December 2004: It was raining on the platform on 19th avenue across from SF state. There weren’t too many people waiting, telling me I had just missed the outbound M. Amazingly enough, though, there was another coming in about two minutes. Not enough time to pull out a magazine. And plus, it was a windy rain, and the platform roof wouldn’t have done much to protect the pages.
I noticed only one other rider on my end of the platform: an Asian guy with a football team’s baseball hat. Maroon. 49ers. Very everyday San Francisco.
We boarded the M, shoes squeaking in that way that they do only on rainy days inside a Muni train. I sat down and he took his seat in the row directly in front of me. No one else was on in the front of the train where we were.
A couple of stops later, now in Oceanview, two young women got on. They seemed to be SF State students as well, but not your mid-career, second-degree type. No, they were young. If I had to guess, I’d say 19, maybe 20.
Okay, bear with me while I post a couple of years-old stories from aboard Muni. Here’s the first:
March 2006: As I stood waiting for the 22 at 16th and Mission, I noticed a somewhat attractive woman approach the stop. A couple minutes later, the bus arrived, and seeing as how there were only a couple of other boarders besides myself, I kindly let this woman get on first.
I stood patiently behind her as she approached the fare machine, and she had some kind of words with the driver. I couldn’t quite make out what she said, but I did notice that she neglected to pay.
She turned and started walking back on a medium-filled coach. She took a couple of steps away from the machine, and as she did, I stepped up. With people behind me waiting to get on still standing outside the bus, I was doing my best to keep the flow of bus traffic moving steadily along.
I was in Green Apple last night, at the checkout counter, when I noticed these snazzy new transit maps the MTA has put out:
Note the Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly-style graphic rendering of a photograph. Um, played out? – Jeff
According to SFGate:
“An 83-year-old pedestrian struck by a Municipal Railway bus on Wednesday afternoon remains in critical condition, police said Thursday.
The male victim suffered severe injuries to his pelvis and both legs when he was run over by a 38-Geary bus at Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard in the Western Addition.”
Read more of Rachel Gordon’s report in The Chronicle.
What started in 2004 in a journalism class at San Francisco State University has now found its way, four years later, to the internet.
The idea wasn’t mine, originally, but was intended to be part of a magazine that covered San Francisco culture, neighborhood by neighborhood, with a very youthful slant. My co-editor Eugenia gets all the credit for Muni Diaries as an idea. Together, we decided it’s way cheaper and easier to do a website than to start a magazine from the ground-up. We brought a programmer/designer type on board, and had us an alpha site for a while.
Then we all got jobs.
A few years later, as blogging has taken off and become so easy that moms and dads the world over are doing it, I had the idea to just hatch this thing as a WordPress blog, and let it grow organically.
The idea is to create a forum specifically for anything having to do with public transportation in San Francisco. We’re gonna try to keep BART out of it (hint: we own bartdiaries.com, which may or may not launch soon, depending on the success of this site), and stick exclusively to:
- Stories of riding and waiting for Muni buses, light rails, and cable cars
- News stories involving Muni, especially accidents
- Agency news and commentary, especially gripes against fare increases and route rescheduling
- Hotties spotted on Muni
- Photos and video of any of the above
- Other topics, which I’m sure will present themselves over time
So please, feel free to contribute, comment, and tell your friends that they have a forum to talk with others about their experiences on San Francisco’s hated, yet loved public transportation system. – Jeff