To Muni, with Love, from Croatia

Melita visited San Francisco for the second time last week from Croatia and sent us some photos she took of the F train. Looking at our transit system from a fresh, visitor’s point of view, she told us a little about the differences between public transit in Zagreb and San Francisco.

Visiting San Francisco again was great. On my first day in San Francisco two years ago I fell in love with the city and was very happy to get a chance to visit it one more time. We took long walks and used public transit (Muni/Bart/Caltrain) as we are (like most Europeans) used to public transit.

A few things that I like about Muni: it’s affordable, you can take your bike with you on Muni which is not possible to do on Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) public transit, more seats reserved for seniors and persons with disabilities, people are mostly very polite and are not pushing around the entrance to get on Muni.

One more thing that I find very amusing is pulling the string when you want to get off the bus.

Things you can do on Zagreb public transit (except trains): buy your ticket by sending SMS from your cell phone.

Wow, I’d like to buy my Muni tickets from my cell phone. Pretty cool. Wonder what transit in Zagreb looks like?


Thanks, Melita!

How does Muni compare to public transit in other countries? The comments section is wide open…


  • What’s not mentioned is that the ZET is super regular and despite being an above ground system, it goes all over Zagreb and has decent 24 hour service. Also, everyone uses it and if you only go a couple of stops in the center, it’s free.

    By the way, your photo above is the funicular that just bops from Lower to Upper Town.

  • Trixie

    As someone who has taken public transportation in Croatia (not in Zagreb but in Split) one other thing that our buses and trains do well is telling you what the next stop is. When you’re a visitor someplace, it can often be really difficult to know when to get off the bus, especially if you don’t speak the language.

  • Melita

    Hudin, those few “free” stops aren’t free anymore :((
    And the photo – it was just to show that there are cable cars in Zagreb too, not fancy like in San Francisco.

    • Da, Melita, ali tramvajem do Medvednice je lijepo 🙂

      Sad to hear that the control now cracks down on the free stops though. That was quite handy.

  • Zoran

    I haven’t taken much public transit in Zagreb, but in other Croatian cities like Zadar I believe there is often a worker who stands by the back door and just takes tickets — no Muni-style sneaks.

  • Salmon Dave

    …well, luckily Melita was NOT waiting for the 38 this morning…around 10 am, NOTHING coming…30 people waiting at every bus stop…don’t think we can blame THIS one on the ACTION at Gough and Ellis…

  • Skrpina

    It would be cool if SF would get an older streetcar from Zagreb for the F line, such as M-24 or TMK 101.

    • That would be quite cool. I’m personal to the old Czech models, which I believe is the second image you linked to, although I could be wrong. Naturally, power would be a conversion nightmare and would it even be possible to convert a one meter gauge carriage over to the 1,435mm track that the F uses?

      • @Hudin, short answer is that very few meter gauge trams can be converted to U.S. standard gauge. The trucks (wheel sets) won’t fit under the bodies. Our non-profit, which supports acquisition of more cars for the F-line, has long looked for an Eastern European tram to add to the collection. Under California Public Utilities Commission historic streetcar rules, however, it is very difficult to use anything built after 1955 (I won’t bore you with the technical details). And even older trams must have a clear-span door opening of at least 36 inches to allow wheelchair users to board. The likeliest candidate is an original Czech Tatra vehicle, which ran all over the former Soviet empire and is based on the same technology used in the F-line’s streamlined “PCC” streetcars. We’re still looking.

  • Henry Larry

    The comparison between Muni and transit in Zagreb highlights how innovation and consideration for passengers needs can really enhance the urban commuting experience.
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