San Francisco Tidbits

Here are a few things I found interesting in San Francisco:

Re: Alcatraz * Towards the end of Alcatraz’s use as a federal penitentiary, some of the cells were fitted with music listening jacks. You could plug in headphones and listen to two channels of audio, for example, music and radio dramas. * On the wall of the kitchen, there were racks where sharp cutting instruments were kept. Behind them, painted on the walls, were black silhouettes represending each knife and other utensil. This made it easy for the kitchen staff to see if any items had been stolen, and specifically which items were missing. * Alcatraz was considered a desirable neighborhood for families to live in. The prison staff and their families, including wives and children, all lived in a housing complex near the cell block. Children were ferried to and from the city to attend school. It was one of the safest neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Re: Transport * The Bay Area transportation system was confusing to me for the first two days. Here’s why: * There are five different mass-transit organizations in the Bay area: MUNI|http://www.sfmuni.com/home/home50.htm, BART|http://www.bart.gov/index.asp, Caltrain|http://www.caltrain.com/, samTrans|http://www.samtrans.com/, and SFO|http://www.flysfo.com/. * Each of these organizations runs either a bus or a train service. * MUNI runs gasoline and overhead-powered electric buses, a ‘historic’ streetcar line using early-20th-century streetcars from around the world, a modern streetcar+subway line, and the famous historic cable car system, in the San Francisco municipal area – mainly within the city limits. * BART runs high-speed trains with above- and under-ground stations throughout the Bay area, both in San Francisco and in surrounding communities. Some BART stations are shared with MUNI stations. * Caltrain runs a commuter train service into the city and to the south of the city. * samTrans runs a bus service into the city and into San Mateo county south of the city, in the “Peninsula”. * SFO, the San Francisco International airport, runs its own ‘AirTran’ train service. This runs around all of the terminals and parking lots at the airport, and connects to the BART transit line in a station at the International terminal. * Caltrain, samTrans, and BART share an ‘Intermodal station at Millbrae|http://www.samtrans.com/Intermodal_Guide.html, at which you can connect between any of the systems. * If you want to take a water ferry from San Francisco to a location around the bay, such as Sausalito or Tiburon, you must utilize a third party, such as Blue and Gold Fleet. No municipal authorities run water services.

Contrast this to the Massachusetts Bay area: * The MBTA|http://www.mbta.com/ runs streetcars, subways, commuter trains, buses, and water ferries all throughout the Massachusetts Bay area. All of the vehicles and stations bear the same “T” logo, so they’re easy to find. * Massport|http://www.massport.com/ runs the Logan International Airport, as well as shuttle buses to get around the airport, and it also runs the Worcester and Bedford regional airports.

Coming from Boston, do you see how I’d be confused?

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