In the world of San Francisco staples, the Golden Gate Bride is the prom queen of prom queens. She’s looking great for her age as she turns 75. But, her less glamorous and often overlooked cousin is having a bigger, more important birthday.
SF Muni is turning 100!
For a century, Muni has pushed, pulled and carried San Franciscans and hordes of tourists up the steepest of hills, through the thickest of fog and to the stunning views of Coit Tower, Lombard Street, the ocean, and even to work.
The streets have never been paved with gold, but they’ve been laid with official SF Muni rail lines since 1912. From 1912 to 1943 a ride on Muni cost just a nickel. Fares didn’t hit $1 until 1992.
Although cities across the United States had streetcars similar to San Francisco’s, ours survived through the ’40s and ’50s unlike many other systems. Muni planners couldn’t figure out how to run buses through the Twin Peaks tunnel and as a result the streetcars lived on.
Nowadays buses make up the majority of the Muni system, and several lines throughout the city tackle grades in excess of 20 percent.
To celebrate the transit system’s rich history, there will be a slightly premature ceremony on April 5 outside the San Francisco Railway Museum. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Ed Lee, along with several other important political types, will welcome streetcar No. 1 back into operation.
The first official working day of SF Muni was December 28, 1912.