A Fix for Those Who Are Nostalgic for Paper Fast Passes

Image via John Kuzich’s Fast Pass Nostalgia

You might have read about the all-but-extinct Muni Fast Pass in your history classes. Maybe not. Maybe you’re old* enough to remember the once-fancy paper free-ride passes. Or maybe you’ve seen people dressed up as Fast Passes on stages in San Francisco.

Whatever the case might be for you, John Kuzich has gone and made a website for those who miss the old colorful paper Fast Passes. We caught up with John after he alerted us to his new site.

Muni Diaries: Can you tell us little about you and your background. Are you an SF native?
John Kuzich: I’m from Detroit, Michigan. Took up fine art in high school and won the Regional and the National Scholastic Art Awards Competition with four gold medals and a scholarship. Trained to be a graphic designer in Los Angeles and came to the Bay Area in 1969 where I worked at a design studio before going out on my own and serviced clients like Del Monte/Chevron/SF Symphony, and many others. All design work from my 30-year career can be seen on my site called IN RETROSPECT. I’m retired now and began to devote my life to fine art in 1999.

Basically my whole life has been about color and design. I see it everywhere and in everything and it makes for a rich life. I consider it a blessing.

MD: Did you grow up riding public transit?
JK: Nope, I grew up in the suburbs driving a 1956 turquoise and white Pontiac coupe. Love cars and almost never took public transportation. Take it today to go up to Market St. where my dentist is.

MD: When would you say you became enamored of the passes? Why did you become enamored?
JK: The first time I saw a group of Fast Passes, and being a collage artist I knew I had to incorporate them into my work. They were unique and colorful.

MD: Do you collect other things, or just the passes?
JK: I’ve collected just about everything in my lifetime. I’m fascinated by things. Nature (had the best insect collection in high school, best sea shell collection in grade school). Have collected stained glass windows, Tiffany style lamps, furniture from all periods, Indian artifacts, old bottles, posters, marbles, coins, old photographs,rocks, crushed stuff on the street—there’s no end to it!! The biggest thing to me as a collector is the joy of finding all the different kinds and getting them all if possible. I no longer need to own everything—but the passes are still sticking to me.

MD: Your thoughts on the elimination of passes?
JK: Sad to see cool things change. I’m not big on changing things we like.

MD: Your thoughts on Clipper cards?
JK: First off … there’s no reason the Clipper card needs to look so uninteresting. It could be very attractive, though it won’t change. The Clipper card is just another sign of our world getting less and less personal due to this unstoppable and unfortunate drive to make and do everything cheaper and more efficient. It’s like the money and profits are the driving force behind everything, like the
constant deals between our elected officials and developers that are raping the City and robbing it of its character. Soon our SOMA will be one big concentration of million-dollar condos where no one of “us” can afford to live or work. All the character and uniqueness is being sucked out of the City. The Fast Pass is a sign of that—like the disappearing frogs and bees on a bigger scale.

Here’s what John had to say when he told us about his new website:

JK: After reading several posts on the colorful old Fast Passes and how they were missed, I decided to put my entire collection of Fast Passes online for everyone to enjoy. It was a big job, and while it is still a work in progress, it’s ready to view. I know many commuters will enjoy being able to see a complete collection of A passes—from May 1974 to June 2011. Actually I’ve been informed that A passes continued beyond the deadline and so I’ve got to hunt for them and get them online too. Enjoy the site—it’s really fun!

*Older than five

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