Eugenia Chien has been eavesdropping on the 47, 49, or 1 lines since the mid-90's. She lives by the adage, "Anything can happen on Muni" (and also, "That's not water.")

Fold up the baby strollers and bring extra pacifiers, ok?

SFGate has a very spirited discussion of whether moms should be required to fold up babystrollers on Muni. Some seemed to have turned this into a gender issue but really this is an etiquette issue. Muni requires moms to fold up strollers for safety of passengers and children alike, but some have balked at the regulation.

There are over 110 comments on the original Chronicle story, “SF: Strollers must be folded up on Muni.” I, for one, think the rule is fantastic and wish Muni would add a couple more etiquette rules like, bring a couple of extra pacifiers to put in your child’s mouth if he starts crying. Please don’t pretend you don’t hear it because the rest of us certainly can hear the wailing all the way from the back of the bus. I would like the parents with monster strollers to fold up their baby SUVs on the sidewalks of Noe Valley and Pac Heights as well, just my personal request.

What do you think, should people be required to fold up their baby strollers on Muni?

Muni movie: Muni Daze by Nick Culp

I came across a beautiful, ethereal short movie called Muni Daze by Nick Culp, who filmed the entire movie on Muni bus rides. We might gripe about the unsanitary habits of our fellow riders or the frequent lack of etiquette on the bus, but Nick’s movie reminded me that at the end of the day, Muni is the one place where we are in close proximity with fellow San Franciscans who we may never otherwise see. And on the bus we are afforded a few minutes in our day to just sit and consider the people around us.

Muni Daze by Nick Culp

Nick also wrote the music in Muni Daze, which in my opinion, really steals the show. “The sound inspired the movie more than anything visual,” he told me. I got in touch with Nick and he had this to say:

I live in the excelsior (outer mission) area, so the 49 and 14 buses are like like wallpaper to me. I was waiting at the 24th and mission stop (which is the first shot of the movie). It was a particularly hazy, moody day. I just got a new phone for the first time in years.

The first experiment was loading my own custom ring tones of sounds I make as a computer musician the night before. One of the sounds I kept pulling out my phone to listen to, because it just seems to capture the mood of what I felt like being there that day (this is that dreamy sparkly sound that runs through the whole movie). It brought with it the thought that I should be doing some soundtrack work, which is a common notion I entertain, but I had no immediate people come to mind for the source of the visuals.

I then remembered that my phone also had a small camera, so I took it out and began what would become a week of shooting small shots on the bus everyday I edited together using Imovie. This is my first film in a series that I hope will take on many different themes.

Love on the J Train

I am always surprised at what people will do to try to find love (or just lust, depending on your needs) on Muni. Yesterday I was on the J train and overheard this successful attempt at getting a date.

Cast of characters:

Romeo (man wearing a newsboy cap, sunglasses – even though it was at night – and standing…no, leaning casually against the back of the train)

Juliet (young woman wearing a cute white track jacket, heading to Dolores Park)

Me (you know, creepily pretending to read my newspaper while eavesdropping for Muni Diaries)

The Hit:

Romeo: Hey so you’re in school, huh? Yeah, me too, i mean, I am in transition. I am in the film industry.

Juliet: Oh what kind of film do you make?

Romeo: Well, I will be making films as soon as the lawsuit is over.

Juliet: Lawsuit?

Romeo: Yes, with a former employer. Over employment issues. God, total assholes. But as soon as that is over, I can use the money from the lawsuit to transition into my art. Hey do you want to go to dinner or lunch some time?

Much much to my surprise, Juliet takes out her phone and gives him her number, takes down his number and gets off the train. They are having lunch tonight if I overheard right. Aaaah love is in the air. But geez am I too much of a cynic to hope that she gave him a fake number?

Muni set to test Translink fare card

You’ve all probably seen the Translink fare reader on some of the Muni lines and wondered when we can finally use it (and for me, when I can stop looking for two damn quarters in my purse every time I ride – I am too much of a slacker to buy monthly passes on time).

Well, here it is. SFGate reports that Muni is set to test the Translink fare cards with 1000 agency employees starting Monday.

San Francisco Chronicle reports:

There already are about 15,000 TransLink transactions a month on Muni, mainly by those who also use the fare card on AC Transit and Golden Gate Transit, the first two agencies to get the program. “It has not been easy to get to this point,” Muni chief Nathaniel Ford said Tuesday.

Read the rest of Muni set to test Translink fare card.

The dog and pony show rolls on

(Reposted, with permission, from North Beach Examiner)

The Metropolitan Transporation Authority — or Muni, as most of us still prefer calling it — has been trying to get rid of the 39-Coit since the 1950s. Unless eight supervisors vote against the transit system’s current Transit Effectiveness Plan at their Sept. 16 meeting, Muni will get half its wish.

Elimination of the Union Street hill leg of the 39 route is one of the provisions of the plan. Several other lines around town are facing truncation or elimination as well, which Muni maintains is necessary to provide the “greatest good for the greatest number.”

This is a pretty hilly town (in case you haven’t noticed), and a densely populated one (which, if the city planners get their way, will only be worse in coming years). The only way to provide reliable transit service with this kind of topography and population is by saturating the place with bus lines. Eliminating lines, or in the case of the 39, drastically cutting service, flies in the face of the city’s so-called “transit first” policy.

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