Late-night Muni always provides

Over on the Muni Diaries Twitter wire, readers tipped us to Michael’s late-night N-Judah Muni tale, which he captured in his Flickr account. Oh, how we miss the after hours “Temporary Autonomous Zone” on Muni, where you never know who you’ll meet or what will happen.

It was just after closing time at the bar, and two groups of skaters got on the bus along with a host of other characters. Somehow, different strangers on the bus offer our narrator drugs, booze, and a surprisingly thoughtful detail for both. Here’s Michael’s story:

Both of my preferred seats are occupied so I’m sitting in the last row + middle seat. There’s Junkie Guy to my left who is sitting in the corner seat and has turned the seat between us into his living room where all of his worldly possessions are spread out as he frantically rearranges his living space. A bunch of skaters in their 20s get on and sit in front of me and one of them starts playing a country western type song on his phone and they all start singing along to lyrics that are all about a love song to cocaine. 

Junkie Guy instantly looks up and starts asking if any of the skaters have cocaine and they’re all, “No, it’s just a song.” Then they further explained that the guy singing on the phone does not have any cocaine to share either. Sorry, Junkie Guy, false alarm.

Then another group of skaters with a case of beer get on the back of the bus. They recognize the first group of skaters and start talking about their night. I get the impression that their paths crossed earlier in the day and now they are crossing again on the Night Owl on the way home.

I really like those moments where everyone’s story comes full circle and these different storylines converge, like the end of Dazed & Confused. I also like getting to know all of my neighbors that keep the same hours that I do but are part of different scenes.

Here we all are, the disco queens, the punk rockers, the junkies, the preppies, it’s the 2AM Breakfast Club. This is where we all End Up. All the people that did not feel like paying money to take an Uber home in a timely fashion, all on the crazy train headed off into The Sunset, all in the No Man’s Land Temporary Autonomous Zone / wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the back of the bus. 

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That time when a Muni driver let me take the N-Judah for a spin

Rider Adrian Covert casually mentioned on Twitter the other day that he “drove the N-Judah once.” The driver actually invited him into the cockpit, he says. So, of course, we chased him down for the story.

Here’s Adrian’s tale:

I was about a block away from the N-Judah stop at 9th/Irving when I saw that I just missed the train. I was bummed at first, until I heard another train pulling behind it (as often happens with the N). I started running…

The train pulled to a stop just as I was running across the street. The driver, however, refused to open the door. Following a nightmare week of nightmare Muni service, I stepped in front of the train, and told the driver I wouldn’t budge until he opened the door.

He opened the door and I sat right next to him so that I could vent. He then asked, “Sir, what train is this?” I replied this was the N-Judah, and that I hated Muni. He asked again, and pointed to the sign, which read “Train out of service. Sorry, No Passengers.”

I looked around and noticed I was the only person on the train. I accepted that this was my bad, and apologized for being an ass. He said that what most worried him most was how I ran in front of the train at the intersection. He talked about how long it took trains to stop.

When we arrived at the entrance of the Carl & Cole Tunnel, he stopped the train, stepped out of the driver area (cockpit?) and asked if I wanted to drive the train. “Are you serious?” I asked. “F*ck yeah I want to drive the train.”

I sat in the driver seat, and he showed me the kill switches and levers. He said, “I want you to take the train to top speed, and then slam the brakes so you can see how long it takes to stop.” He mentioned this tunnel was safe, in that it was straight without any switches.

I took it to about 40 mph, and slammed the brakes. Took about a hundred yards to come to a complete stop, still in the tunnel. His point made, he then retook the “wheel” and let me sit in the control room with him until I got off at my stop.

We’re so glad Adrian took the driver up on his offer.

Underground (not literally but figuratively) Muni? Muni after dark? Whatever you call this genre, we want to know about it. In the same vein, Muni Diaries’ own Tara once got a private ride on an off-duty 49, straight-chillin’, cigarette-smoking operator and all. If anyone deserved it, this person did. (More than a decade later, she’s still not naming names.)

Muni Diaries is made of your stories, whether you’re in the driver’s seat or not! Submit your own tale on the bus by emailing us at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, or tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook @munidiaries.

