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 archives:
“1930’s: MSR 33-Line #58. On wide street with streetcar tracks, possibly Guerrero between 14th and 18th? Courtesy of”
old Muni bus from

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.


  • Dexter Wong

    A fairly good survey of Muni bus history for one article (although a couple of pictures are incorrect). For a more thorough view read Inside Muni by McKane and Perles (Interurbans Press, 1982).

  • Dexter Wong

    The second picture in this article is Muni White bus 044 at Forest Hill Station (Laguna Honda Hospital in the background) circa 1930s,not MSR #58 ….

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