The 1934 English “Boat Tram” is Muni’s most popular streetcar. But due to a variety of circumstances, including what Muni leader Julie Kirschbaum says is an ongoing shortage of trained operators, it didn’t carry any passengers this year until September 12-13 (Sunday-Monday). Instead, vintage Milan and Melbourne trams have been alternating on Sundays and Mondays carrying people along the northern Embarcadero between Pier 39 and the Ferry Building (with an additional stop at our San Francisco Railway Museum).
Finally, though, training is done and Muni is sending it out more often. (We say ‘it’: Muni actually has two Boats; the other one is getting new wheels and other work.)
Boat 228, in its new red and cream livery (same as one of its counterparts in home town Blackpool), will be carrying passengers this Sunday and Monday, September 17-18. It will be out both days of Muni Heritage Weekend, September 23-24, and again on Monday, September 25. On the 17th, 18th, and 25th, it is scheduled to leave Cameron Beach Yard at 9:20 a.m., and you can ride it into service along the J-line. The first stop where you can board is on San Jose Avenue at Ocean Avenue. (There is no passenger stop at Cameron Beach Yard.
The Boat’s schedule calls for it to reach Church and Market at 9:50, and Market and Steuart at 10:14. (It will not pick people up on Market Street.) It will then shuttle between the Ferry Building/our museum and Pier 39. At 5:30, according to Muni’s schedule, the Boat starts its pull-in trip from Pier 39, which you can also ride. The pull-in will pick up people at the Steuart Street (Museum) stop at 5:43, then proceed up Market (where it will not make any stops). It will go to 17th and Noe on the F-line, then follow the F-line pull-in route via 17th Street to Church, then the J-line to Cameron Beach Yard.
NOTE that these are Muni’s scheduled times. They aren’t always adhered to due to traffic conditions and other considerations. The pull-out should be on time (but was late, for example, on September 18). The pull-in could be either early or late, so please be patient and keep an eye out for the boat. Pull-out times for Heritage Weekend aren’t set yet; numerous vintage cars will be pulling out starting at 9 a.m. If you go to San Jose and Ocean Avenues and flag one of the vintage cars at the inbound J-line stop, it should pick you up there.
Beyond these dates, we have asked Julie Kirschbaum to have the Boat operate at least on October 7-8, the Saturday and Sunday of Fleet Week when the Blue Angels fly. We’ll let you know what she says.
If we sound a bit frustrated here, we are. The Boat tram is arguably the most popular vehicle of any kind Muni operates. We believe they could manage it more effectively, to allow more of its customers to enjoy it.