Muni says sorry for serious summertime service fail

Blame it on the dog days of summer, but Muni issued an apology for its system-wide service failure, admitting that “Muni service in the past few months has been performing below our 98.5% service goal.” That’s probably putting it mildly, as earlier this summer, The SF Examiner reported that “On any particular weekday almost a hundred buses — ones meant to run — sit unused due to a lack of operators.”

[We’ll pause here for the jokes and snark.]

Mission Local obtained the missed hours of service of every Muni bus or train line for every Monday going back eight months. Some buses missed almost a third of their scheduled service time on certain days.

Thanks to this diligent local journalism, we at least know it wasn’t just our imagination. Muni’s apology included several solutions that they want to implement, such as converting part time drivers to full time and speeding up new driver training.

It is not yet clear when these measures will impact our commute, but if you do see any improvement, please let us know @munidiaries on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo by @kateconger.

Meet the woman behind NYC’s subway tweets

New York City: They’re just like us.

Not really, but they do also have a real-life human behind the service alerts (i.e. bad news) that stymie subway riders on their commutes.

Haley Dragoo writes the transit alerts New Yorkers find on the MTA’s websites, Twitter feeds, and, most recently, an app called MYmta. In this recent New York Times piece, she walks us through her experience engaging with their unique and occasionally pissed off and skeptical ridership. Sound familiar?

“O.K., bot,” someone wrote back recently when Haley Dragoo answered him on Twitter, as if Ms. Dragoo’s message had been generated by a robot. She wasted no time setting him straight: “No, I’m a real person.”

 

In fact, she is a 26-year-old who once described herself as “feisty and opinionated.” “I always keep things light and fun,” she wrote in the same biographical sketch, “and love making people laugh.”

We know that’s pretty hard, but she seems to be keeping her head up.

“I think people think it’s a lot worse than it is, this catastrophic mess all the time,” she said. “I’ve had to put a moratorium on talking about the trains with my boyfriend. We had to say no talking about the trains. He’s part of the public. They just see the bad parts. They don’t see the strides we’re making and how this information that we put out makes a difference. They’re caught up in the negative part.”

As it turns out, the NYC MTA Twitter folks work out of the NASA-like control center and everyone thinks they’re robots.

It is probably no surprise that passengers accustomed to impersonal and often unintelligible communications on the subway sometimes have trouble believing that anyone at the transit agency is actually reading their tweets.

Do you think people also write, “Hey, fuck you!” to @NYCTSubway, or is that just San Francisco?

We got to know Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero, the real humans behind the SFMTA Twitter account on an episode of the Muni Diaries podcast. They told us, “Sometimes people will tell us we’re incompetent, that we should lose our jobs, that we are a failure, and those are just some of the nicer things. Sometimes it is hard and you feel that they are coming at you.” We think that Schad, Rick, and Haley should get together for an epic Happy Hour commiserating session!

Our takeaway: Be nice out there—those humans behind @sfmta_muni might just bend over backward to find that lost item when you least expect it.

Pic by Daniel Hoherd on Flickr

Portraits of Muni and BART riders in space

We’ve all had those “anywhere but here” moments of fantasy on Muni. But artist Kevin Lewis took his commute one giant leap beyond merely a daydream. He recently finished illustrating and writing a sci-fi graphic novel/adult picture book (tentatively titled “BARTians”), featuring 70 drawings of his fellow Muni and BART passengers. Instead of portraying them staring at their phones, Kevin transformed these passengers into doing so much more, literally above and beyond planet San Francisco.

You’d think she was riding BART, but through Kevin’s creative eyes, this young lady is actually on her way to a coronation to continue (or upend) her mother’s legacy.


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Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez on riding Muni while running for mayor

When you’re a candidate in one of the most memorable elections in San Francisco, riding Muni comes with a whole host of concerns that us regulars may not ever encounter.

Big ups to Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, who told this story on the Muni Diaries Live stage in the midst of a career-changing, much-anticipated trial. Taking us back to the 2003 mayoral election—in which he was neck-and-neck with current Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, he shared why riding the bus as a politician in a highly contested race means always keeping one eye open.

Listen to his story:
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We’re celebrating 10 years of storytelling on and off the bus with our anniversary show on April 21, 2018, at the Elbo Room. Muni Diaries is a thing because everyday bus riders decide to share their commute story with us, so join our community by telling us your story today. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Plus, our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open!

Photo credit: Right Angle Images

New ways to wear your Muni pride

We’re celebrating ten years of telling stories that happen on and off the bus, so we’ve just reopened the doors to the Muni Diaries Etsy shop with brand new swag! Designed by Nate Tan at New Skool, our tee’s and onesies are back. Here’s our own Tara modeling the Muni Diaries Fast Pass tee at the Potrero Muni yard.

New this year: our new baby onesie model! All together now: Awwwww.

And if your little ones are not quite onesie-sized any more, they might like our new t-shirts for kids.

And new this year, a tote bag to carry all your commuting must-have’s.

Find all of these goodies at the Muni Diaries Etsy Shop. We’ll also be selling them IRL at the Muni Diaries Live 10th Anniversary Show. If you are wearing these Muni Diaries Fast Pass tee’s and tote bags around town, please send us a photo or tag us #munidiaries on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter so we can feature you!

Help this BART busker get back home

We’re sad to report that a popular BART station musician needs our help to get back on his feet. A few months ago, I ran into Ron Kemp at Powell BART Station, and his gentle and warm voice caught my attention as I was about to rush into the crowd of teenagers in the mall.

It turns out that Ron caught the attention of many riders, as well as Mission Local, which featured him in a story last year. Ron lived in San Francisco for almost a decade in the 90s before he moved back to Maryland. But he was so in love with San Francisco, he moved back last year.

However, the rising cost of living in San Francisco took its toll: he was homeless, living in his car and, sometimes, in a hotel. One station agent loved his music so much that he started a fundraiser for Ron. His friend also started a GoFundMe for him to help with expenses, but our city still proved to be too expensive.

As many of us know, staying in San Francisco isn’t easy, and these recent events were the last straw for Ron. In his own words on his Facebook page: Read more

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