Photo by @captum.cdxv

Strange but adorable cargo: cat tree (with cat!) on the N-Judah

Muni riders have seen it all, and we can probably all agree that cat on a leash riding Muni is totally normal, and well-behaved felines in a stroller is only slightly weird (if not completely awesome). We’d probably not even bat an eye when we see our furry overlords riding atop someone’s shoulder on Muni. But bringing a full size cat tree on the N-Judah, complete with a kitten on a leash?

We haven’t seen it all!

Behold our best strange cargo discovery yet, courtesy of the Bay City Beacon. Meet the kitten, Gizmo:

Gizmo and Gizmo’s human: our hats (and cat lady sweaters) off to you!

Thanks to rider Steve P. for the tip.

We have lots of cute animals riding Muni, as well as our strange cargo report for you to amuse yourself on this gray Monday.

Muni Diaries Live is back on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Elbo Room. Help us give the Elbo Room a proper send-off! Tickets are on sale now.

SFPD: Be on the lookout for another ‘Muni humper’

Muni humper

Update, 6:55 a.m., April 5, 2017:
The police arrested the suspect last night! According to SFPD spokesperson Grace Gatpandan, an office from the Taraval Station met with one of the victims yesterday and disseminated the photo of the suspect to Muni Division officers.

More from the SFPD:

Richmond Station officers were able to identify the suspect. Park Station officers located the suspect at Carl and Stanyan Streets and took him into custody without incident. The suspect, a 45 year old white male, is being charged with multiple misdemeanors including sexual battery, sexual battery on public transportation,‎ continuing offense of public nuisance and one felony count of false imprisonment.

The police has not released the name and photo of the suspect, and asks that anyone with more information about the case call the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message.

Update, 5:49 p.m., April 4, 2017:

Muni Diaries reader Courtney actually had an exchange with this suspect. She requests that we withhold her last name. From the Muni Diaries Facebook page, Courtney commented:

He was on the N going outbound and got on at Church and Duboce. He tried to hump two women from behind and I intercepted both times (stared at him, “accidentally” hit his hand with my umbrella etc.) and followed him through the train. He then tried to hump a woman’s shoulder who was sitting in a seat and I finally told him that he needed to give her some room. He asked why I was following him through the train and I told him it’s because “you’ve tried to dry hump about three women so far and I’m not having it.” I yelled it loud enough so the whole car could hear me and he sat down huffing and puffing for the rest of the ride while I stood beside him, glaring.

Ew! Thanks, Courtney, for the update.

Original post, 11:24 a.m. April 4, 2017:

The San Francisco Police Department is looking for a man they say is assaulting women on Muni by rubbing himself against unsuspecting passengers, ABC7‘s Lilian Kim reports:

“I felt someone banging against me,” said Michelle, who only wants to share her first name. She couldn’t believe what happened to her on the outbound N-Judah last Thursday. She says a man was rubbing against her, something she says she witnessed him doing to another woman weeks earlier, also on Muni. “I was very angry because the fact that this was the second time, me seeing the guy made me think, ‘He must do this regularly,'” she said.

Riders took photos of the suspect, posted on NextDoor.com, and police say the public should be on the lookout.

In 2009, Muni Diaries readers helped SFPD nab another man who was “humping” the shoulders of female riders. The story was originally submitted as a horrified account of an N-Judah rider; after publication, more readers came forward with similar experiences, and the police caught the suspect with your help.

If you have information for the police about the new Muni perp, here’s the SFPD tip line.

New N-Judah shuttles aim to help inbound commute

n-judah-crowded-muni-diaries-by-haynes

New shuttle loops may give N-Judah commuters some relief in their typically crowded commute. Two additional one-car shuttle loops started running this week between Cole Valley and Embarcadero Station, reports SFGate. The shuttles run during morning commute hours for inbound commuters.

Just how bad was the problem? SFMTA transit director John Haley told SFGate that a recent study found that 100 to 150 passengers every morning are left waiting for a later train at the Carl and Cole streets stop. He estimates that the shuttles can carry as many as 500 additional passengers.

The N-Judah is Muni Metro’s busiest line, carrying as many as 50,000 passengers each day, according to the SFGate report. If you are a N-Judah commuter, let us know if your morning rides have been a bit better this week, please.

Photo by Chris Haynes

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