Muni Finally Retiring Classic Transfers
I collect muni transfers. These elongated multicolored pieces of paper adorn the cork-boards on my walls, sit in piles on my writing desk and are just generally strewn about throughout my house; some date all the way back to 2004, the year I moved to SF. I’ve incorporated them into my art, collages and they served as the backside of my clothing tags when I used to hand paint vintage men’s shirts. Even my friends started to save their expired MUNI transfers and surrendered them, in large wads, into my grubby little hands.
On June 21st, SFMTA will submit its $22.7M contract to SPX GenFare in exchange for 1,400 modern fireboxes that will replace the current fare machines on board. Instead of hearing the paper tear from the book of transfers (that sometimes unruly wild children steal), or grabbing one yourself from the stack already placed behind a rubber band…you will be given a real-time digital pass. Efficient. Clinical. Devoid of human interaction.
The new fare boxes will be on all trolleys, motor coaches, historic streetcars and light-rail vehicles. And they’ll be available for beta testing this autumn, with hopes of being fully installed by winter. No more generous drivers giving you a “late night” transfer although it’s only 5PM; which obviously exceeds MUNI’s 90-minute transfer rule.
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose says, “The new fare boxes should help get riders on the vehicle quicker and reduce maintenance costs. Additionally, SFMTA is hopeful that the printing of transfers will reduce the use of paper and thus street pollution.”
I can just hear everyone telling me now, “Stop trying to keep us in the past. You complain about everything new. We need to keep it moving and evolve for the better of…”
Whatever. To me (and others, much to my surprise) it’s just another part of that quintessential San Francisco that I remember disappearing into the abyss.