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

Eyes open and elbows cocked: Muni ‘humper’ on the 48

Muni rider Kyle tipped us off to some upsetting news: it appears another Muni humper is on the loose. As Kyle said in his Facebook post:

This disgusting POS was high as a kite and humping the bus, then tried to move onto a couple of women standing next to me. I managed to pull one of the women away. The other was not as lucky, although she did call him out! He exited the bus (48 quintara) at the next stop. Warning: video shows him humping the bus just before he moved over to the first woman.

Kyle’s public post includes the aforementioned video.

Earlier this year, rider/reader Courtney recounted her one-on-one with a Muni frotteur for us—a suspect was arrested shortly thereafter. In 2009, Muni Diaries readers helped SFPD nab another man who was “humping” the shoulders of female riders. That story started as a horrified account from an N-Judah rider; after publication, more readers shared similar experiences that helped point police in the right direction.

Sure, we all giggle like 10-year-olds over the word “humper,” but all transit riders should note that this is a serious, illegal, and absolute bullshit proclivity. We’re sad to see that it’s still happening today.

If you have information for the police, here’s the SFPD tip line.

Cool Muni t-shirts for the proud transit rider

Ever feel like: sometimes you can’t live with Muni, but other times you can’t live without it? Boy, do we know that feeling. If you’re on the lookout for the shirt that perfectly describes our love-hate relationship with Muni, we’ve found a new batch of local shirt makers for you.

Above: Studio Nico Muni Transfer shirt, $26 (get them while you still remember what paper transfers look like!). Read more

New Muni fare boxes serve up receipt-like new transfers

First, we lost those colorful Fast Passes. Then, we try to forget that paper transfers are on their way out. But honestly, we can’t pretend any more: the new Muni fare boxes are being installed and increasingly seen on buses in the wild. Reporter Joe Fitzgerald at the Examiner just saw one this evening, serving up less-than-pretty transfers that kind of look like receipts:


Photo credit: San Francisco Examiner

To be fair, we’ve been talking about this since, oh, 2015, and the new fare boxes (and new transfers) are designed to provide faster boarding, amongst other benefits. SFist has the scoop on how this all came to be:

“One of the biggest changes beyond having a more modern fare box is the old tear-off transfers are a thing of the past. The fare boxes will generate a printed transfer, or printed proof of payment, which has a big safety benefit for our operators,” [SFMTA Director of Transit Ed] Reiskin gushed to the SFMTA board.

I guess we can say goodbye to the unexpected delight when a generous driver gives you a Late Night transfer a few hours early. And forget about holding the bottom of your transfer to try to get by (Driver Doug will call you out, in any case, as he explains on our podcast episode recently).

For now, if you collect enough transfers in the next couple of months, you might still be able to make one of these nifty, soon-to-be-extinct craft projects:

Now and then: Muni transfer art
How long is this giant Muni transfer good for?
More Cool Muni Transfer Art

Or you could permanently commemorate how much you love the paper transfer like this impressive tattoo.

What it’s like to be the humans of the SFMTA Twittertron

San Franciscans take their right to complain about Muni very, very seriously. Your colorful commentary runs the gamut between long-form pieces on the state of humanity and a well-timed (or ill-timed, as the case may be) tweet: “Fuck you, Muni!”

We get them all the time at @MuniDiaries, and we feel your pain. But it may soften those sharp edges to know that there are actually three people (not robots!) at the SFMTA whose job is to respond to an often irate public. We tracked down these most-patient humans, got them into our podcast studio, and asked them: What’s it like to be on the receiving end of our ire?

As it turns out, it’s not all terrible. In today’s Muni Diaries podcast, SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero tell us all about what it’s like to run the @sfmta_muni feed and to respond to your Muni complaints and real-life crisis — everything from violent crimes to a lost scarf.

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. Sometimes people are like, “Hey Muni, F-U!”

But they won’t brush you off:

And you’d to check to see if there was some follow up you might have missed. We do our research: is there more to this thread? And usually it’s somebody who has to vent. A lot of times I’ll message back to see if there is something we can help with.

Listen to the whole interview with SFMTA’s Schad Dalton and Rick Banchero in today’s Muni Diaries podcast:
iTunes
Google Play
Download

You can find Schad, Rick, and their colleagues at @sfmta_muni.

Photo by @stonymcrock

 

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