8 of the most SF things that happened on Muni in 2018


We don’t have to look far to remember why we live here whenever the rent, downtown traffic, and constant fog get us down. In the last year, your stories and photos have been daily reminders of the quirky, delightful, and lovable San Francisco that we know so well. We sifted through all of your submissions this year to find some of our favorite moments in the city, as seen on and off Muni.

1. We found one sure way to avoid awkward holiday conversation, see above via @cityslickerSF

2. San Franciscans banded together during the two weeks of wild fire where N-95 masks became de rigueur.

3. Our Strange Cargo collection got a lot more adorable with this kitten-on-a-cat-tree situation.

via Bay City Beacon

4. Why did Elvis leave the building? To take Muni with six of his clones, we think.

via @sfstreets415

5. Muni went head to head with the parking enforcement officer this year on Halloween. Who will win? We’re putting $10 on the kid.

via @thenewbedford

6. Everybody rides Muni, even the parrots of Telegraph Hill.

via @jenmkirch

7. I mean, how can anyone leave cereal milk behind?

via @mr9erfan

8. Don’t die of cuteness, but this dog catching up on some Animal Planet on Muni is pretty much everything.

via @missnorasf

Ok, one more. Bonus round: “FRONT DOOR! FRONT DOOR!”

via @uknowmarcus

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry to our collective diary this year! We can’t do this without you, and we’ve been collecting your Muni and San Francisco stories for nearly a decade. If you have a story that makes you say, “this is what San Francisco is all about,” we want to know! Submit your stories and photos by tagging us @munidiaries on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or email us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

You can support the city’s original online transit journal by subscribing to our podcast or helping us on Patreon or our Etsy store where you can find Fast Pass goodies on sale right now.

‘Squeeze the chicken’: One ingenious solution to broken transit

Not that chicken.

A tip via reader Marcin W., Jannina Uribe tweeted this ingenious solution to a broken stop request from a bus in Mexico. She reports that the written message translates to: “Bell out of order. Squeeze the chicken.”

Insert any number of chicken/Muni/and choke-the-chicken jokes here.

In the spirit of international cooperation, we occasionally have a look-see at what’s happening on transit around the world, including a most Pride-ready tram in Amsterdam, these dope bus shelters in Austria, and transit etiquette guidelines from Taipei, hometown of Muni Diaries cofounder Eugenia.

Hey, important news: Muni Diaries Live is back this Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room, which is closing in Jan! We’re selling out fast so get your tickets right this way.

New fare box serves up surprising Muni transfer

Wait, what? Rider Loren Kraut got this “Jan 1, 1970” time-stamped ticket from one of the new fare boxes just the other day, and we’re paging Marty McFly for an explanation.

Yes, OK, we know it’s the UNIX Epoch (hi, nerds!), but we prefer to think this is a subtle reminder of when you could ride Muni for $0.25 while wearing your polyester bellbottoms.

If you’re curious about what the proof of payment really looked like in 1970, though, we’ve got you covered. If you were really traveling in 1970, you’d get a transfer that looks like the left-most ticket here:

The transfer used in the early 1970s was the Form 2A. This transfer was used from 1950 to about 1972, and should be familiar to many longtime San Franciscans.

Check this post out for more Muni transfer history.

Got more Muni happening to share? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open.

Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

Nail clipper spotted on Muni

…like the actual nail clipping implement, not the offender themselves.

We’ve received nail clipper shaming galore, but this may be a first. Maybe they were so busy sweeping up their own clippings, they forgot the tool used for the job. Or maybe, in a flash of much welcome self-awareness, they dismissed the idea of public nail clipping as quickly as it formed, becoming so distracted they forgot the nail clipper itself.

PSA, clipping your nails on public still isn’t OK, y’all.

h/t reader Marcin.

Got other important dispatches from the wild (and we do mean wild) for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open!

Milking a Muni seat for all it’s worth

Tracing the stories of objects left behind on Muni is a favorite pastime of ours. Going beyond the odd scarf or umbrella, we’ll occasionally get an item that begs an origin story.

A sloshy bowl of milk, spoon included, is pretty high on that list.

Maybe it’s an offering for transit-riding cats? (Don’t look at me that way, cats on Muni are totally a thing.) Could even be Part 2 of a joke that starts with “Fruity Pebbles walked into a bus…” — where the joke is ultimately on the rest of us contending with it.

Let’s just chalk it up to holiday week brain.

Thanks for sharing, mr9erfan. Anyone else have important dispatches for their fellow riders? Muni Diaries only exists because of your stories and submissions, so tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with your observations. Our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open, too.

Midnight madness on the Muni Metro M line

Steve sent us this dispatch from the M at midnight, when many of San Francisco’s creatures have gone to sleep—but not all of them.

Midnight. The platform at Powell Street is deserted except for a few derelicts and drunks. I jump on a M train outbound and take a seat near the front of the empty first car. At the next stop, Van Ness, an enormous man with a linebacker’s build and a shaved head boards. The sleeves of his grey sweatshirt are cut off to accommodate the rippling muscles of his arms that clutch plastic bags stuffed with water bottles, old clothes, newspapers and blankets. His eyes scan the rows of empty seats. Without a word, he sits beside me, his bags press against my face.

The train rocks into motion, he pulls out a yellow plastic walkie-talkie, the kind sold years ago in toy stores. Into the mouthpiece, he grunts, squeals, snorts and shouts gibberish. I lean forward and peer around the overflowing bags into eyes that are dark and intense. I raise my hand slowly in an effort to catch his attention. He shifts his gaze in my direction, but does not acknowledge me.

At Civic Center, I rise, push past the bags and exit the car. I walk quickly down the platform, step into the second car as the trains exits the station. Relieved to have escaped, I sink into a vacant seat.

‘Begone, Satan!’

I turn and see the car’s only other passenger in the next seat. He’s shriveled, hunched over with wild neon eyes, a mass of tangled hair and a wizened, tattooed face. He forms a cross with his forefingers, thrusts it at me and snarls, ‘I curse you, Spawn of Evil.’

I jump up, run down the aisle and, returning to the first car, retake my seat beside the big man, He holds the walk-talkie to his lips and rambles on in his secret language. There is much to report from Planet San Francisco.

Sometimes, taking a seat next to the guy with all the bags and the toy-store walkie-talkie is the right choice after all.

Is your own so-San Francisco story burning a hole in your pocket? Share your tale with the world by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Or, our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open!

Photo by cbcastro on Flickr

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