12:15 a.m., Saturday, August 7th, AC Transit 4088 running on the Route O bound for Alameda left the Transbay Transit Terminal for the final time. This concluded 71 years of continuous operation of the terminal. 4088 rolled off the ramp where the likes of Key System Bridge Units, IER “Blimps”, and Sacramento Northern Interurbans once plied. One Frank Zepeda said, “Savor the Moment,” as our small group of transit fans walked out the door onto the Mission Street loop and said good bye.
Some might say that the terminal’s replacement is long overdue, that the old building is past its prime and has become an eyesore to the surrounding area. But with its demolition goes its soul, and with the passing of its soul goes a historic piece of the Bridge Railway. If one were to look past the pigeons, the homeless, and the grime, it was possible to catch a short glimpse of what life was like before the automobile became the primary mode of transportation. For transbay commuters this was at onetime the grand entrance to San Francisco.
So as the curtain falls, let’s take a look at the final day of operation at First and Mission. A tired face in front of the former Gray Line ticket office tells the story all by itself.
As the afternoon rush gets underway, commuters begin to make their way through the concourse towards the ramp.
Muni’s GM “New Look” 3287 was brought out for the occasion.
But as the evening went on, the real reason everyone was there started to shine through the cracks. This was the time to take one last look, take one last picture. The final lineup started to take shape as closing time drew closer. Fellow photographer Michael Johannessen captured the last F, and some of the last patrons at midnight.
By now the show was drawing to an end, and only a few more minutes would pass until the last set of taillights disappeared in the darkness and the stillness set in. The lights were on but nobody was home, even the pigeons vacated the scene. Progress tends to have a way of erasing history, so as one chapter ends another begins. But truth be told, the memories will last and I’m sure the stories will continue to be told. Because anyone who ever walked through those halls can tell you, Transbay was quite the experience.