Muni Diaries in the News

Muni Diaries is making local and national news, and partnering with awesome people all over town!

Pic by Noah Berger for The San Francisco Chronicle

“Collectively, in San Francisco, there were all these things that we live here to do that we couldn’t do anymore,” said Tara Ramroop, co-founder of Muni Diaries. “The fact that those were just surgically removed from our existence in San Francisco made the pandemic even tougher. When you can’t bond with strangers over all these silly things we get together to do, it makes it feel even lonelier.”

When she decided to stage Muni Diaries Live again, she worried people wouldn’t come. Maybe they weren’t ready to gather in person after so much isolation. She was dead wrong — and the show quickly sold out.

  • “A peek inside SF’s living room: Muni Diaries founders talk about how it all started” – San Francisco Chronicle

For 11 years now, Muni Diaries co-founders Eugenia Chien and Tara Ramroop have been tapping San Francisco’s bus-riding community for tales that both restore and destroy faith in humanity. It’s not always easy running the blog, whether they’re dutifully shaming nail clipping-bus riders or hypothesizing the origins of that mysterious bowl of cereal milk abandoned in the seat next to you. But it’s definitely always interesting.

Peter Hartlaub and I will live and breathe Muni for one day on April 30. But it could be worse. Eugenia Chien and Tara Ramroop have lived and breathed Muni for 10 years.

They’re the founders of Muni Diaries, which started as Chien’s student project at San Francisco State University and quickly became a popular website and semiannual live show at the Elbo Room.

Muni Diaries Live is the onstage storytelling series in which everyday transit riders share (hopefully) hilarious and poignant stories about their Muni and BART experiences. The theme lends itself to frequent mentions of broken buses and human waste, but at the heart of the series is a begrudging love of Bay Area public transit.

Riffs about eating, fingernail clipping and other unsavory behavior inspired the creation seven years ago of Muni Diaries, a website and Twitter account that gather the horrifying, amusing and just plain odd experiences of the Bay Area’s public transit passengers. There’s now a BART Diaries Twitter account, too.

If you live in San Francisco, sooner or later you’re probably going to have to take a Muni bus. And during that bus ride, you may chance upon a story. And that story might be romantic … or revolting … or remarkable in one way or another. Worthy of recording. Well that’s exactly the idea behind a San Francisco blog called the “Muni Diaries.” KALW’s Audrey Dilling went to a Muni Diaries event and brought back this report.

If you’ve been riding Muni long enough (or even just today), you’ve seen some pretty weird stuff. And you’ve probably sent pictures of that stuff to Muni Diaries, which’s been chronicling the most “WTF” Muni stories for six-plus years, including these 14… which they’ve dubbed the most “WTF” ones since 2008.

Complaining about riding the bus is sport in San Francisco. So when we started Muni Diaries, a website documenting stories that happen on public transit, there was a high chance that our website could devolve into a cesspool of whining and bigoted rants.

But the exact opposite happened: For the last three-and-a-half years, our readers have contributed the majority of the content on our site, and we’ve turned a significant slice of the transit-riding population in San Francisco into our contributor base.

Muni Diaries is one of the local blogs we like around here…Last week I interviewed one of the editors, Jeff Hunt, about the site, about Muni itself, and about some memorable user posts.

Ah Muni. A friend when it comes on time, our greatest foe when it’s nowhere to be found. Anyone who’s ever been on Muni has a story to tell, and those of us that use it as our regular transportation are part of the “bus community.” Eugenia Chien and Jeff Hunt created the website Muni Diaries after presenting the idea for a school project. The site went from a place where a few people were sharing their Muni tales to packing The Makeout Room with live events.

Events and Partnerships

– “Live Show: First Inaugural Bad Books Party” – I Don’t Even Own a Television Podcast.

From audience-provided oddities to the long-awaited appearance of probably the most-requested book in the show’s history, this is an action- and guest-packed hour or two you won’t want to miss. Thanks to all our amazing guests: Eugenia from the Muni DiariesLauren and Niko from Sunday School DropoutsLauren Parker, and Lemon from the F Plus.

– “Nerd Nite SF #77: Fast Passes, Reality Capture, & Corpse Bride” – Nerd Nite San Francisco.

