San Francisco Diaries: Who gets to define this city?

Smiley Poswolsky left his suit-wearing days behind in Washington, D.C. to start a new life as a writer in San Francisco. Today, he’s an expert on Millennials in the workplace and author of the book, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough. A few years in to his life here, he found himself realizing that some of the things he enjoyed about the city were also having a negative impact on his beloved new home. This prompts him to consider a timely question: Who has the right to define a city and what it is (or should be) all about?

This has been a hot topic as of late, even in national news. This prompted us to turn to our listeners: If you could give the city a cultural health score, what would it be and why? 

Listen to his story:

Got something to say about Smiley’s story and the current state of our city? Email us your thoughts at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us #munidiaries on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Rider thwarts would-be bike thief on Muni

Rider Michael Z. cuts and polishes stones for a hobby. Since the stones are super heavy, he decided to go multi-modal this day, jumping from his bike to a Muni bus. The journey didn’t go exactly as planned. In his own words:

Rush hour traffic on the #7 to the upper Haight:

I, an avid bike rider, already had a long day messing with a lot of heavy rocks and minerals all day long. I was backpacking about 55 lbs of rocks in my pack while riding my bike and decided to ride the bus to my destination.

I boarded at Market and Van Ness with my bike on the rack in front of the bus; it was so crowded that I was standing right at the front of the bus. The driver and I struck up a conversation about bikes and we were pulling up to Market and Haight Streets; some passengers got off and some got on.

The driver was about to leave when this kid ran up to the bus, threw down this pink sorry thing of a bike, ran to the bike rack, and proceeded to pull my bike off the bus.

The driver said [to me], “Hey, isn’t that your bike?”

I looked and said, “Yea.”

The door flew open for me as the kid was trying to figure out how to shift gears to go faster. That was not going to happen since my bike was only geared for single speed.
So, with 55 lbs of rocks on my back, I ran and caught up to him and clotheslined him over the handle bars of the bike and got on top of him. I was about to nail him in the face. But seeing how young he was, I decided against it and told him it was his lucky day (or not so lucky) and told him to get a job and buy a bike.

I got my bike, and, to my surprise, the bus driver had waited for me. I put my bike back on the rack and got on the bus, and the whole bus started clapping their hands, some saying good job and so on.

What a crazy day. Thanks to the bus driver on the Haight Street line who waited for me at the scene of the bike-jacking. There IS a story to tell on every line.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a fixie and an action-movie-worthy chase scene beg to differ. Thanks, Michael, for this cautionary tale! (Legit wondering what happened to the pink bike, though.)

Photo by @superlightslover

One Muni driver’s plea about your phone habit

tammy

Muni driver Tammy has a very reasonable request: could we please look up from our phones as we get ready to board the bus?

From Tammy:

I wanted to ask you if you could start a dialogue with your followers regarding “Passengers waiting for the bus while distracted by [their] cell phones.” It has become increasingly frustrating to provide great customer service when my passengers are not prepared to board the bus…

Muni Driver Tammy

In case you’re wondering: the bus doesn’t stop at every stop by default: Tammy says that drivers pay attention to body language, especially when it’s a multiple-line bus stop. “In order to keep the service going, we look at the potential passengers standing at the bus stop to see if they want the bus, and then if we see that they do, we stop.”

Tammy says that passengers are looking down at their phones, or worse, with earbuds in their ears. As the driver approaches the stop, often nobody is looking up. “It’s not until you get ready to pull off, they look up and then all of a sudden they start waving” when the bus is already in motion.

Yikes. That sounds about as annoying to the drivers as it is for the riders. You might remember Tammy as the Muni driver who threw a surprise party on the 33-Stanyan for her riders when she was switching routes. Years later, she continues to brighten days for riders, even inspiring two visiting travelers to write to us recounting their experience with Tammy. We still get occasional dispatches about Tammy sightings, which are always a delight.

We have to admit that we’re also guilty of feeding the phone addiction at the bus stop while we wait. It sounds like it would make everybody’s lives easier if we looked up every once in a while with our Clipper card or fare in hand, and make some kind of motion to the bus driver to stop. What do you think?

Got other Muni-riding tips? Tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com

How a Muni ride went from piss to bliss

Muni is probably our longest love-hate relationship, a widespread phenomenon that became the focus of one bus rider’s one-woman play. That woman, Ady Lady, is a writer and performer. She’s written and performed two solo shows: Sara Jane Tried to Shoot the President and From Piss to Bliss, the latter of which was about her desperate attempt to lead with love while riding Muni.

Update: She’s still working on it.

Ady Lady told her story at Muni Diaries Live at Rickshaw Stop earlier this spring. For everyone who missed it (or can’t wait for the encore), here’s her story:

If you have your own Muni story to pitch to our podcast, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com. And remember to rate us on iTunes if you like what you hear.

Photo by Right Angle Images

Muni fare goes up to $3 starting July 1

Another good reason to get a Clipper card: Muni cash single fare is going up again this July from $2.75 to $3. According to the SFMTA, pre-paid fares (a la Clipper or Muni Mobile) is still $2.50.

The upcoming fare increase applies to cash fares, which critics are saying is a “back door poverty tax.” (Updated with this Hoodline story for more details on the criticism).

The monthly M and A passes are also going up. Here are the main changes:

Single Ride FaresCurrentJuly 1, 2019
Regular Adult: Cash (Clipper card fare remains the same)$2.75$3
Discount single ride*: Cash and Limited-Use Tickets$1.35$1.50
Monthly PassesCurrentJuly 1, 2019
Monthly M pass (Muni only)$78$81
Monthly A pass (Muni + BART within SF)$94$98
Discount monthly* and Lifeline Pass$39$40

* Youth (ages 5-18), Seniors (65+), People with Disabilities

So there you have it: remember, everybody must pay fare, lizard people or not!

Photo by @sfstreets415

Glamorous Farrah Fawcett dog wins Muni ride

It took me a minute to parse this one.

Rider Jack, who shared on the Muni Diaries Facebook Page, says: “After a long day of being cute, someone needed a nap on the 14.”

That hair, tho—Farrah would’ve been proud.

Check out (and submit) more cute on Muni: we’ve entered official BART cuddle zones, received fur friend dispatches from our fuzziest riders, and cuddled the most precious cargo. Take us to the next level in cute by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or hitting up our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

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