Vintage Slowdown: Muni Faster in 1912

A century later, Muni slows down

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Charles Haynes

    A trip in the time machine would mean getting to work faster.

    Muni's average travel times were faster in its first year of operation in 1912 than they are today, according to the Bay Citizen, which compared the vintage model San Francisco Municipal Railway to today's modern edition.

    For example, a trip from Market Street to the Marina took 17 minutes in 1920, the Bay Citizen reported. A trip on the 30-Stockton today will take you at least a half hour.

    Blame the car.

    Roads carried streetcar and limited automobile traffic, according to the Web site. Today, cars rule the road, and the accompanying traffic jams, stop signs and red lights mean a crowded road is slow-moving indeed.

    Muni's first rides were streetcars from downtown to the beach, the Bay Citizen reported. That ride went from the Ferry Building to Ocean Beach in 35 minutes -- for a nickel. A $2 trip on the 38-Geary now takes nearly an hour.

    The city is more crowded now than it was then, but Muni thinks it may be able to get commuters back to the past, or at least fast like the past: Muni will remove stop signs, better program traffic signals, and otherwise make-way for buses and trains, pledged Muni chief Ed Reiskin.