How the beloved Boat Tram became a real boi

Pic by Adolfo Echeverry Photo for Market Street Railway

One can’t help but smile when they see the Boat Tram, one of the Market Street Railway’s most unique and beloved vehicles. Which is why there’s no better inanimate object to take on an entire online personality.

How timely, as the Boat Tram is back in business by Fleet Weekend for those marking their calendars, according to The Bold Italic. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays look like your best chance of a sighting or a ride going forward, but like many celebrities, their whereabouts are vague.

In honor of its return, we’re bringing you storyteller Chris Arvin, the person behind Boat Tram’s online persona, AKA Boat Boi. Tune in to hear about how Chris married a keen interest in transit with the power of the internets to turn Boat Tram into a real boy. Er. Boi.

Chris told this story at our 2019 Muni Diaries Live, the last time we were all in the room together, footloose and covid-fancy-free.

A product designer who is passionate about cities and public transit, Chris sits on the SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council and speaks often and strongly in favor of transit-friendly policies and plans. You might also know Chris from the adorable pins, stickers, Clipper card covers they’ve designed at their store, transit.supply.

Listen to their story:

Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisarvinsf, and keep up with Boat Boi @boattramsf. By far the hippest social media presence of a transit vehicle, if you ask me. Here are some of the moments that Chris mentions in the podcast episode:

Though we did not, in fact, see you all in the spring for the next Muni Diaries Live, having Boat Boi on my jacket puts a spring in my step nonetheless.

We are always looking for stories of people who make San Francisco the beautiful city it is today, on and off the rails. If you have a story to share or someone to nominate, email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Of ‘ladyspreading’ and leggings on BART with Annette Mullaney

Storyteller Annette Mullaney is a standup comic based in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle named her one of six “comics to catch” in the Bay Area. She describes her comedy as self-deprecating, feminist, existentialist, smart, vulgar, and full of big words to prove she’s been to grad school (fair, I’d do it, too). In this episode, she shares an emotional rollercoaster of a BART story that took a long time to see the light of day. But we’re so glad she worked up the courage to share.

This recording is from Muni Diaries Live in November 2019, when Annette regaled the crowd with this tale. We promise you’ll never think of feminism, laundry day, or leggings the same way. Here’s Annette:

Photo by Amanda Roosa

Law and Order, Muni Style

Muni rider Maureen Bogues didn’t think a ride back from a baby shower would be quite so eventful. Staring into screen-addicted oblivion on the way home, a mugger grabs her phone and takes off. Fueled by a combination of adrenaline and reflex, she chases after them. What would you do in this situation?

In this week’s podcast, Maureen shares the details of that eventful ride, culminating in a truly unexpected journey home.

Hear her story:

We’ve heard of other riders taking bus justice into their own hands, and while a lot of those tales had happy endings, we wouldn’t go so far as to recommend that approach. Like the bus robot says, when in doubt, “keep your eyes up and your phones down when riding a Muni vehicle.”

This podcast episode was recorded at Muni Diaries Live last month at Rickshaw Stop. But you don’t have to be a stage alum to land on our podcast; our inbox is open if you have a Muni tale to share. Pitch your story at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Photo by Amanda Roosa

Muni Diaries Live: We do it for the surprise tears

Our pre-show rehearsal is a necessary part of the live storytelling game—but it’s also a nice reminder of why we’re still collecting your stories about San Francisco commute life and, since 2017, of life all over this city we call home. We call the phenomenon surprise tears, where something universally true or poignant hits us all and then the eyes get stingy and we’re rooting around in our purse for tissue.

You’re in for a treat come Saturday. Get tickets today:

Muni Diaries Live (<- tix on Eventbrite)
Sat., April 6
Doors: 5:30 pm
Show: 6:30-8:30 pm

The Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell St (between Van Ness and Franklin)

Also! Today, April 3, is our 11th birthday: Thanks for coming along on the ride, however unpredictable and kooky it may have been, for all these years. We’d love to celebrate with you in our new home.

Pic by Right Angle Images

Muni Diaries Live: Turn up the volume

Twice a year, we take Muni Diaries out of the interwebs and into real life at Muni Diaries Live. If those stories, told to a packed crowd at the Elbo Room last Saturday are any indication, Muni is still the spot to mine storytelling gold.

Comedian Tirumari Jothi, whose tale of an out-of-this-world conversation (rings of Saturn included) had the crowd in stitches. You can see him this Friday, Nov. 10th, and the Comix Experience Outpost on Ocean Avenue.


Read more

An update on Peter Hartlaub’s 77X-Candlestick Express story

IMG_0459

Back in 2014, journalist Peter Hartlaub took the stage at Muni Diaries Live to talk about the now-defunct 77X-Candlestick Express, a.k.a., the Muni Booze Cruise. That story is featured in this week’s podcast, and for that reason, we reached out to Peter to see if he had any “episode extras” he could send us. Boy, were we (and now, you!) in for a treat.

Here’s what Peter sent us:

Hello, Muni Diaries friends,

An update since my Muni Diaries tribute to the 77X Candlestick Express:

After the Muni Diary, I ended up going to the last game at Candlestick Park with my dad Phil Hartlaub, sister Toni Kam and aunt Susan Leal. I thought that would be my closure, but I was assigned to cover the last big event at the ‘Stick, Paul McCartney’s concert. I had seats on the field, but snuck up to Upper Box Section 32, and convinced an usher to let me sit in my family seats one more time – even though they were roped off. I listened to “Live and Let Die” and “Hey Jude,” then left.

Our Candlestick seats sit in my parents’ backyard. I’ve already retained a lawyer for the legal fight for them that will ensue between me and my sister when my parents are gone.

I haven’t traveled on a Muni Van Ness line since.

Wow. I love everything about this!!! (I’m willing to overlook the football parts.)

Thanks, Peter!

Read more

1 2 3 7