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.
I find it stressful being the navigator in a regular car, clarifying GPS-delayed directions from the tiny machine—is it the next turn or is it the next next turn? I might as well be guiding us through the solar system.
Now imagine trying to do the same for a bus, driving through San Francisco, with strangers who definitely aren’t on a fun road trip with you.
Well, imagine no more because it happened to Hayden Miller, who joined the Muni Diaries Live stage for the first time (and hopefully not the last) in April 2022. He might be in high school, but his expertise was known to a n00b Muni operator, who leaned on that knowhow for driving directions (seriously). All ended up in some…uncharted territory.
Listen to (or watch on the ol’ Muni Diaries YouTube) Hayden’s story:
It’s been a while since we brought you a tale from the stage, so we are extra thrilled to share a podcast episode featuring a story from Muni Diaries Live on April 7, 2022. Today’s episode features Muni operator (and Muni Haiku Battle alum) MC “Mack” Allen live from Rickshaw Stop, our first show back after our long pandemic winter.
We knew him 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 (we think you’ll really enjoy the behind-the-scenes look into the journey), but MC had no idea what was yet to come. In mere weeks, he’d be briefing the entire Twitter universe about the ins and outs of driving Muni via a viral thread about the blockbuster movie, Shang-Chi. His star rising, SFGate called him the most famous bus driver in San Francisco, and we’re proud to have known him when.
If you’ve ever been to Muni Diaries Live, you know that we end each show with a “Muni Haiku Battle” where two poets battle in three rounds of poetry throw down. After a two-year pandemic hiatus from the stage, we are bringing the live show –– and the Muni Haiku Battle –– back on April 7, at the Rickshaw Stop!
On this week’s podcast, we bring you the 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 stage to defend his title):
Our 14th (!) birthday is also a few days prior, and we can’t wait to celebrate another year of that transit life with all of you.
We’re forever changed from the last two years, and we don’t anticipate to cleanly pick up where we left off in 2020. Muni has always been a litmus test for what’s happening more broadly in San Francisco, and word in The San Francisco Chronicle is that ridership hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, it’s unclear when it will. But people are still moving and shaking around this most dynamic town, and we’re here to celebrate that.
Per San Francisco guidelines, show will be vaxxed only. As of now, masks are no longer required indoors, but there is absolutely no shame in the mask game.
People can’t help but smile when they see the Boat Tram, one of the Market Street Railway’s most unique and beloved vehicles. Which is why there’s no better inanimate object to take on an entire online personality.
How timely, as the Boat Tram is back in business by Fleet Weekend for those marking their calendars, according to The Bold Italic. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays look like your best chance of a sighting or a ride going forward, but like many celebrities, their whereabouts are vague.
In honor of its return, we’re bringing you storyteller Chris Arvin, the person behind Boat Tram’s online persona, AKA Boat Boi. Tune in to hear about how Chris married a keen interest in transit with the power of the internets to turn Boat Tram into a real boy. Er. Boi.
Chris told this story at our 2019 Muni Diaries Live, the last time we were all in the room together, footloose and covid-fancy-free.
A product designer who is passionate about cities and public transit, Chris sits on the SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council and speaks often and strongly in favor of transit-friendly policies and plans. You might also know Chris from the adorable pins, stickers, Clipper card covers they’ve designed at their store, transit.supply.
Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisarvinsf, and keep up with Boat Boi @boattramsf: by far the hippest social media presence of a transit vehicle, if you ask me. Here are some of the moments that Chris mentions in the podcast episode:
Though we did not, in fact, see you all in the spring for the next Muni Diaries Live, having Boat Boi on my jacket puts a spring in my step nonetheless.
We are always looking for stories of people who make San Francisco the beautiful city it is today, on and off the rails. If you have a story to share or someone to nominate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.