"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
"( a note attached to a collection of donated Fast Passes )
"The story of these passes is my life - living in SF and going to school
at UCB, and of deciding - while riding on all this transit ( Muni, Bart, AC Transit )
that instead of getting a doctorate in classical history, that I ought to become
a transportation planner. And so I have."
-John R. ( transportation planner ) 25th St.
"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
"VIEWS FROM THE 45"
"As the 45 slowed down I looked up from my book to the street. A young woman
takes an appraising look at herself in a store window. Well dressed couples
wander into Maiden Lane - it's such a "natty" well groomed area - much like
Carmel. A smartly dressed elderly couple plods carefully across the
street, arm in arm in front of I Magnum. He wears a brown 1940's style hat
and scarf around his neck, his cane over his arm. They more slowly and gracefully,
obviously aware of their fragility. Two out of four pssers by are talking on
cell phones which appear to be stuck to the side of their head.
-John Kuzich. ( artist )
"SHOPPING ON THE F-LINE"
"I was on one of the old F-Line cars. The woman accrosed from me was talking
on her cell phone with her husband who was grocery shopping. She
became increasingly upset as the conversation progressed - her voice increasing
in volume. At one point she became very agitated and being oblivious to all
around she yelled "where are you standing" ( pause ), "no, not in front, not
those, no not the hot links - the sausages! No, no God dam it - the sausages!"
-Tom S. ( Car wash operator ) Diamond Heights
"Just wondered if you can somehow use this little urban song, a bit of insistent
call and response, that happens almost every day on the 24 Divisaderdo and makes
me smile...sometimes I participate, sometimes I just listen:"
"Back Door!?... Back Door!?"
"Step Down! ...Step Down!"
-Kerry Parker ( Administrative Assistant ) - Noe Valley
"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
"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 hesitates, then settles next to me - scrunching 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.
"THE RECIPE BOX"
"When I moved here in June 1974 I would ride the streetcars to the end of the
route and then back. It was a cheap and easy way to get to know the layout of
the city. Also, I knew if I could find a streetcar track I would be able to get
home. I lived in the Castro area so all the streetcars would be close by -- including
the N Judah and the J Church.
I have been putting my old passes in the back of my recipe box for years.
I don't know why I saved them but I knew I had to."
- Carey O
"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
"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.
-M. R. ( Designer ) SOMA
"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."
- Sam L
"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 F---ING TURKEY!."
- M. Burkart ( Bookkeeper ) SOMA
"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
"For about 14 years I commuted daily on the underground from Castro station
to the financial district. In that period, of course many people became
familiar, those who commute at similar times every day, especially in the
morning. There was a man named George, whom I had met once at a French
speaking social gathering. After that we would exchange hellos on the commute.
We never got to know each other, but I've always been one for a pleasant hello.
One morning George was at the turnstile, when I arrived, and he had forgotten
his wallet. He asked me for a dollar, and without thinking twice, I gave it
to him. As fate would have it, we stopped crossing paths on the commute. I
never gave it a second thought. There were lots of people to see often and
to never see again.
About two years later, there was George on the train
platform, his hand outstretched, approaching me with a dollar. I was really
surprised. A forgotten loan to a near stranger, but it was on his conscience
and the moment he saw me he wanted to close the books on that debt!"
- Ron Hirsch ( commuting from Castro station to the financial district )
"As we rolled through the Church and Market intersection on the Milan car
( I love those old orange cars!) I thought of Jack (my black "Halloween Cat")
and smiled to think of how thick his winter coat has become. It makes him
look bigger than he really is. Summertime he's pretty slim."
-Sandy ( student ) Page Street & riding the #15
"I never buy a newspaper to read. But when I started commuting, I would
invariably see all sorts of interesting articles in the paper which was
being read by the person seated in front of me. I learned to read fast,
as they would often turn the page before I could finish, so I was often
frustrated. I tried not to be conspicuous as I looked over their shoulder."
- Ted M. ( computer programmer ) Noe Valley
"Seven years and 3,000 miles away from high school I ran into my senior prom
date on the 30 Stockton. I was on my way home from my new job in the dot-com
heyday when this guy got on who I swore looked just like my senior prom date.
"Nah" I thought. "That was in Connecticut. I would have heard of someone if
he moved here." Regardless as he walked down the aisle closer I couldn't
escape the thought that it must be him. So meekly and fast I said "John?"
He didn't seem to notice so I thought maybe I was wrong. Then I turned around
to see him sitting near the back and gave him the biggest smile. "Wendy ???
What are you doing here?" We both immediately got up and shared a big hug
in the isle. We've been close friends every since."
-Wendy - Bush Street & riding the #15