Muni Diaries Podcast

The Muni Diaries Podcast features stories told at Muni Diaries Live, as well as stories recorded in-studio for our spinoff project, San Francisco Diaries. To subscribe, find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or use this RSS link.

Like our theme song? Our podcast theme music is by J. W. Friedman, whose talents know no bounds. Take a listen to the full version of “I’m on the Bus” and the San Francisco Diaries theme song.

If you have your own San Francisco story you’d like to share, email us at And remember to rate us on iTunes if you like what you hear.


Newest Episode

Ep. 139: Muni’s dramatic origin story

Public transit advocate, designer and illustrator Chris Arvin shares the dramatic story of how Muni became the first public transit system in a major US city. You can find Chris at @chrisarvinsf on Twitter, and you can also shop their Transit themed merch at

Listen to their story:

Browse Recent Episodes

Ep. 138: The great loves of Sheila McElroy’s life

Sheila McElroy has spent her professional life studying, writing about, and talking about place: how our sense of it grounds us in history and provides context for how we see, move around, and make sense of the world. In this story, Sheila digs into her own personal sense of place and the role it plays in her journey.

Listen to her story:

Ep 137: When small talk pays off

What would make you take off your headphones on the bus to talk to a stranger? In this episode, storyteller Alex Randall shares how he started talking to his fellow riders, and how these “Muni chats” changed the way he looks at our city.

Listen to his story:

Ep 136: Asking the hard questions on Muni

How often do you ask yourself, “What would you do if this happened to you on Muni?” Storyteller Keli Dailey explores that very difficult question.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 135: Leading the flock of Muni converts on Halloween

Storyteller ilyse magy has hella Muni bonafides: she was the first paid “staff member” of San Francisco Transit Riders, where she helped pressure city officials to actually ride the bus. But one Halloween evening, when ilyse found herself evangelizing the value of public transit, the Muni gods had other plans.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 134: An evening with Mr. Boston, Muni operator

As a Muni operator, Mister Boston, AKA Mike Delia, has seen it all. He’s piloted many of the crosstown lines we know and love, he has been assaulted twice in the name of doing so, and he even had someone try to steal his streetcar once.

Originally from Massachusetts with an accent to match, he was bitten early by the transit bug thanks to his father, who was also a transit operator. 

Listen to his story:

Ep. 133: Searching for one long lost Muni shelter

We had a fun and wacky idea to incorporate a Muni shelter into our art show with photographer Julie Michelle, but wouldn’t you know it, it turned into a battle for the heart and soul of San Francisco.

In today’s podcast, Tara and I dive into our archives to share the backstory of how we came to briefly own a Muni shelter, and why we are still searching for it today.

Listen to our story:

Ep 132: Meet the new faces of the Muni Diaries crew

You might have seen these two awesome people who joined the Muni Diaries crew earlier this year, and in today’s episode, you’ll get to know more about our new editors, Kat Siegal and Sarah Katz-Hyman. 

Listen to their story:

Ep 131: Broke-Ass Stuart opens up about 20 years of documenting San Francisco

If you’ve lived in San Francisco for any length of time, you can’t not know Broke-Ass Stuart. Stuart Schuffman has been writing about San Francisco for two decades, and he is celebrating the occasion on Oct. 13 with a big 20th Anniversary Party

We took the opportunity to chat with Stuart to find out what’s going better in San Francisco since he started writing, how he’s grown his Patreon in challenging times, and the behind-the-scenes story of his most popular TikTok video.

Listen to his story:

Ep. 130: One unforgettable New Year’s Eve on BART

Comedian Becca Henry was born in San Francisco born and got her start on stage performing comedic burlesque before making her way into standup. You might remember her as a fierce Muni Haiku challenger in our come-back show in April. Becca said on stage that every haiku she wrote for that evening was true, so we asked Becca to tell us more.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 129: The road to forgiveness

San Francisco native and San Francisco Standard journalist Meaghan Mitchell shared a life-changing experience from her youth at a 22-Fillmore stop that touches on summer love, physical trauma, her identity as a Black woman, and more.

tw: violence against women

Listen to her story:

Ep. 128: BART Board by day, Muni superhero by night

When BART Board Director Janice Li saw a fight break out on the bus, she took matters into her own hands. But what she saw after making a public information request for the bus footage (which anyone can do, BTW) was something else entirely.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 127: The human (and her cat) who just can’t quit SF

Leaving San Francisco for parts north was no small decision for Katie Havercamp, mom of a Muni-riding cat named LeBron James, musician, and bigtime local transit and local history buff. Her experience runs the gamut of grief stages, but, thankfully for her and all of us, never settles into acceptance.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 126: Hayden Miller’s wild ride

Storyteller Hayden Miller might be in high school, but his Muni expertise was known many people, especially to this n00b Muni operator who got a little bit lost on his route. Listen to what happens when Hayden tries to give directions to the operator and ends up in some…uncharted territory.

