TBT: Roaring ’20s 33-Stanyan


Does this look familiar to our 33-Stanyan (er, 33-Ashbury/18th) regulars?

Today, it’s the scene of unparalleled Muni operator skill — the Market-Clayton switchback is srsly no joke. These same streets back in the day, 1921 to be exact, weren’t easy to navigate for ye olde streetcars, either. But operators came up with a creative solution to a problematic switchback. More on the Market Street switchback at Mono, Caselli, and Clayton from FoundSF.org:

This sharp turn from Clayton to Market was not negotiable by early streetcars so operators would “switch” the backs of the passenger seats at Market Street, thereby “switching” the streetcar in the reverse direction.

Before, in 1925:

After, in 2010:

Photo: Michael Greene, San Francisco, CA

Thanks to reader Robert Holt for the tip.

More #TBT:
Ever heard of Muni’s 1-Sutter?
Awesome vintage video documents fight to save cable cars

BART’s very weird anti-creep PSAs

bart avoid creeps

Talking about creeps has landed BART in some hot water. In a tweet earlier this week, BART’s new PSA poster references a song by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke while advising riders on how to avoid creeps.

SFist called it “strangely tone-deaf” and that the ad implies “the responsibility lies with the victim to avoid disgusting or assaultive behavior, even though BART issued a longer statement denying that.”

Later, BART tweeted another PSA on how not to be a creep. But does saying “don’t be a creep” ever convince creeps to cease and desist? As a transit rider and occasional target, I think it’s sad we have to remind others to keep their hands to themselves.

May we suggest some additions like don’t light someone’s hair on fire and definitely don’t try to hump your fellow passengers, otherwise you might want to watch out for tasers?

When Women Couldn’t Hang on Cable Cars

cable car women sfmta photo archive

Did you know that there was a time, not so long ago, when women weren’t allowed to stand outside the cable car? According to the SFMTA blog, until 1965, women couldn’t stand on the running boards outside of the cable cars, which is the hallmark of riding these iconic vehicles.

The practice was changed after Mona Hutchins, a 19-year-old UC Berkeley student and free speech advocate, stood up and was arrested for refusing to yield an unwritten restriction that didn’t apply to men.

The photo above is from the SFMTA Photo Archive, taken in 1967 for the Cable Car Queen contest. It just so happened that today we found the delightful photo of a N-Judah driver proudly wearing her pink pussy hat, as captured by @rebeccafoxmetalsculpture on Instagram.

muni diaries n judah driver pussy hat by rebeccafoxmetalsculpture

Decades later, it’s good to see that some things have changed, and that there are still people fighting the good fight.

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com is always open!

SFPD: Be on the lookout for another ‘Muni humper’

Muni humper

Update, 6:55 a.m., April 5, 2017:
The police arrested the suspect last night! According to SFPD spokesperson Grace Gatpandan, an office from the Taraval Station met with one of the victims yesterday and disseminated the photo of the suspect to Muni Division officers.

More from the SFPD:

Richmond Station officers were able to identify the suspect. Park Station officers located the suspect at Carl and Stanyan Streets and took him into custody without incident. The suspect, a 45 year old white male, is being charged with multiple misdemeanors including sexual battery, sexual battery on public transportation,‎ continuing offense of public nuisance and one felony count of false imprisonment.

The police has not released the name and photo of the suspect, and asks that anyone with more information about the case call the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 with SFPD at the beginning of the message.

Update, 5:49 p.m., April 4, 2017:

Muni Diaries reader Courtney actually had an exchange with this suspect. She requests that we withhold her last name. From the Muni Diaries Facebook page, Courtney commented:

He was on the N going outbound and got on at Church and Duboce. He tried to hump two women from behind and I intercepted both times (stared at him, “accidentally” hit his hand with my umbrella etc.) and followed him through the train. He then tried to hump a woman’s shoulder who was sitting in a seat and I finally told him that he needed to give her some room. He asked why I was following him through the train and I told him it’s because “you’ve tried to dry hump about three women so far and I’m not having it.” I yelled it loud enough so the whole car could hear me and he sat down huffing and puffing for the rest of the ride while I stood beside him, glaring.

Ew! Thanks, Courtney, for the update.

Original post, 11:24 a.m. April 4, 2017:

The San Francisco Police Department is looking for a man they say is assaulting women on Muni by rubbing himself against unsuspecting passengers, ABC7‘s Lilian Kim reports:

“I felt someone banging against me,” said Michelle, who only wants to share her first name. She couldn’t believe what happened to her on the outbound N-Judah last Thursday. She says a man was rubbing against her, something she says she witnessed him doing to another woman weeks earlier, also on Muni. “I was very angry because the fact that this was the second time, me seeing the guy made me think, ‘He must do this regularly,'” she said.

Riders took photos of the suspect, posted on NextDoor.com, and police say the public should be on the lookout.

In 2009, Muni Diaries readers helped SFPD nab another man who was “humping” the shoulders of female riders. The story was originally submitted as a horrified account of an N-Judah rider; after publication, more readers came forward with similar experiences, and the police caught the suspect with your help.

If you have information for the police about the new Muni perp, here’s the SFPD tip line.

Vintage photos show evolution of the Muni bus

old muni bus from sfgate

Muni wasn’t always the familiar brown-and-orange chariot that you know so well. The buses have come a long way since the day of the 5-cent fare. Reporter Bob Bragman at SFGate found archival photos and put together a gallery with more than 40 photographs of Muni buses through the years.

The earliest one dates from 1918, showing the first gasoline bus introduced by The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. It crossed Golden Gate Park. There aren’t any bus photos in the folder from the Twenties or Thirties, I had to get them from another source. But, every other decade was well-represented.


The photo from 1918 was used in an article that was published in 1962. Fifty years earlier, San Francisco launched as what Muni describes as “the first major, publicly owned, land-based transit agency in the United States.” On that day, an open end streetcar, which came to be known as “Old Number One,” slid smoothly and sleekly out of the barn and headed east down Geary Street at noon, on December 28.”

Here are just a few of the gems from the SFGate and OpenSFHistory.org archives:
“1930’s: MSR 33-Line #58. On wide street with streetcar tracks, possibly Guerrero between 14th and 18th? Courtesy of OpenSFHistory.org.”
old Muni bus from openSFhistory.org

A photo from the 1950’s: “First new fleet of 440 buses rolled over the city streets.”
Muni bus vintage via sfgate

Here’s the whole gallery for the history/transit buffs.

Last week to see cable car documentary at the Balboa

California Street Cable Car_sm

Only one more week to see a rare documentary on San Francisco’s most iconic transit mode: the cable car. “San Francisco Cable Cars,” a documentary by local filmmaker Strephon Taylor, is playing at the adorable Balboa Theatre until next Thursday, March 30.

Taylor has made many popular historic documentaries, and this one is perfect for transit and history buffs. From SFGate:

His latest is “San Francisco Cable Cars,” with interviews and rare photos and video documenting the advancement of cable car technology in the 1800s, the influence of Gold Rush miner Andrew Smith Hallidie and efforts to save the landmark system in the 20th century.

Catch the documentary at the Balboa (movie times here).

Want more cable car historic gems?

Adorable 1960s sign for a retiring cable car driver
Awesome vintage clips about the fight to save the cable cars
Cable car rings with Bank of America protesters

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