Re: Muni musings

05/09/09 - posted by Candis Smyk Hurlbut

Well, now that the statute of limitations has run out, I guess--along with being at a Legion of Honor fountain gasoline fire, and not paying Morrison Planetarium admission for about three years--I am guilty of theft...of Muni rides. I think the most rides actually accumulated on one car ticket was 14. 11 or 12 occurred more often than I still don't care to admit. 13, rarely. But 14, once or twice. We school children were responsible for some Muni financial problems. Think about it: Over the years, I probably accumulated approximately $5 worth of free rides. Now you multiply that times just the guilty parties right here, and it does add up. Include those who do not post here, but also rode free, and it equals mega $$$$$$! And that's not all! How about the discounted rides to City College?! Now it can be told: With a December birthday, I was 17 for most of my first semester at City, and therefore entitled to travel on a car ticket. HOWEVER, I continuted to use a car ticket for FOUR semesters--18 months too long/old/illegal. That was 50 cents per week Muni did not receive, as well as additional for all the riding around I did to other destinations before 6 (5 in The Downtown Area). Granted, I did not work very many hours, or earn very much (minimum wage back then was around $1), but I took advantage of my much younger appearance and cheerfully committed petty theft. My plan, if challenged, was to claim I was a genius who had completed high school at 15, attended City because no other college would admit me, and had no age I.D. because I wasn't old enough to drive yet and/or my parents wouldn't sign for me to drive! (Back then you had to be 21 for Everything, including a driver's license without your parents' permission. Boys could be drafted into the U.S. Army at 18, and girls could marry without permission at 18, but that was about all.) I guess that is about equal to the fake, photocopied car tickets S.I.'s enterprising students produced, as described above! I'm certain at least some of the drivers knew exactly what we were doing, but they had schedules to keep, and it probably was just too much trouble/time to check every legal use every time something appeared amiss. Why we all thought free rides were just fine is beyond me--unless it was because 5 cents was a small fortune, and 15 cents seemed to be worth so much more also. Candy bars were still a nickle. Soft drinks and phone calls were a dime.

When I was Home last summer ('08), I rode the N, as well as the K and L cars. I enjoyed being able to look at what I saw, and part of the fun was leaving my car parked to ride around my beloved Sunset, along with Ingleside, West Portal, and Parkside, without having to watch where I was driving. I paid full fare each time. No one suspected the person with the silly smile gazing out the window was A Former Muni Criminal!

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