Night of Ideas part 1: Everyday heroes on the bus

This is the first part in a series showcasing short Muni stories we collected from attendees at the Night of Ideas at the San Francisco Public Library on March 2, 2024. This batch of stories focuses on everyday heroes on the bus: situations where a small gesture or act of kindness by a transit rider or operator turned a tense situation around, made someone feel seen or appreciated, or just brightened their day.

Listen to the stories here:

We were struck by how many of these stories featured Muni operators being the hero in seemingly small ways that meant a lot to the storyteller. It’s a good reminder that not only do our operators work a demanding job and get us where we need to go, but so often they go above and beyond in keeping folks feeling safe or brightening people’s day.

We hope to see you this Thursday, April 4 at Muni Diaries Live: The “Thank You, Driver” Show, which will feature even more stories by and about the transit workers who keep us rolling. And remember to always thank your operator!

Katy Birnbaum on the power of streets to divide or connect us

Where most people see a desolate street, Katy Birnbaum sees a celebration and the regeneration of community waiting to happen. But it didn’t start out that way. Katy grew up in a car-dependent suburb where the streets isolated her and her family. In this story from our November 2023 live show, Katy shares how moving to San Francisco transformed her relationship to streets, how Muni connected her to the things most important to her, and how she decided to give back.

Listen to Katy’s story here:

Katy is the founder of Into The Streets, a San Francisco-based cultural production studio dedicated to bringing people together in the streets. Katy previously led the open streets department at the nonprofit Livable City, revamping the Sunday Streets SF program and stewarding it for 7 years. For more about Katy’s work check out

Have a Muni story you’d to share? Email us your pitch at

Photo by Emily Huston

Once upon a Muni train with Baruch Porras-Hernandez

It’s not every day you’re swept off your feet by a handsome stranger on the subway. But when Baruch Porras-Hernandez rides Muni, anything can happen. We were thrilled to have Baruch back on the Muni Diaries Live stage in November with the story of a fleeting romance from his past, and the unexpected turn it takes.

Listen to Baruch’s story here:

Baruch is a writer, performer, and standup comedian who’s done storytelling shows all over California. He’s won the Moth in LA, headlined at About Last Night, is a three-time winner of Best of Bawdy, and won first place at Oakland’s Story Showdown. You can hear more stories from Baruch on the Muni Diaries podcast in Episode 43 and Episode 70. And don’t miss Baruch in SF Sketchfest at Cobb’s on January 19th and Brava Cabaret on January 20th!

Have a Muni story you’d to share? Email us your pitch at

Photo by Emily Huston

Cheers to our 15th year, and a look ahead to 2024

Happy New Year, Muni Diaries fam! 2023 was an exciting year for us as we celebrated 15 years of sharing your Muni stories. We hosted a special anniversary live show in November and designed a limited edition Muni Diary for you to document your transit stories. Our second annual Muni Diaries Art Market in December was another huge hit. The stories we shared this year ranged from hilarious to poignant, from chilling to inspiring: a bus operator’s ghost story; spoken word poetry on race and displacement through the lens of a Muni window; the ongoing search for a special Muni operator; an ode to a transit system that is at times barely navigable yet somehow manages to bring us together. We were also thrilled to share a two part series featuring San Francisco high school students performing their own original Muni poetry.

A heartfelt thanks from all of us at Muni Diaries to everyone who shared your Muni stories with us in 2023, sent us your bus photos, tuned in to the podcast, attended our live shows and art market, and helped us celebrate 15 years of Muni Diaries. What started as a college project has grown into an online journal of our shared experiences as transit riders and San Franciscans, and it’s still going strong 15 years later thanks to our irreplaceable community. We couldn’t do it without you.

We’ve got stories from our November live show, exciting in-person podcasting events, and more already queued up for you in 2024. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s on deck:

Have a Muni story you’d like us to feature in 2024? Email us your pitch at

Life on the school bus from (and for) those in the know

By school bus, we obviously mean Muni.

We’ve gotten our share of “teens on the bus” stories, but it is a special treat hearing from young folks themselves—thoughtful, civic-minded people who are inspired by public transit to participate and create.

Tanea Lunsford Lynx is Chair of the Spoken Arts Department at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts and one of the artists behind Muni Raised Me, a multimedia exhibition by San Francisco born-and-raised artists exploring a central question: What does Muni mean to the people who grow up riding it? Tanea brought their students to the Muni Raised Me exhibit to perform their own original poetry about Muni in a guerrilla-style spoken word show, and we had the privilege of sitting in to listen and record.

It warms our hearts to see the next generation keeping it transit-oriented. Muni Diaries Live alum Hayden Miller helped navigate a Muni bus in real-time (for real, listen to his story) and articulates his thoughts at SFMTA Board meetings on the state of transit—all while in high school. And we know a new crop of engaged Muni riders, like Tanea’s students, are coming up alongside him.

Lucky us: There was so much inspiring material, we curated it into a two-part series.

Part 1: Tanea shares their perspective on the exhibit and spoken-word event, plus some student performances

Part 2: More student performances!

Photo: Kat Siegal at Muni Raised Me event