Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Tuesday, 28 October 2003

# 6 PM

I got to ride on one of Muni's historic streetcars today. This one was an 1940s San Francisco model. Blue and gold exterior, green and cream interior, green vinyl seats. Old fashioned metal-and-glass slide-up-and-down windows that remind me of school busses. These ride up and down Market Street and to Fisherman's Wharf, but they go on the J-Church route to get there from the garage at Balboa Park, and they take passengers, because why not? But for some reason they made us all get off the car at Castro Street and get on another one — the exact same model, but with a green and cream exterior, marked Illinois Terminal. It turns out that there was a single streetcar design, the 1934 PCC model, which was used by thirty-three different cities at the height of its popularity. This is the sort of tidbit that tells you streetcars used to be a serious thing in this country. Muni's modern cars are custom made for them and you can bet they're more expensive. Even after adjusting for inflation and mod cons.