I find it stressful being the navigator in a regular car, clarifying GPS-delayed directions from the tiny machine—is it the next turn or is it the next next turn? I might as well be guiding us through the solar system.
Now imagine trying to do the same for a bus, driving through San Francisco, with strangers who definitely aren’t on a fun road trip with you.
Well, imagine no more because it happened to Hayden Miller, who joined the Muni Diaries Live stage for the first time (and hopefully not the last) in April 2022. He might be in high school, but his expertise was known to a n00b Muni operator, who leaned on that knowhow for driving directions (seriously). All ended up in some…uncharted territory.
Listen to (or watch on the ol’ Muni Diaries YouTube) Hayden’s story:
It’s been a while since we brought you a tale from the stage, so we are extra thrilled to share a podcast episode featuring a story from Muni Diaries Live on April 7, 2022. Today’s episode features Muni operator (and Muni Haiku Battle alum) MC “Mack” Allen live from Rickshaw Stop, our first show back after our long pandemic winter.
We knew him from the Twitters as a transit fan and poet, but his love for the city and its transit system went above and beyond when he decided to become a Muni operator during the pandemic.
He jumped through many hoops to become a Muni operator (we think you’ll really enjoy the behind-the-scenes look into the journey), but MC had no idea what was yet to come. In mere weeks, he’d be briefing the entire Twitter universe about the ins and outs of driving Muni via a viral thread about the blockbuster movie, Shang-Chi. His star rising, SFGate called him the most famous bus driver in San Francisco, and we’re proud to have known him when.
We will absolutely squeeze as much mileage out of that joke as we can, sorry not sorry.
Almost exactly two years after canceling our 2020 show and thinking we might be up and running by the summer (LOL), we finally brought Muni Diaries Live back to the Rickshaw Stop last week. We celebrated our 14th (!) birthday with another sold-out crowd—no small feat after isolating ourselves for two years—and man, it felt great to hear stories in real life.
People 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.
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 email@example.com.