Re: Muni musings

05/08/09 - posted by Frank Dunnigan

Ah yes, car tickets...fifty cents for 10 rides, a week's worth of to and from school (or as many rides as you get before the driver confiscated the tattered card and announced, "that was your last punch"). It was considered a fine art to balance school books in both hands, while pinching the card firmly between thumb and forefinger and offering it to the driver to be punched without letting go--the thumb and forefinger covering multiple punches. Different drivers had different shapes on their punchers--it was not unheard of for students to take a fingernail clipper and snip out a small section of the card, thereby combining two separate punches into one, and thus prolonging the life of the car ticket.

They were sold at the gift wrap desks of the Emporium, both downtown and Stonestown, where I always bought them--does anybody remember any other places that sold them??

The end of the originals came circa 1969 or so when the old S.I. on Stanyan Street acquired a new, state-of-the-art Xerox machine in the school library. Some enterprising young men found that the black-on-white card reproduced PERFECTLY on the new equipment, and when pasted to an index card and trimmed to size, the end product was indistinguishable from the real thing. Two five-cent photocopies could make $5 worth of car tickets, which were then sold at a discount--according to those who were in the know. A few months later, MUNI switched to red printing on a gray background, which kept things tamper-proof for only a few more years.

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