9th Ave: Muni is My Ride

Thursday, January 11, 2024 - 7:00pm

This event will take place at our 1231 9th Ave location in the Inner Sunset.

Cover of Muni is My Ride: Portraits of Muni in Words & images. The cover is an illustration by artist Keith Scott Ferris of people getting on and off Muni Line 54.
Join us on Thursday, January 11 at 7pm PT when we celebrate Muni is My Ride at 9th Ave!
Featuring Keith Scott Ferris, Charles Haletky, Rory O'Neill, Lia Smith, and Dustin Wells

Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online/Livestream link available soon

Praise for Muni is My Ride: Portraits of Muni in Words & Images
“The personal narratives of Muni operators provide important insights into the complexity of transit labor politics—often overlooked in sustainable transportation debates. We learn that many operators support transit first policies, and that many operators desire to live in the city that they serve, but cannot, due to the high cost of housing. Before the next budget cycle and transit plan is crafted, this book should be required reading at City Hall." —Jason Henderson, Professor of Geography and Environment at San Francisco State University and author of Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco

“If there’s anything we’ve learned about life on Muni, it’s that the interesting stuff happens along the journey, not at the destination. From the nuances of operating a bus on city streets to the small details of our rides and fellow riders, Keith Ferris and Lia Smith have captured the urban humanity within each Muni experience that knits us together.”—Eugenia Chien and Tara Ramroop, Muni Diaries co-founders

About Muni is My Ride
An illustrated book of drawings and personal narratives celebrating San Francisco’s Municipal Railway. What began as a collection of drawings of fellow passengers who caught the eye of artist Keith Ferris became a formal project that included portraits of the operators with interviews by Ferris’ partner and collaborator, Lia Smith. 

Colored pencil drawings of bus passengers, portraits of Muni operators, and B&W line drawings of bus stops accompanied by in-depth interviews of Muni operators, who detail their day-to-day realities transporting passengers throughout the city and explain what they bring to the profession. Through colorful anecdotes, operators candidly describe the frustrations and joys of serving the public, including their visions for the future of public transportation. The artist’s “meditations” provide insight into what inspired him and the challenges he faced. Includes: Index of cited San Francisco bus stops and a Glossary.

About the Readers
As a young artist, Keith Ferris was selected for the New Orleans Triennial, created a site-specific piece at the Amarillo Art Center, and helped found Trinity House Gallery, an artists’ cooperative. From 1986 until its 2021 closing, he was represented by SFMOMA’s Artists’ Gallery, showing there numerous times, with a 2005 solo in SFMOMA’s Caffé Museo, and a 2018 group show for SFMOMA Members’ Night. He has shown at Oakland’s Gallery 55, and with the Book Club Van Kleef, a Bay Area artists’ group. His focus has always been abstract oil paintings, and drawing remains foundational to his work.  

Charles Haletky was raised between the SF Bay Area and Olympia, WA. He has lived in San Francisco for thirty years. Charles has worked for Muni for twenty-one years in many roles, including bus operator, cable car grip operator, supervisor for bus, cable car, and light rail, training instructor for bus and cable car, and as a training manager. While not working, he sings in the barbershop style with the San Franciso Cable Car Chorus (not affiliated with Muni), travels, and cooks. 

Rory O’Neill has been working at Muni for eighteen years. In that time, he has been a trolley bus mechanic, a mobile response unit mechanic for the light rail vehicle fleet, and an emergency response unit mechanic responding to derailments and pedestrian collisions with trains. He is currently the supervisor of the Maintenance Training Department, where he leads a team of nine trainers responsible for educating mechanics on the repair of Muni’s fleet. In his spare time, he plays bass guitar in a local SF band. 

Novelist Lia Smith has had short stories published in national and literary magazines. While raising a daughter and working as an ESL instructor at City College of San Francisco, she completed eight novels and two collections of short stories. She retired in 2019 and now focuses on writing and submitting new work, including manuscripts of her novel Modine, about a group of homeless men in San Francisco, and A Perfect Wife. With her writing skills she advocates for public art and has project managed several community art installations, including the Alemany Island Beautification Project. 

Dustin Wells has lived all over the United States. He only works for Muni because he loves San Francisco and likes to ride around it all day. He lives in the Bayview with his two teenage daughters who wear his black Muni operator jackets as fashion statements. 


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