MUNI

I sold my car (a cherry-red VW Jetta GLX with was an absolute lemon) a few years ago, and voila no more troubles with the infamous San Francisco Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT). They’d stolen hundreds of dollars from me every year I lived in the City with that car, so it was time to let it go.

Now I am a public transit girl. MUNI is the system here. Everybody in SF likes to complain about it (almost as much as the DPT), but it really is one of the best public transit systems in the U.S. (which isn’t saying much, but still). Plus, all those who can either afford a car or actually have one, like to brag about taking public transit to save the earth even more than they like to pretend they hate it. So it’s a wash.

There are four kinds of MUNI rides: the bus lines, the underground or light-rail lines, the streetcars and the cable cars.

The Bus
As with most city buses, ours aren’t for the faint of heart (or nose) unless all you take is the “Yuppie Bus” (a.k.a. the 30X Marina Express) which travels from the Marina to the Financial District during rush hour.

All the nice young men have on nice Brooks Brothers suits (once in a while I’ll see something a little better) and work in finance or real estate.

All the nice young girls have at least two handbags (one status bag like a Marc Jacobs or Gucci–I’m thankfully seeing less and less of the Looey Vweetons–and one “all of my shit is in here” enormous canvas bag that should really be reserved for a picnic on the beach). Anyway, I’ll make fun of the Marina Girls more later.

I generally take the 30X home from the office. My morning transit is the 47 or the 49, which runs down Van Ness. The closer you get to Market Street, the more interesting the characters that board. I then hop on any of the inbound underground trains to the Embarcadero.

I’m also known for taking the 45-Union, which goes from Cow Hollow to Russian Hill, then straight through Chinatown to Union Square and then Market Street (I have no clue where it goes after that, since I try to stay out of SoMa, save for art shows, which require a taxicab.

This bus is also known as the bus with the pink bags. For some reason, all the plastic bags merchants in Chinatown use are light pink. The Chinese-Am MUNI riders are fantastic. One might be about 142 years old, but still boards illegally on the back, and shoves her way in without a word. That’s the way to do it, I say. What are you going to do? Tell the cutest old lady in the world with her fresh ginger, fishy fish and other produce I can’t name to “Take it easy!” Hell no. You’re gonna get the heck out of her way, unless you want a bruised toe. The regular non-express 30 takes a similar route.

A photo-essay I did about a year ago, “The Life” documents my departure from Charles’ apartment on Sutter to the 45 bus to my apartment in Russian Hill.

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