Update: Semi vs. Muni — Were You There?

Photo by @mikepreuss

Update (2:17 p.m.): More from our eyewitness and picture-taker: these vehicles were definitely touching and not moving at the time this photo was snapped, he says. Geographic location — and a commenter below — indicates that something’s directionally amiss. Still wondering what happened if anyone knows.

Rider @mikepreuss witnessed an accident between the 30-Stockton and a semi a little after midnight Friday morning. This looks to be around Chestnut and Pierce. Were you on this bus or near the scene? Let us know what you saw. Hope everyone was okay.

Was something in the air this morning on Muni?

Jet Set Operator
Photo by Todd Lappin

We saw several tweets this morning mentioning friendly, efficient Muni operators. Perhaps the Rapture is today, not Saturday? In any case, we’re seeing staggering evidence of the world going kablooey any second now.

To whit:

Muni driver greeted me with a smile, “good morning sir, everything good today.”. #5578 rt. 30 you are an example.@sgharms

I think I might have boarded Muni airline 30x. Busdriver said that we might expect sunny weather on the other side of the broadway tunnel. – @bmson

This #Muni driver is entirely too cheery for his AM 30x clientele. Not complaining–it beats the usual driver surliness.@sfkatya

After I filled out a scathing survey on MUNI, this lovely T-Line driver waited for me as I ran for the train. Karma?@katinaminer

This makes us wonder: If the operators union were to craft a totally coordinated, skillfully executed PR campaign to be friendly and efficient, would it change your opinion of the system as a whole?

And keep up the good attitudes, Nice Drivers.

Bring Extra Seating On Muni

Rider John C. saw a passenger with a curious-looking cargo. Read on:

I was groggy and grumbling a little bit on Monday, not only because I had to work on President’s Day but also because Muni was likely running on a Saturday or Sunday schedule. I reluctantly hopped on a 30-Stockton for the longer ride into Chinatown, planning to walk down Clay Street to work.

Once we reached Stockton and Columbus, an older gentleman ambled onto the train carrying some sort of tall black metal or plastic apparatus, a pinwheel, and a few helium balloons on string. It was the balloons which first got my attention. President’s Day, a joyous holiday I’m sure for a few history buffs out there, isn’t a holiday I typically associate with party favors.

At the point when the gentleman paid his fare and shuffled back toward me, the bus was full in terms of seating capacity and probably about 20% full in terms of those of us who were standing. He had some difficulty keeping his whole package together, and I soon saw why – the black bulky thing he was holding was a tall stool.

He set his stool down next to the occupied second row of frontward-facing seats and hopped onto it, converting his row into a row of 3. (Perhaps he knew that this is the row with the most legroom…you can tell I had spent much of the prior day in United Economy cabins.) He then deployed his pinwheel and balloons and started an incoherent lecture on how people needed to stay out of his way because he had a bad back. This went on as we proceeded down Stockton until I took the blurry shot I’ve included here. Sorry for that, it was a moving bus after all.

Once we reached Clay Street, a bunch of us moved to exit. Our stool-sitter had to get up and move out of the way in order for all of us to get out and he was not happy about it. He harrumphed loudly until one of the last women to exit said, “you know, that’s about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a MUNI bus. That’s a great idea.” I wasn’t thinking anything close to that, but I think it made his day as he immediately stopped complaining and let us all leave. I pictured him getting off at Market St. and transferring to BART, lording over a train to Fremont. Or maybe he set up shop somewhere with his balloons and pinwheel. Did anyone else see this guy on President’s Day?

Who Can Outwalk Muni: SF Examiner or Willie Brown?

Photo by Mike Koozmin/Examiner

Who can walk faster than Muni? Intrepid SF Examiner reporter or Da Mayor?

SF Examiner transportation reporter Will Reisman says that the 30-Stockton is his nemesis, and he took on a personal challenge: “To exact revenge, I decided to best the 30-Stockton, on foot, covering a distance from the bus stop at Pacific Avenue and Stockton Street to Market Street.”

You might remember another man attempting a similar challenge to best the bus. In September 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Mayor Walks, Muni Runs“:

The race began at the Civic Center station at 7:40 a.m. Brown, stung by a Chronicle story on Tuesday that said walking down Market Street was as fast as riding beneath it, said he wanted to give the Municipal Railway another chance. He donned his sharpest Panama hat, Rockport wingtips and orange polka-dot hankie for the jaunt.

Looking at young Mr. Reisman, I can only surmise that his gait may be faster than the mayor and that he may be wearing footwear more appropriate for power-walking than Willie’s wingtip shoes. You can read more about Reisman’s trip at SFExaminer.com.

Time Running Out to Cover This Muni Shelter with Stories

Muni shelter at SOMArts

You have three days left to take over this 30-Stockton Muni shelter at SOMArts with your witty stories. What are you waiting for?

You might already know that we scored a real Muni bus shelter for Julie Michelle’s I Live Here:SF exhibit at SOMArts this month, thanks to the generosity of the SFMTA. You can see photos of the bus shelter being delivered over at I Know Alyssa Jones.

On the bus shelter, we’ve provided some blank story cards so you can write your own Muni story and post it (yes, on real paper!). You can also caption some fun Muni cartoons by Michael Capozzola, who draws “Surveillance Caricatures” in the San Francisco Chronicle’s 96 Hours section.

We’ll be posting some of the stories and cartoon captions from the gallery here on Muni Diaries. I already saw some funny anecdotes and captions when I was at SOMArts this Saturday. So get over to the exhibit for Julie Michelle’s amazing photography, Chris Rusak‘s text-based art, and Rick Prelinger‘s Lost Landscapes film, and partake on a little Muni fun.

SOMArts (934 Brannan between 8th and 9th Streets) will be open this Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m., and then Tuesday, Nov. 30, for the closing night reception.

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