Latest on Muni Diaries

Today at Noon: 52nd Annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest


I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you are reading this. I’m good. I’m also gonna guess that if you’re reading this, you appreciate knowing about things like the 52nd annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest, which will take place tomorrow at noon in Union Square.

Current champ Trini Whittaker will go for his fourth victory in a row. From SFMTA:

“Whittaker will face stiff clapper competition from two three-time winners: Ken Lunardi (1997, 2002, 2006) and Leonard Oats (2007, 2008, 2009).

“In fact, expect Mr. Lunardi to pull out all the bells and whistles. The 35 year SFMTA employee has spent the last three-decades as a cable car gripman and will soon retire, so he’s looking to claim the crown and a place in bell ringing history.”

Fun. If you go, share your thoughts here.

Photo by geoff dude

Transit News: Muni station elevators, E-Embarcadero, Muni challenge

  • Elderly Woman Beaten After Striking Passenger In Dispute Over Seat On Muni Bus (CBS Bay Area)
  • City’s construction boom causes elevator replacement costs to skyrocket at Muni stations, agency says (SF Examiner)
  • Op-cartoon: The San Francisco Transit Riders Muni Challenge (SF Examiner)
  • E-Embarcadero Debut Now August 1 (Market Street Railway)
  • State regulators seek stricter background checks for tech-transit companies (SF Examiner)

Brass section represented on Muni


Muni rider Ruth recently spotted this fine fellow and his travel companion, a tuba sousaphone. It made me want to gather all the people we’ve featured over the years on Muni with musical instruments (see below). They could have a show on a moving Muni vehicle. Or something.

A little music to accompany your Muni ride
Strange cargo on Muni: They call me yellow cello
An entertaining commute on the N-Judah
Strummin’ away on Muni
Muni driver toots his horn

Muni and the US flag collaborate, worlds explode


Don’t even try to tell me that it’s too late to America. America!

There sure have been a lot of reasons to be proud to be American lately, eh? Let this Muni transfer USA flag join rainbow flags and soccer fans the nation over.

h/t John: “So much America today!” Every day, John. Every. Day.

Japan says goodbye to beloved ‘stationmaster cat’


Tama, the calico “stationmaster cat”  who single-handedly single-pawedly brought a Japanese railway line back from the brink of financial collapse, has died.

According to The Telegraph, Tama had climbed the ranks to become president of the Wakayama Electric Railway and was 16 years old at the time of her death. When she was first appointed stationmaster of the rural Kishi Station in Wakayama in 2007, the railway line was struggling and the station had laid off its last human employee.

Tama, who could be spotted walking through the station wearing a tiny railway cap, soon drew crowds, boosting ridership on the line by 55,000 and adding 1.1 billion yen to the local economy.

Railway officials held a shinto-style funeral for Tama at the station over the weekend that drew thousands, notes The Guardian, which says she will be laid to rest at a nearby shrine for cats. Despite the sad news, Kishi station will also continue to have a feline presence. Tama will be succeeded by her apprentice, a calico named Nitana.

Photo by AFP/Getty