Ep. 125: Meet the Muni operator who went viral

We knew Muni operator (and Muni Haiku Battle alum) MC “Mack” Allen from the Twitters as a transit fan and poet, but his love for the city and its transit system went above and beyond when he decided to become a Muni operator during the pandemic.

He jumped through many hoops to become a Muni operator, but MC had no idea what was yet to come. Listen to his story:

Ep 124: Two riders enter, one rider leave: it’s the Muni Haiku Battle!

In this episode we bring you the Muni Haiku Battle between comedian Wonder Dave and champion Mc Allen. Three lucky audience members were chosen randomly to vote for the winner, but the crowd behind them didn’t shy away from trying to influence their votes.

Listen to the battle here (and find out who will return to the Muni Diaries Live stage on April 7 to defend his title):

Ep 123: Returning to the stage with Meaghan Mitchell

We’ve been cooking up something for you, and it’s time to let the cat out of the bag! Muni Diaries Live is back after two years of pandemic-induced hiatus, and we can’t wait to see you!

You’ll be seeing some great storytellers, including Meaghan Mitchell, who last joined us on stage in 2019 to share a story about how her father, a Muni operator, helped her on a difficult day at school.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 122: Finding the silver lining in teach on Zoom

Educator Kelly Gregor Hartlaub had been a librarian for some time until the pandemic hit, and she was suddenly called to become a teacher on Zoom for distance learning. Her first task as a Zoom teacher? Sex education.

And that wasn’t even the hardest part.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 121: How the beloved Boat Tram became a real boi

You’ve seen the open top F-Market street car, but how did this iconic tram become a social media sensation? Designer and transit advocate Chris Arvin shares how the life of Boat Boi started on Twitter. This episode is a blast from the past from the stage of Muni Diaries Live! Listen to their story:

Ep. 120: Aruna dreams of kimchi

Aruna Lee is the founder of San Francisco-based Volcano Kimchi, whose organic kimchi and sauces are made in her “Fermentation Lab” in the Dogpatch. 

In this episode, Aruna shares the story of how she eventually came back to food, building her small business in a tough town with her childhood memories as inspiration.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 119: A print magazine of our very own: Meet the San Franciscan

Proving that San Francisco is still a place that celebrates grassroots efforts, locals Erica Messner and Amanda Legge have launched a new magazine about our city, The San Franciscan

Listen to their story:

Ep. 118: Opening night at the Rickshaw Stop

We talk to Dan Strachota, the talent buyer and managing partner at Rickshaw Stop to hear about their first indoor show. Dan shares the behind-the-scenes details of their first show (featuring local bands Zola and Zelma Stone), and all the unexpected things that happen after 16 months in hibernation.

Listen to the interview:

Ep. 117: Combating amnesia: a conversation with Shaping SF’s Chris Carlsson

What can history teach us about this pivotal moment as we drop most COVID-related restrictions in San Francisco? We chat with Chris Carlsson, the director of Shaping San Francisco about his perspective.

Chris is a writer, San Francisco historian, tour guide, and writer. He recently published his new book, “Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes and Radical Histories.”

Ep. 116: When true love leaves you in stitches

Storyteller Kathleen Auterio moved to San Francisco from Massachusetts to do new things. It was the year 2000, and everything seemed to be on track: she had an apartment, a roommate, and a job at SF Weekly managing the adult ads in the back of the paper—a job that accepted her as a proud metalhead. After meeting a new guy at the paper, though, they would soon come face to face with a relationship trust exercise involving a field hospital surgery.

Listen to Kathleen’s story:

Ep. 115: Facing my Moonies childhood in San Francisco

Storyteller Teddy Hose grew up in the Unification Church of the United States, whose followers are more commonly known as the Moonies after founder Sun Myun Moon. Teddy shares his story of returning to San Francisco as an adult to start his life as an artist. San Francisco was, ultimately, the best place for him to examine his family’s past and the imprint it has left on him today.

