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Happy birthday, Muni! SF’s public transit system turns 110 years old today

The opening day celebration for SF Municipal Railway on Geary Street and Grant Avenue on Dec. 28, 1912 | Courtesy SFMTA

Muni, the first and oldest publicly owned transit system of any major U.S. city, is celebrating a milestone. Initially founded as a network of trolly lines, the railway, which would become San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, celebrated its 110th birthday today. 

The City of San Francisco tweeted out well wishes this morning.

And SFMTA also put out a celebratory birthday video highlighting vintage photos of Muni’s various vehicles over the decades.

On Dec. 28, 1912, thousands of San Franciscans assembled on Geary Street to greet the People’s Railway, as Muni was then known. Now SFMTA averages some 300,000 boardings per weekday, operates dozens of bus routes, handles seven light rail lines and maintains the city’s iconic cable cars.

A cable car full of passengers rolls by the cable car powerhouse and barn on Washington and Mason streets in 1965. | Courtesy SFMTA

While Muni-loving members of the public took to social media to wish the agency a happy birthday, Muni was busy preparing a gift to riders. This coming New Year’s Eve, for the 23rd consecutive year, SFMTA will offer free rides from 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, to 5 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1, so San Franciscans don’t have to worry about driving during the holiday.

So feel free to leave both your car keys and your Clipper Card at home on Dec. 31. But be sure to say, “Happy Birthday!” to Muni next time you ride. 

A Muni driver dressed as Santa Claus for Christmas waves from the steps of a Flyer trolley coach for the 21 Hayes route during the 1970s. | Courtesy SFMTA