SAN FRANCISCO — Throughout our trip, we relied on mass transit to get around. Our first ride was on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), a third-rail powered train that functions more as commuter line than a traditional urban subway. BART serves San Francisco International Airport directly and stops within several blocks of David’s apartment in the Mission. That proved to be quite convenient for us.
BART trains are wider than a typical subway car and have a very smooth ride. They also stop at predefined locations on the platform, unlike WMATA, and usually arrived into the station aligned with them. The cars are clean and comfortable. The stations are unspectacular though. Some of them were ugly brick that reminded me of an old Burger King.
Once in the city, we mostly relied on the MUNI (San Francisco Municipal Railway), a light rail/trolley system. Along Market Street, the MUNI runs several lines, both above and below ground. We generally took the subway into downtown from the Church Street station near David’s. We also used the various Embarcadero surface lines to get around.
We both liked the San Francisco had acquired old trolleys from other cities like Milan, Philadelphia and others to run on the F Line. Riding them was like visiting a trolley museum. The trolley in the above photograph was from Milan.
Overall, we were pleased with San Francisco’s mass transit offerings. Like Washington, San Francisco was one of the few cities to reject an extensive freeway system and I can’t help but think they were right to build transit instead.