathroom at a cafe. But he’s got all kinds of other stuff going on: Steve is on the board of San Francisco Transit Riders, a rider-supported group for world-class transit in San Francisco. And he’s a designer at OpenGov, where he works toward making cities more livable, whether he’s working on a budget or a bus.

Listen to Steve’s entire story in today’s podcast:
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Is your own story burning a hole in your brain? Want to share an unexpected conversation with a stranger that stuck with you? We are all ears at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Pic by Right Angle Images

When fellow women are your first line of defense on Muni

In these #MeToo times, it’s inspiring to see women speaking up for themselves and standing up, sometimes literally, for one another. Here’s Muni rider Teresa with a disturbing but empowering commuter tale from the 1-California.

I take the 1 home from work every day around 6 p.m.

I’m usually pretty aware of my surroundings, but I had a particularly rough day at work, so I had my headphones in and I was seriously zoning out.

As I’m almost falling asleep, I hear this particularly loud voice above my music, and it starts to wake me up. I take off my headphones to find the source of the angry voice.

I looked toward the front of the bus and quickly realized that a man was yelling something at a woman. I listened a little harder, and I start hearing what he’s saying to her. I’m not going to repeat it, but it was some horrible stuff.

I’m no stranger to catcalling or street harassment, but this was on another level.

This is something that I can’t stand for. Any time I see some asshole intimidating a woman on the street or on Muni, I have to step in. It’s gotten me into a lot trouble, but I cannot just walk away. Most of the time, I’m the only one. I’ve never been helped when some dude is harassing me, and there are very few times when I’ve seen another person step in.

So, I put my phone in my backpack and zip it up thinking “OK, here we go again.” And my brain starts running through all the possible scenarios: “What if he attacks me? Does he have a weapon? What if he goes after someone else?”

As I’m about to get up and confront him, another woman pushes past me, walks directly up to the woman being harassed, and simply says “Do you feel safe?”

At this point, the woman at the front of the bus is shaking so hard she can’t even speak. So the other woman put her hand on the lady’s shoulder and said “Come to the back of the bus with me, we can sit together.”

As the two women are walking to the back of the bus, that guy gets up and tries to follow them, yelling vile comments the whole time. But as he’s trying to get to them, a few other women stand up, and they block his path. Then, I got up and stood with them. And before I knew it there were six or seven women creating this barrier.

That man looked at us, yelled one last shitty thing, and got off at the next stop. Because he realized there was no way he could win against all of us.

Immediately after he leaves, the woman he was harassing bursts into tears. He had been following her for 10 blocks. She didn’t know what to do, so she got on the bus. She was five months pregnant. We all just listened to her and after she stopped crying, she thanked us. The woman who came to her rescue sat down next to me. My stop was the next one. As I left, the only thing I could do was look at her and say thank you. After I got off the bus, I started crying. I was sad because we have to deal with situations like this ALL the time, but I was crying happy tears because, for once, I felt like I wasn’t alone, and I felt how powerful we are when we stand together.

Props to these women for being the first and only line of defense during this scary encounter.

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!

Pic by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

Sloshed on Muni: Keeping tabs on live cargo

We love your photos, your videos, and your tweets. But going back to our roots with a good old-fashioned story-story still gives us the warm fuzzies.

James, 71, spends his mornings in retirement walking around San Francisco and then takes Muni home. Here’s James with a sloshy, delightful tale from the 29:

I caught the 29-Sunset early afternoon at 25th & Clement about six months ago for my destination near San Francisco State University. Boarding the bus was a very inebriated man carrying a very large plastic snack jar, which contained water (half full) and three very large, live frogs. The individual sat directly behind the driver. As the bus drove, this individual’s jar was sloshing a lot and he was having trouble sitting up. Two girls on the bus were laughing and asked the man if he could show them one of his frogs. The man took one of the frogs out, waving it in front of the girls who were squealing. The frog got loose and started hopping down the aisle of the bus. At this point, the man placed the jar on the seat beside him and started to weave down the aisle, caught the frog, and returned it to the jar on his seat. He departed the bus several stops later. An unforgettable scene.

Early-afternoon drunkles, pets gone awry, and connecting with strangers; this Muni story really sums it up, doesn’t it?

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!

Pic by Natalie McNear on Flickr

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