MORE MUNI STORIES
- "THE CHICKEN RIDES FOR FREE"
"During the 70s my friend, Rose Plant, spent much time traveling on the 35
Stockton MUNI line. Rose was an "exotic" dancer at the Lusty Lady on
Broadway where she performed using the stage name Rose of the Rio Grand. On
her most memorable trip on this bus line she was sitting near the front, and
a very short older lady was about to get on the bus near Grant Street. She
was carrying many bags from a day of shopping. As she got to the top of the
entry stairs, one of her large paper bags started to wiggle with many
scratching sounds and the unmistakable cackles of a live chicken. The bus
driver told the lady that she couldn't bring a live chicken on the bus, even
if it were in a paper bag. The little old lady didn't speak English very
well, but with a moment or two of various gestures from the driver the lady
understood what instruction he was attempting to convey. Just then the woman
took the very lively chicken out of the bag; everyone thought she had
misunderstood and was perhaps going to put a leash on the poor critter. But
to the shock of all on the bus she grabbed the chicken by the neck swung it
around once over her head snaping the feathered neck, and forever quieting
it's cackles and scratching. No one spoke a word until the woman disembarked
after a few block ride. Dinner is served."
"At the moment, I'm stuck thinking about a woman, probably in her 40s, who
I occasionally see riding the N Judah. Her name is Maggie, and she astonishes
me because of the SF Public Library books she carries. They are purely for her
recreational reading, but tend to be pretty weighty subjects such as astrophysics,
theoretical mathematics, biological chemistry, and so on. She reads them out of
pure interest and curiosity. You expect a bookworm, but when you talk to her,
she's fun, conversational, and down to earth... not what the book titles
make you expect!."
- Paul G. ( Multimedia Producer ) Duboce Triangle
- "WHAT A TURKEY!"
"I overheard a woman talking to a friend on the #15. She was talking about
work and I only slipped in and out of the conversation as I was reading a book.
As I was nearing my stop and had put my book away I heard her say, can you believe
that? For Christmas all we got was a turkey. No raise, no bonus, just a
- M. Burkart ( Bookkeeper ) SOMA
- "THE COLDEST SEAT ON THE BUS"
"On a #30 bus, I once picked a seat close to the driver thinking there would be less cold air
from other open windows. When my rear end got cold very quickly, I noticed that the seat
was over the wheel well. Those are the coldest seats! I sat on my knit cap, reminding myself
not to get off the bus without it.
-J. R. ( Designer ) SOMA
- "MIXED MESSAGES" ( a poem )
"On the streetcar,
the warning bells ring
as the conductor
raises the stairs
to the level of the
"Take your time,"
he tells me kindly,
but I am already
out the door,
down the ramp.
I don't want the
"Damn handicap girl
making me late."
Instead they say,
"Such a cute crip girl.
I feel sorry for her.
-Lori M. Rillera, a poet who lives in the Sunset and rides the N-Judah
- "THE DEFECTIVE PUNCH" ( late 60's )
"It was a big game to see how many
punches you could get on your Student card ticket.
A card ticket was a brownish - gray card good for 10
rides. Cost was 50 cents. The driver would punch your
card ticket when you got on the bus.
We would always try to get more than 10 rides by
picking drivers who didn't pay attention how many
punches were on the card.
Or we found drivers with a defective punch. If their
punch was defective, the little symbol punched out
(and there were a lot of different symbols) wouldn't
completely punch through, but hang. We would push them
back in place and get another ride. I think my record
was 15 rides, but I know others did better than that!
- Rich - ( computer programer ) Outer Mission District
- "MR. TABLE TENT"
"Years ago I used to work in coffee shop-type restaurants. Often times
the would be promoting some sort of new cocktail, pie, prime rib special, etc., and
to do this their marketing departments would print oiut either laminated separate cards
or one big foldout that would have to be assembled and put out on all the tables in the
place,; hence, the name "Table Tents." One day when
I was riding home mid-day on the subway, a man was wearing one of these types of
triangular foldouts on his head!
