Voting Open Now: Muni Art to culture up your commute

For the third year, Muni will turn its buses into mobile galleries for local artists—and you get to vote for the art you’ll see on your ride. Voting for the third annual Muni Art contest (organized by the nonprofit San Francisco Beautiful and the SFMTA) opens today and runs through the next month. You can cast your vote here.

The 2018 theme is “The Art of Poetry in San Francisco,” and artists are using local poets to inspire their submission.

We loved the variety of styles by last year’s winning artists, and this year’s art selection also reflects a diversity of style and inspiration, like “Drawn to You” by Meli, above.

Only Bay Area artists were eligible to submit applications for the Muni Art contest. Here are the 10 semi-finalists:

Cha Diaz (San Mateo County)
David Carroll (San Francisco County)
Donavon Brutus (San Francisco County)
Janet Rumsey (San Francisco County)
Lam Giang (Alameda County)
Mara Hernandez (Alameda County)
Matthew O’Brien (San Francisco County)
Meli Burgueno (San Francisco County)
Randi Pace (San Francisco County)
Tsungwei Moo (San Francisco County)

SF Beautiful explains how the contest works:

The five artists with the most votes will each have their art displayed on Muni buses this fall alongside five pre-selected
poems from local, Bay Area poets. The new element of poetry is a contribution from Poetry in Motion, a division of the Poetry
Society of America that places poetry on public transit systems across the country. In addition to having their art displayed on
buses, the artist who receives the most votes will be awarded $2,000 and each of the remaining four will be awarded $1,250.

SF Beautiful tells us that there will be a total of 100 buses displaying the art work. Yay for local art and poetry!

Don’t forget to cast your vote here.

The kindness of strangers on BART: Ties that bind

File this under “I Like People Again.”

A young man on BART was desperately trying to tie his tie on BART and failing, until a fellow passenger asked him if he needed help. Redditors captured this sweet moment when the kind passenger, BART ticket in her mouth, helped him with his tie. Infinite hats off to people who know how to tie a tie on someone else, mirror-image style.

This moment made lots of the commenters on Reddit reminisce about how they first learned to tie a tie, and all the people in your life who helped you with the tricky little details in life.

In other “people are all right” news:

Thanks for the tip, @CMRforall!

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New BART hero identified: It’s Refrigerator Man!

Sometimes, people are the worst, but thank goodness there are also real-life heroes who will stand up against bad behavior. And we see this all the time, particularly on public transit. From rider Mariah Bear on Facebook:

Crowded BART train, I tune in and realize that a woman in hijab a few rows away is asking the guy next to her, basically, to stop manspreading. She’s saying, calmly but with increasing intensity, “Please, that’s my side of the seat. Please let me have my seat.”


I’m about to extricate myself from my window seat and offer to swap when she gets up in disgust and goes to stand. A guy gets up to offer her his seat. She starts to say, “Oh no, you don’t have to…,” He just smiles.


Dude is built like a refrigerator. She takes his seat and he just *whump* plops down next to, practically in the lap of, Mr. Manspreader.

I give him a thumbs up and a big smile.

A new hero is born! All together now: Refrigerator Man! Refrigerator Man!

Thanks to readers Cynthia P. and Mary M. for the tip.

Seen other everyday heroes who deserve our collective applause? Tag us @munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open!


What it’s like to be the humans of the SFMTA Twittertron

San Franciscans take their right to complain about Muni very, very seriously. Your colorful commentary runs the gamut between long-form pieces on the state of humanity and a well-timed (or ill-timed, as the case may be) tweet: “Fuck you, Muni!”

We get them all the time at @MuniDiaries, and we feel your pain. But it may soften those sharp edges to know that there are actually three people (not robots!) at the SFMTA whose job is to respond to an often irate public. We tracked down these most-patient humans, got them into our podcast studio, and asked them: What’s it like to be on the receiving end of our ire?

As it turns out, it’s not all terrible. In today’s Muni Diaries podcast, SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero tell us all about what it’s like to run the @sfmta_muni feed and to respond to your Muni complaints and real-life crisis — everything from violent crimes to a lost scarf.

Sometimes people will tell us we’re incompetent, that we should lose our jobs, that we are a failure, and those are just some of the nicer things. Sometimes it is hard and you feel that they are coming at you. Sometimes people are like, “Hey Muni, F-U!”

But they won’t brush you off:

And you’d to check to see if there was some follow up you might have missed. We do our research: is there more to this thread? And usually it’s somebody who has to vent. A lot of times I’ll message back to see if there is something we can help with.

Listen to the whole interview with SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero in today’s Muni Diaries podcast:
Google Play

You can find Schad, Rick, and their colleagues at @sfmta_muni.

Photo by @stonymcrock


Humanity spotted on Muni: She’s a lady(bug)

Pic by Flickr user chriss

In our early days (oof, more than nine years ago), we focused our storytelling and story-gathering energies on the written word, a story you’d tell to the happy-hour crowd after seeing or hearing god-knows-what on the journey over.

As the times changed and more photos and videos found their way into our inbox — and as our “inbox” expanded to include that social media you kids are always on — we came to appreciate a good written yarn even more than usual. Take it away, Bram.

I was traveling on the 7 bus recently from Haight St. to downtown, which I use almost daily. It is truly a smorgasbord of life, with many overcooked people yelling, shouting and not being particularly civilized. That is OK, but it certainly hardens you.

Across from me was a woman with a backpack on her lap. I noticed she had a company ID in her hand and was trying to encourage an object onto her plastic ID. It was a ladybug.

She pushed, asked and begged until it made its way onto the plastic. She then gently placed the card under a seat, so Lady would not be crushed by feet, and waited until she walked to freedom.

Me, would have flicked it out the window, onto the next seat or aisle and not thought twice about it.

I got off before her. Turned to her and said, thanks for putting my faith back into humanity.

Thanks for sending, @bramgoodwin. Inspired to spill a real-life, so-San Francisco story of your own? Share on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox,, is always open.

Found: The Muni suggestion box is open

The letter box on Muni buses isn’t just for religious flyers. Rider Terry F. recently spotted a hand written note in the box on his bus, and it turned out to be a polite reminder to Muni repair:

To Muni Repair,

There are 6 yellow tiles missing (broken) at the platform at the first stop at Caltrain stop outbound. Keep up the good work with picking up the trash.


Miss Lisette S.

In the age of tweeting your Muni complaints, I can really appreciate a letter writer. Thanks, Terry, for passing this along.

Other repair requests to Muni:
Poop-cleaning neighbors still need help
BART riders weigh in on escalator repair date
Lost and found: this Muni driver has your ID

Have you seen other noteworthy letters or missives of any other form? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open!

Are you a podcast fan? Hear our live stories on the new Muni Diaries podcast! Find us on iTunes and Google Play!

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