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

Applause-worthy way to combat prejudice on Muni, especially during Pride…

Yesterday I crossed over. I became one of “those people,” the ones who fail to pretend not to hear the crazy shit that people say on public transportation.

“White people always pay their fare,” white dude sitting across from me said. Loudly, because I could hear it through the music I was listening to in the earbuds. He said it again. “White people always pay their fare.”

“That’s not true,” I said.

He looked shocked and surprised that someone had responded and that someone was me.

The conversation continued as you might expect: “What country are you from?”

“I was born here.”

“I wasn’t raised a racist. I’m not racist. I’m not prejudiced. Are you?”

I confessed that sometimes I did harbor some prejudices and that I thought most people did.

“Speak for yourself!” He said.

He had the gall to try to cozy up to me by talking up our shared historical cultural experiences (because railroad building apparently), trying to create an “us vs. them” connection, presumably “us vs. other black and brown people.”

And then when he figured out that I was a “bleeding heart,” he started accusing me of being someone who would hire a bunch of “illegals from China” if I could, [just] to undercut his wages.

“In America,” he said, “we don’t live like they do.”

“I’m tired of hearing you,” piped up a young white man from the back of the bus to this dude.

“This is America. This is my First Amendment right,” the dude said.

“Well, it’s my First Amendment right to tell you to shut up.”

“Fuck you!”

Angry dude starts to get off the bus and young dude in the back of the bus said, “It’s also my right to do this!” and began sexily kissing his boyfriend sitting next to him.

Angry dude starts screaming, “F____t!” But the door of the bus has closed, and we’ve started moving.

It was the weekend of Pride. 

Photo and story submitted by Shirley Huey on Instagram.

Oh, that sweet, sweet bus revenge as the back door closed in on the angry dude—and on Pride weekend, too!  Thank you to rider Shirley for submitting this tale. It’s good to know that your fellow riders have your back.

For another tale of homophobia and other F-bombs on the bus, check out former Muni haiku champion Jesse James’s story about his Little Mermaid backpack. And, for other empowering bus justice tales, tuck into the time when an unwelcome hand wandered the wrong direction, or when someone tried to body shame another passenger.

Our commutes are a mere microcosm of life in San Francisco, and we are always looking for your stories to round out the experience. Add your own diary to our collective online journal by tagging us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

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

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.

That time when a Muni driver let me take the N-Judah for a spin

Rider Adrian Covert casually mentioned on Twitter the other day that he “drove the N-Judah once.” The driver actually invited him into the cockpit, he says. So, of course, we chased him down for the story.

Here’s Adrian’s tale:

I was about a block away from the N-Judah stop at 9th/Irving when I saw that I just missed the train. I was bummed at first, until I heard another train pulling behind it (as often happens with the N). I started running…

The train pulled to a stop just as I was running across the street. The driver, however, refused to open the door. Following a nightmare week of nightmare Muni service, I stepped in front of the train, and told the driver I wouldn’t budge until he opened the door.

He opened the door and I sat right next to him so that I could vent. He then asked, “Sir, what train is this?” I replied this was the N-Judah, and that I hated Muni. He asked again, and pointed to the sign, which read “Train out of service. Sorry, No Passengers.”

I looked around and noticed I was the only person on the train. I accepted that this was my bad, and apologized for being an ass. He said that what most worried him most was how I ran in front of the train at the intersection. He talked about how long it took trains to stop.

When we arrived at the entrance of the Carl & Cole Tunnel, he stopped the train, stepped out of the driver area (cockpit?) and asked if I wanted to drive the train. “Are you serious?” I asked. “F*ck yeah I want to drive the train.”

I sat in the driver seat, and he showed me the kill switches and levers. He said, “I want you to take the train to top speed, and then slam the brakes so you can see how long it takes to stop.” He mentioned this tunnel was safe, in that it was straight without any switches.

I took it to about 40 mph, and slammed the brakes. Took about a hundred yards to come to a complete stop, still in the tunnel. His point made, he then retook the “wheel” and let me sit in the control room with him until I got off at my stop.

We’re so glad Adrian took the driver up on his offer.

Underground (not literally but figuratively) Muni? Muni after dark? Whatever you call this genre, we want to know about it. In the same vein, Muni Diaries’ own Tara once got a private ride on an off-duty 49, straight-chillin’, cigarette-smoking operator and all. If anyone deserved it, this person did. (More than a decade later, she’s still not naming names.)

Muni Diaries is made of your stories, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not! Submit your own tale on the bus by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Photo by @captum.cdxv

Stilt-walking Muni transfers at Carnaval = antidote for SF ennui

Carnaval this weekend offered up plenty of antidote for those of us tired of the “San Francisco is doomed/losing its soul/breaking your heartmeme. Our favorite is this group of young people who decided to turn their love for San Francisco up to 11. Not only did they dress up as old-school Muni transfers, they are also walking on stilts because, why not?

From the video, it looks like there is also a 14-Mission bus in costume at the parade. We would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the planning of this costume idea.

Thank you Rene and Cara on Twitter for pointing us to this latest ode to public transit! It’s certainly not the first bit of Muni transfer love we’ve gotten over the years. Alongside its Fast Pass cousin, the transfer is a well-established piece of transit ephemera, tattoo subject (the barometer for truly making it into the cultural canon around here), and source of existential outrage when news came about its environmentally necessary end.

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open, too.

1 2 3 4 178