He didn't seem to flinch as if he was doing it for a joke, or was just dotty or
what; but no one said anything about it or tried to look directly at him! ( On a side note
there used to ge a man that lived on Cole Street that would sit out on his front steps
every day wearing a different type of costume hat! Everything from a Viking helmet to crowns
to propeller beanies! People would sit out on the steps with him from time to time and talk
to him. ) Nevertheless, this guy on the subway seemed to want no extra attention. He just
wore a table tent on his head for no apparent reason! I guess if I were feeling especially
bold that day, I would have asked him "so what's the special?" Better sense
told me not to ask.
- Jon Audron
- "THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE"
"In 2004 I was called for jury duty in San Francisco. A woman from
Oakland was suing MUNI for some reason. She and her attorney were
present during the empanelment process. The judge was asking every
potential juror what kind of experience they had had with MUNI and
almost everyone was coming up with some horror story, certain that the
judge would dismiss them. She didn't. I was called and when asked the
same question, without really thinking blurted out what I honestly
thought: "I think MUNI is the best mass transit system in the country."
And before I could say WHY I thought this was true, quicker than
lightning, the plaintiff's attorney said "This individual is dismissed."
I was disappointed. I was looking forward to telling everyone why MUNI
is so great.
- Brent Nettle, San Franciscan since 1980
- "LOST IN OBSERVATION"
"This guy boards the crowded F-line car smiling widely, with another trailing
behind who must be 7'+ tall! A black guy carrying a gigantic black trash bag
full of something - navigates uncertainly past me. I notice two guys with traveling
luggage and backpacks, huddle near the driver. Some big guy in shorts with
legs as round as my waist heisitates, then settles next to me - scrunchin my bag.
I move closer to the window while this Asian guy with badges hanging around
his neck jumps from his seat and lurches toward the front of the car to continue
his conversation with a woman who has just stepped off the trolley. Some guy sits
up front with a baseball hat with an anchor on it; his long stringy black hair
hanging down to his shoulders. I look out the window as the car moves forward
and realize - I just missed my stop."
- Paul H. ( Marketing Consultant ) SOMA - Riding the F-line down Market Street, July 20th/05 @ 2:10 pm.
- "JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIES!"
"I moved to San Francisco from a small town in Ohio in 1986 and was thrilled
to be living in a big city with public transportation. The first time I
squeezed onto the N Judah at Carl and Cole, packed with morning rush hour
commuters, I was so excited to be on a crowded train - just like in the movies."
- Brian Bringardner ( Lawyer ) The Castro
- "A COSMIC EVENT"
"Circa 1982, in autumn -
I was waiting for the Owl at about 3a.m. near the West Portal tunnel...had to
wait a long time for the bus but there was a lunar eclipse happening during those
early morning hours and it was awesome to be outside and witness the cosmic event.
For once, I didn't mind that the bus didn't come, didn't come, didn't come......"
- Ann Rose ( Registered nurse ) The Castro
- "THAT'S MY BUS COMING!"
"Having totaled my car in an accident prior to moving to San Francisco, I
heeded the word of several friends of mine who already lived here who advised
me not to have a car, if you don't need a car. This sounded sensible,
since every time I'd visited this city before, we spent the majority of
our time looking for parking spaces or paying a small fortune to obtain one.
At any rate, so I've been taking public transportation which I'm beginning to
believe is the best way to figure out a new city. Where I live, I have
to catch the bus. There is no Muni subway or Bart in the Inner Richmond.
Every morning I wait for my Express Bus to come and I when I see it, I want
to start jumping up and down and scream out, yeaah!!, that's my bus coming!!!"
- John Campbell
If you have an interesting story, email it to
me - (in plain text ONLY - NO WORD DOCUMENTS) or mail it.
Indicate how you want your credit to read, - whole name or initials,
occupation, street or area of SF where you, and the buss line you most often ride.
That adds human interest.
HOW WOULD I USE THEM?
1: On this website as examples.
2. On promotional materials for the project & show.
3. At the exhibiting of Fast Pass I plan to do a whole wall or panel, covered with "rider accounts"/stories or
what I will call "Muni Moments." I envision a panel the same size as the art - 5' high by 28' wide,
with each entry on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper in different colors. Ideally the 5x28 panels will mirror each other.
BY SUBMITTING YOU ARE GIVING ME PERMISSION TO USE THE
MATERIAL IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED FORMATS. Please also include your contact information for a thank you and
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