The Art of Public Transportation
I came across an article in the digital version of our local San Francisco paper (SFGate.com) that restored hope in my fellow man - er, artist. It seems that there can be art in many things and many things that we come in contact with on a daily basis really should not be taken for granted. And so it should be with the bus pass.
The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, called MUNI for short, is part of the branding of the organization. The monthly "Fast Passes" that are purchased by frequent riders are good for the month of their designation and have a pseudo-color/design to differentiate the valid period of use. There is also a holographic strip on them for use in turnstiles for another Bay Area transit agency, BART.
This gave a local artist, John Kuzich, an idea. He wanted to use these colorful and ephemeral passes for something more. He thought that there must be stories behind each Fast Pass and desired to capture them in an artistic way.
John decided to post signs in his neighborhood requesting folks to send him their out-of-date Passes for an art project. 15,000 Passes later, he has some of the most colorful murals in the City. He started out with some smaller collages but the big project is to have a mural of 4 panels of 720 passes each. The end result will be a behemoth 28 feet wide and 5 feet high. That's a lot of transit users.
[MUNI Fast Passes have been around since 1974 and cost $11 each at that time. Today, more than 100,000 of them are sold each month at a cost of $45 each. A rider has to use his or her pass 30 times in the month to break even. MUNI Fast Passes are good for unlimited rides on all MUNI busses, street cars and cable cars, and on the BART system within San Francisco.]
It's really good to see something being done with old bus passes that can not only be a colorful work of art, but also capture some of the stories behind them. I am proud of John Kuzich and support his vision. Now, if only the damn busses came on time.