Ep. 114: Your 2020 commute as summarized by Muni Diaries readers

Here at Muni Diaries HQ, we usually end the year with a fun and lighthearted “Top Most WTF Moments of the Year” type of countdown. But in 2020…where do we even start? So here are some highly memorable moments from your commuter tales, in this Dumpster fire of a year.

Ep. 113: “Hearts in San Francisco” to inaugurate newest member

If you think San Francisco needs to gripe less and do more, look no further than artists Kurt Schwartzmann and Deirdre Weinberg. They’ve partnered on the newest of the Hearts of San Francisco—which have benefited the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation since 2004.

Ep. 112: Artist Paul Madonna on the “Spirits of San Francisco”

In a time when negativity might reign especially supreme, two chroniclers of San Francisco got together to create a new book that encourages people to see the familiar in a new way.

Ep. 111: What every transit rider should know about this year’s ballot

San Francisco Examiner transit reporter Carly Graf to talk about this year’s ballot measures that can change the landscape of public transportation as we know it today.

Ep. 110: Chronicle reporter shares BART busker afterstory

Swan describes the aftermath of what happened after her coverage of the anti-panhandling proposal on BART put rapper Tone Oliver in the limelight.

Listen to her story:

Ep. 109: Bailing out a rookie Muni driver

Muni operator Ricardo sheds some light on why way-too-crowded bus is sometimes followed by a nearly empty bus right behind it, and how he tried to bail out a rookie Muni driver in this predicament.

Ep. 108: Playing Muni driver, if only for a few minutes

Hear a throwback tale of simpler times when the highlight of your year is when the Muni driver let you in on a few secrets. 

Ep. 107: Painting the pandemic void, one storefront at a time

Lisa Vortman, the Co-Founder, Director of Photography, Media and Storytelling of Paint the Void, shares the story of the first mural she photographed for the project. The nonprofit has matches mural artists with over 84 shuttered storefronts.

Ep. 106: Why the SFMTA head says riding Muni is “the right thing to do”

Jeffrey Tumlin, the Director of Transportation at the SFMTA, joined us to provide his take on the upcoming Muni service expansion, and some personal insight into the more human side of our municipal transit system.

Ep. 105: SF Neon historians in search of an iconic sign

Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan are the creators of San Francisco Neon, an organization that advocates for our city’s vintage neon signs. Here’s their story:

Ep. 104: Missing the Muni madness that connected us all

Amanda Staight, stalwart San Franciscan and Muni fan, put her thoughts on Muni in the pandemic into verse for our podcast.

Ep 103: One day, I found you on Muni

How often do you let a moment of connection pass you by? Rider Wil shares a conversation with a stranger on the bus.

Ep 102: how one Bernal shop survived through the decade

Secession Art and Design’s Eden Stein tells a story about one evening when a man walked in, intending to rob her store.

Ep 101: Discovering the Secret Alley

It all started when a couple of friends found themselves at a quirky sci-fi film set. Cofounder Noel von Joo shares how the Secret Alley became a surprising gathering place.

Ep 100: A new anthem for Muni riders

Oakland-based songwriter Jefferson Bergey wrote a new song called “Give Up Your Seat” just for Muni Diaries.

Ep 99: “My little hat” on multicultural Muni

Rider Timo shares a story about the time when someone on the bus asked him why he was wearing his yarmulke.

Ep 98: When the entire bus stood up for you

Rider Teresa submitted a story of how a group of women banded together when they saw another woman in a bad situation. 

Ep 97: Walking San Francisco’s 49 Miles Scenic Drive

Kristine Poggioli and coauthor Carolyn Eidson became the first people known to have walked San Francisco’s historic 49 Mile Scenic Drive over the course of a year.

Ep 96: San Francisco Diaries: New year, new way to practice kindness 

Two years ago Andrea Carla Michaels found her calling as “Pizza Lady” and you can find her daily in the alleys off lower Polk Street.

Ep 95: Of ‘ladyspreading’ and leggings on BART 

Comic Annette Mullaney shares a BART story that took a long time to see the light of day.

Want more Muni Diaries podcasts?

Go to 2019 Podcast Archive | 2018 Podcast Archive | 2017 Podcast Archive