I recently took a trip to San Francisco and had the opportunity to take a ride on Muni’s F Line. Muni is an above and below grown set of train lines, which seem to be consistently busy. They receive near constant criticism for being over crowded and I can attest that fact. Most of the time when I took the regular Muni trains they were standing room only, infrequent, and prone to signal delays.
On the positive side, it is worth noting is that the whole Muni system, including the F Line (and the old San Fran Trolleys) is available on Citymapper app and on Google Maps so journey planning is easy.
Always wanting to try something new, when I saw the clearly labelled F Line trams heading to Fisherman’s Wharf, I wanted a ride. Since I was headed to the Dreamforce conference, I allowed extra time assuming they would take a bit longer then the underground routes.
The markings to board the train at the frequent stops were clear. The trams run in the middle of the street so you have to cross out to the tram. There are a few steps up to board, through I saw that there was a handicap ramp if needed.
The friendly driver greeted me and I saw in front of me a Clipper smartcard reader to deduct the same payments as any other Muni train. Next to it was a machine to pay by cash (fares are the same as other Muni services). During the ride I noticed that the driver verbally called out the stops and many of the passengers coming on knew the driver. My guess is that it’s a limited set that can drive each of the old trams. I could see on board instructions for if the tram broke down and also a GPS unit.
During the ride I chatted with a passenger sitting next to me, as it wasn’t really full at all. She commented that she liked riding this line because it was less crowded and less chaotic.
Me enjoying the ride and the hard seats
As we continued down the street the driver called out each of the stops until we got to close to my stop and he shouted out “Salesforce and Market and 4th” which was where I was going. Nice service for those people attending Dreamforce to know where to stop and definitely added to the experience. He was very friendly and knew I was taking some photos. I’d happily take the F Line again, but it does make a lot more stops then the normal Muni train.
Another of the historic trams
Author: Chris Atwood.
Chris is a London-based traveller and works at Salesforce.org. Since an early age he’s loved trains and planes and shares that love with both his dad and his grandfather. Follow him on Twitter or check out his mostly travel related photos on Instagram.