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Remembering a Muni streetcar accident...from 1913

Except perhaps for the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing symbolizes San Francisco as much as its cablecars. The San Francisco Municipal Railway has been in operation for more than 100 years, now including natural gas, biofuel, electried busses, streetcars, cable cars and light rail trains.

Thousands of people use the Muni system every day to get around, and accidents are not uncommon and have been happening for decades. The San Francisco Chronicle recently shared an article from 1913 that reported what the newspaper believes was the first Muni accident on record.

According to the article, a streetcar crashed into a truck on Geary Street and went out of control for three blocks, striking a bakery wagon and killing a horse.

The motorman appears to have been the most seriously injured, when a piece of plate glass went into his scalp. Despite his injury, the motorman stayed at his post, while the conductor and a police officer on board pulled on the hand brakes. Finally the streetcar stopped, with no injury to the passengers besides a couple of jolts and "an even ruder fright." The driver and passenger of the truck jumped out of the vehicle before impact and avoided serious injury as well.

Technology affecting public transit has improved since 1913. But accidents still occur, and people often get seriously hurt. When they do, they need someone to represent them - someone who understands the shortcomings of MUNI training, equipment and supervision. That is where we come in

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