Remember the good old days, when people flashed their Muni Fast Passes, took selfies with collodion wet plates, and, um, dug up their dead mistresses and crowned them queen? No? Well, come refresh your memories, slake your thirst, and sate your hunger with talks, booze, and bao, respectively. Add the usual aural (DJ Alpha Bravo) and biblio (SFPL) support and you have Nerd Nite in a nutshell. Be there and be square!

– Muni Diaries join forces to chat about real time public transit data at SXSW! Our panel: Sexy Data Solutions for Public Transit Systems.

The amount of transit-related information that needs to be disseminated is tremendous. This panel will discuss: 1) How riders have created their own sources and channels for breaking news and providing current information. 2) The newest platforms chosen by official transit agencies for getting information out, and why some work better than others. 3) How crowd-sourced information can help create “smart cities”? 4) Ways the public can apply similar tactics to other areas in their cities.

– “A Live Muni Haiku Battle in Clarion Alley” – LITQUAKE (our coverage).

Three poets gathered at Clarion Alley to throw down their hottest Muni haikus against the reigning champion on Saturday night. About 200 of you witnessed the spectacle of the first-ever Muni Haiku Battle at Lit Crawl.

I Live Here: SF x Muni Diaries photo exhibitSOMARTS.

Come to SOMArts Main Gallery from 5:00pm to 8:00pm for drinks and share your Muni stories under the Muni bus shelter! Muni Diaries, in conjunction with I Live Here:SF and SOMArts, will be collecting your Muni stories for a digital story capsule.

For one night, SOMArts will become a space for you to record your own Muni story for a digital story capsule. We will be on hand to record your story, whether it’s audio, video, text, or art, in the Muni Diaries story booth — under a real Muni shelter. This was a really amazing feat, thanks to the help of SFMTA.

– “In Transit Photography Exhibit w/ Muni Diaries” – Harvey Milk Photo Center.

In celebration of Muni’s 100th anniversary, Harvey Milk Photo Center and Muni Diaries present In Transit, featuring the top Muni-centric photographs and stories from commuters like you.

The opening reception on November 30 will feature Muni Diaries’ Rename Your Muni Line game, a photo booth, DJs, and a surprise or two. Bring your own Muni photo to include on our wall of commuter contributions and win a novelty slide viewer door prize! See the various featured images in the gallery below.

– “Endanger Bus” – Bay Nature.

Endangered Species is an art project that moved through San Francisco on public transit. Images of animals make the connection that habitats (homes and cities for people, wetlands, woods, and meadows for animals) need protection, attention, and care. Public transportation is an endangered species too, but it is also an agent of conservation and an expression of community.

First Spotted On Muni Diaries

– “Bus parties and bonnet-wearing bunnies: The best of Muni Diaries” – SFGate.

Nine times of ten, when Eugenia Chien or Tara Ramroop tells someone about what they do, their first response is, “Oh, I have a story.” And they’ll want to tell them about it.

– “A prankster is posting extremely San Francisco signs on Muni” – SFGate.

You may have noticed your Muni bus suddenly became gluten-free.
But alas, eating your bus won’t be a gluten-free experience; the new Muni signs are the work of a prolific prankster, whose work is being found all over town…The signs were first spotted by Muni Diaries. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the whimsical work.

– “Muni passenger: ‘I witnessed a miracle’” – SFGate.

We know what you’re thinking. A Muni bus, train or streetcar that doesn’t derail, get into an accident, turn into a mobile Fight Club or run late would be a miracle.

In fact, the marvel this Muni Diaries writer observed takes place aboard a delayed 33-Stanyan… When the bus finally arrives, Greg hops aboard and lo and behold, he’s greeted by Tammy. She’s the driver. She’s SMILING. And she’s offering candy like a homeowner on Halloween.

– “The Fabulous Iguanas of San Francisco Public Transit” – CityLab.

The site Muni Diaries has done a wonderful job chronicling the iguana invasion of San Francisco’s public transit. One of the first documented sightings turned out to be an honest-to-goodness service animal named Skippy

– “Bart Simpson Graffiti Tagged On 20 Muni Shelters, Other Spots Around SF” – Hoodline.

Local transit riders are having a cow about some new graffiti that’s popping up on Muni bus shelters and other spots all over town.

Initially reported by Muni Diaries, the Bart Simpson tags have been sent to our inbox by tipsters, as they proliferate around town.