From the literal mailbox: Quantum physics meets Pulp Fiction on Muni

Dana Grae Kane, 72, is a self-described scarred veteran of the L-Taraval, having spent 29 years on that Metro line commuting between the Sunset and FiDi. Now retired and recovering on the Oregon coast, (pass the Pinot Noir!) she graciously took the time to send us a story, via snail mail y’all, from her Muni-riding past. 

One morning in the 1990s, a young heterosexual couple sat across from me, each engrossed in reading a book.

He was about 6’4″ and 250 lbs. of muscle, dressed in a T-shit and Gorilla work jeans, arms showing serious tough-guy tattoos, wearing a hard hat and massive steel-toed boots.

Diametrically opposed, she appeared to be an archetypically fluffy delicate flower—frail, pale, and fragile—probably often suffering categorization among “dumb blondes.”

I could hardly contain my surprise and delight when I realized what each was reading. She was engrossed in something that resembled Annals of Physics published by the Max Planck Society, while he was riveted in a romance novel of lurid cover, something that could easily be called Passion Under the Plum Trees by an author named Euphorbia Spindrift.

Thus, we may, after all, be able to judge books by their covers, but not so Muni riders.

As true today as it was 20 years ago, San Franciscans rarely fit into Column A or Column B—more often than not, you’ll find that we sample a little bit of both, and then some.

Extra thanks to Matt from the Elbo Room, where we hold our live storytelling shows twice a year. Ms. Kane addressed her typed and printed story, with impeccable cursive on the envelope, to Muni Diaries Live, and Matt was kind enough to forward it on:

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,, is always open! And, for the record, so is our P.O. Box:

Muni Diaries
P.O. Box 640084
San Francisco, CA 94164

Top photo: juicyrai on Flickr

Transit news: Pedestrian-friendly L, tech shuttle hub, new BART escalator etiquette

fast pass by richard tamayo

What’s going on in the transit world? Here’s this week’s news from some of our favorite sites:

  • New proposal unveiled for pedestrian-friendly changes to L-Taraval (Hoodline)
  • SFist extrapolates what Facebook, Google, and Apple employees think of tech shuttle hubs (SFist)
  • Will public transit apps create customers or citizens? (Slate)
  • BART Considers New Approach To Escalator Etiquette For Speedier Exit (CBS Local)

This photo of colorful Fast Passes is from @richardtamayo.

Party hat departs passed-out tech bro on the L-Taraval


We’ve all been there. One, two, seven too many. Reasons to celebrate. No reason whatsoever to be doing what we did.

Few of us escaped with party hats, though. And of those, even fewer ended up on the L-Taraval recently, de-party-hatted. Friend and Muni Diaries Live veteran Katie was there, thankfully: “This tech bro had too much to drink at the office and his lil party hat fell off on the L yesterday”

Muni tests trains with fewer seats for more capacity

muni new train cars
Photo via SF Examiner

The SFMTA is testing new train cars with fewer seats in order to fit more passengers. The new test train cars on the N-Judah have seven seats in the front instead of 14, as seen in the photo above, as reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

“Normally on the aisle of the light-rail vehicle it allows for two rows of people, and no one can get in between them,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who that morning boarded the re-configured car at Ninth and Irving streets. “Now you have people holding on to the handrail and an entire row of people could file in between them. To me it seems positive.”

The idea, which Wiener first pushed for in 2011, is that two more people can fit aboard a train for every seat that’s removed. In this case, the change adds space for 10 more riders.

The single car with reconfigured seats is being deployed as part of a pilot program the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is using to gather rider feedback.

You’ll see the new train cars on the N-Judah this month, then on the L-Taraval until June 13. The SFMTA could reconfigure more train cars depending on feedback of the test.

Let’s hope Captain Morgan still finds a place to leave his foot.

Bad Eggs of the Teenage Variety on Muni

Photo by frankfarm

We threw this in the WTF: Weirdness on Muni category, but it’s not so much weirdness as what theeeee fuck. Via submitter “Ms. Over It,” we remember and wish everyone taught their kids to be good people, even when said kids get chest-puffy with their friends.

This story, unfortunately has it all: the worst of teen-on-woman harassment, theft, and what sounds like a lot of other scared passengers who sat on their hands.

I boarded the L train inbound at Taraval and 25th ave. yesterday evening after work. At the next stop a group of 6 or 7 teen boys boarded bringing foul language and disregard with them. They fought among each other, hogged multiple seats relaying emasculating phrases and homophobic accusations in the highest sound volume…this continued all the way to Forest Hill Station. When I departed the train I thought I was done with that ruckus but to my dismay the boys departed the train as well. We all boarded the elevator with a couple of other random people and half way up they hit the emergency stop button causing the elevator to jolt to a stop. They laughed and pushed each other around then hit the up button and the elevator began moving again, we were almost to the top when they did it again! I let out a frustrated sigh as I have a fear of falling and glanced at the other 2 adults on the elevator whom were also showing annoyance which I think the boys picked up on.
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