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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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

Three things to do when someone passes out on BART

What would you do if you saw someone passed out on BART and you’re not really sure what’s going on? This happened to rider Ginger M., who saw a young man on BART who was not in such good shape. As she considered the possibilities, she saw another passenger approach the man with such compassion and kindness that really made an impression on her.

Here’s Ginger’s story:

While riding on BART in the afternoon to work there was a person so passed out that they were hanging over the end of the seat. There was much blond hair hanging down and food strewn around.

 

1st thought: Junkie?
2nd thought: Are they dead?
3rd thought: Are they okay; is this a person who has been drugged and assaulted?
4th thought: Should I tell someone?
5th and full thought through this entire thing: Should I do something?

 

While I was asking myself all sorts of questions, a black man who was sitting behind me moved up to sit behind this person, whom other people had moved away from. He sat for a moment and then spoke to the passed out person who turned out to be a young man in velvet pants.

 

They talked. Talked in good ways.

 

We all got off at the same stop together and I watched that wonderful man walk with him to get him to a good place.

I will never forget that act today. One of courage. And one of great compassion. To that man today, I honor you.

A good lesson of compassion on public transit or anywhere. Thanks, Ginger! 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!

Video: How to get toned arms while commuting on BART

No more excuses about why you can’t make it to the gym. This BART rider brought a set of weights on the train and, putting us weekend warriors all to shame, started doing a serious arm workout at a time when most of us are zoned out. Thanks @brian.cardinale on Instagram for sending this inspiration.

We like to say that public transit is our shared living room. Lately, it’s proven to be our kitchen (like this woman prepping her dinner veggie on Muni) and, now, even our gym. Seen any other inspired uses of commute time? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

An inspiring video profile of a BART station agent

Five thousand people took an exam to become a BART station agent. Of those people, 100 were chosen to be interviewed. Of those, BART hired 30. One of those 30 is William Cromartie.

Every day, Cromartie encounters 4,000 people, many of whom he greets by handshake or fist bump, as he believes in stepping outside of the station agent booth. “I stay outside. That’s where the people are,” he says.

Local filmmaker Ivan Cash was so inspired by him that he made a short documentary about the station agent. From the filmmaker:

After meeting William on my commute to/from Oakland and witnessing his warmth and friendliness firsthand, I knew I had to make a film about him. I hope his story inspires more people to open up their hearts to strangers. Thank you, William, for inspiring me and countless others!

We know that the people working at our BART and Muni stations have a tough job—some of them have been kind to share their stories onstage at our live shows. BART operator Kelly Beardsley regaled the crowd with drama over the BART intercom, as well as a visceral story about a poop artist on the train. And Muni operator Driver Doug gave us the ultimate skinny with his behind-the-scenes stories. If you have a favorite driver or station agent, write us and give them a shoutout! Our inbox is always open for your stories.

Thanks to @k_e_e_n_a_n on Instagram for the tip.

<em>Want to hear more of these stories live on stage? Muni Diaries Live returns Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Elbo Room. Get your tickets here.</em>

BART handrails make for perfect stunt ramp

Ay, caramba! This guy jumping off of the narrow handrails at a BART station is having more fun than just about anyone else. Thanks to @ocular.pleasantries on Instagram sent over this mind-boggling action shot. We hope there was a good landing at the end!

Muni seems to be the perfect backdrop for life hacks, like this unconventional way to ride a bus, or this Muni-powered trip down the block.

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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