Out with the Old, In with Clipper


Several years ago, San Francisco bay area began testing a transit fare smart card which could be used across different agencies and fare systems. Translink never lived up to the promise and only rolled out to a few transit system, including BART, Caltrain and Muni. Translink was also never fully integrated into the Muni fare system with only a few gates in the subway supporting it and validators on the busses seemed broken as often as they were working. BART even recommended keeping a backup BART pass when it launched Translink.
On June 26 though, Translink relaunched as Clipper and work is underway to make Clipper the easy to use transit smart card we’ve been promised. Muni Metro riders may have noticed work on the subway station faregates, this is prep work for replacement with new faregates designed specifically for Clipper. In fact, the new fare gates will no longer accept change, only the plastic Clipper smart cards or a new, limited use, paper ticket similar to BART which can be loaded with credit for multiple Muni rides.
The new system has many advantages, Clipper (as with Translink) can be set up to automatically load a monthly Muni fastpass, or monthly passes for other supported transit agencies as well as storing a cash value that can be used on any system. Mine for example contains my Muni pass as well as credit I use on BART instead of using a separate BART pass. There are many other advantages to the system, discounts will be handled automatically and lost cards can be replaced without loosing the stored credit.
With the transition to Clipper, the paper fastpass will be phased out in October and riders will need to acquire a new card before then. Clipper cards are normally $5, but for a limited time during this transition the fee is being waved. More information about the Muni transition and how to order a free card can be found at the SFMTA’s Clipper web page or you can also get a free card at one of the following times and locations:


Existing Translink cards will continue to work without need for replacement.

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Castro and Market, Then and Now

When better than the 40th anniversary of the first Gay Pride marches to look even farther back to the heartland of LGBT America: Castro and Market Streets? 

As part of our commemoration of the 150th anniversary of rail transit on Market Street (coming up on July 4), photographer Kevin Sheridan is matching locales along Market featured in historic photos with their contemporary counterparts.  These will make up a great show at our San Francisco Railway Museum opening in mid-July (watch this space for more info).

Here’s a sneak peak at one of Kevin’s pairings: a Castro cable car has just run the length of Market Street from the Ferry Building and is starting to turn left onto Castro, to continue over the hill to 26th Street. It’s sometime between 1888 and 1906, the dates of that cable car service.  Compare it to Kevin’s photo taken just a couple of weeks ago.  And enjoy the parade, everyone!

Castro&Market cable car 1890s.jpg

Castro&Market 2010.jpg
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Now Boarding, the F-Express

Over the years, we’ve gotten a lot of suggestions for additions to the F-line fleet.  But never one quite like this.

Thumbnail image for Soviet jet train.jpg

The suggestion – true story – came to Muni from an email address they didn’t recognize, so they sent it on to us. It contained a link to an interesting page with more pictures and the history of the thing. Maybe the email is from President Mededvev, and this was supposed to be a gift to San Francisco. Do you think we ought to accept it? What should we do with it?

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Gimme Shelter!

Great progress on the new shelter for historic F-line streetcars at Muni’s Geneva Division.
Geneva shelter 061610.jpgClick here to see what it looked like less than a month ago.
The shelter is still on track for completion on October. It will protect at least 24 historic streetcars from the salt air and rain when the streetcars are out of service.  Market Street Railway’s advocacy was the key factor in getting this protection for the irreplaceable historic streetcars built.

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“The Clangor of their Coming and Going…”

As we approach the 150th anniversary of rail transit on Market Street next month, here’s another photo to contemplate and comment on. This is the Ferry Building in 1896. The one we know today opened in 1898, but before that, starting in 1875, there was a long shed at the foot of Market Street (a tad bit north, actually) that served as the connector between the ferries and surface transit. In those days on Market Street, that meant cable cars… — Read More

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The Future of Fisherman’s Wharf

Last week the San Francisco Department of Planning released the latest draft of plans to improve the Fisherman’s Wharf area focussed largely on making Jefferson Street in a pedestrian friendly boulevard which better ties together the many attractions and destinations in the area. KQED’s Forum spent an hour friday discussing the plan which is worth a listen for those interested. The F-Market & Wharves line gets several mentions as the key transportation in and out of the area for both… — Read More

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Market Street Traffic Trials Prove Successful

Even before changes were made to traffic flow, bikes made up more than 50% of the vehicles on Market Street while Muni carries more people than all other vehicles combined. Last fall the SFMTA began a traffic trial project on Market Street. For an initial six week period, eastbound traffic was required to turn right off of Market at 8th and 6th Streets. It was a test to see what the effect would be of nudging traffic off Market to… — Read More

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Historic Streetcar No. 1051 in Noe Valley

Because the historic F-Market & Wharves streetcars are stored near Balboa Park Station they begin each day with a trip along the J-Church line to either 17th Street where they turn towards the stop at Castro or continue to Market Street. Photographer Kevin Sheridan captured streetcar no. 1051 (which is dedicated to District Supervisor and gay rights icon Harvey Milk) at the end of its day a few years ago, returning to the Geneva rail yard by way of the… — Read More

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