The Transit Center contains approximately 1.2 million square feet of space, spread across six levels—four levels above ground and two below ground. An attractive mini replica of the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge serves as a Bridgeway, which provides the access point for buses heading to, and returning from, the East Bay via the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The Transit Center's street-level bus terminal is used by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency buses and San Francisco Paratransit vehicles. A bus deck on the third floor hosts Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District buses and Western Contra Costa Transit Authority buses from the East Bay, plus Golden Gate Transit buses from Marin County. Greyhound Bus Lines and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach bus services are also on the third floor.
The Transit Center has a 5.4-acre rooftop park, the length of which is almost three blocks long. The distance of the walking paths around the Transit Center's rooftop park is 0.55 miles. The park is a delight to behold.
3,992 perforated white aluminum panels make up the exterior facade of the Transit Center. The panels feature a geometric rhombus pattern discovered by Sir Roger Penrose in the 1970s. The combined panels are 3,000 feet long and 44 feet tall.
Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.
The recently constructed Transbay Transit Center is the second iteration of the San Francisco Transbay Terminal. The first Transbay Terminal occupied the exact general location as the current Transbay Center.
The original San Francisco Bay Bridge Transit Terminal opened on 14 January 1939; Timothy L. Pflueger designed the structure. The original Transbay Terminal served as the San Francisco terminus for electric commuter trains of the Interurban Electric, the Key System, and the Sacramento Northern railroads. The trains traversed San Francisco Bay on the lower deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The terminal was converted from a train station to a bus depot in 1959. The tracks were removed, and buses replaced the streetcars. The Transit Terminal mainly served as a transportation destination to downtown San Francisco from surrounding communities of the Bay Area. AC Transit, the publicly-owned successor of the Key System, had buses traversing the Bay Bridge. The bus service thrived until late 1974, when BART's Transbay Tube opened. Most people preferred to take BART rather than a bus from the East Bay to San Francisco. BART is a rapid-transit rail system with twith48 stations along six routes covering 112 miles.
The bus behind Mr. Menzies is SFMTA bus # 2230; a recently restored 1956 Mack Motor Coach. When this bus was in operation, it traveled from the original Transbay Terminal, west on Geary Boulevard, to the Fort Miley Military Reservation located at Clement Street and 43rd Avenue. The picture was taken on the third floor of the new Transit Center.