Muni celebrates 100 years by offering up free service on Friday

S.F. Examiner File PhotoMuni is offering complimentary rides on buses

It may not be exactly what everyone had on their Christmas wish lists, but Muni is providing its own special gift Friday.

To celebrate its 100th year in service, Muni will offer up complimentary rides. That includes free service on buses, light-rail lines, cable cars and streetcars. The deal begins at 5 a.m. Friday and runs until 5 a.m. Saturday.

With 100 years of service as of Friday, Muni is the country’s oldest publicly owned transit system. Along with offering free rides, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has set up an online archive on its website featuring vintage photographs from its first century.

“The centennial year celebrates the nation’s first publicly owned, land-based transit system, which is a testament to the forward thinking of all San Franciscans from 1912 to today,” said Muni chief Ed Reiskin. “It’s the people of San Francisco who make Muni what it is, so we want to thank them for a century of support by letting them ride Muni for free on this special occasion.”

But though rides will be free Friday, passengers won’t exactly get the full Muni experience. Since holiday ridership levels are typically low, Muni is reducing its service to reflect the lack of passengers. Several bus lines will start later in the day and run less frequently Friday, although light-rail, cable car and historic streetcar service will not change. By reducing service on its buses, Muni expects to save about $350,000 over the holiday week.

While Muni’s 100th anniversary is a once-in-a-generation celebration, Friday won’t be the last time it offers up free service to its passengers. As it does every year, Muni will offer complimentary trips on New Year’s Eve, with rides being on the house from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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