Di Pilla's original Jitney, with a young Michele, in 1976. Photo courtesy of the Di Pilla family.
Di Pilla’s original Jitney, with a young Michele Di Pilla, in 1976. (Photo courtesy of the Di Pilla family)

By Rigoberto Hernandez and Andrea Valencia Mission Local

Few would suspect that La Argentina Gift Shop, an odd sliver of a store at 3250 24th Street, is part of a small empire built on a piece of Mission District history: the private jitneys that filled San Francisco for a large part of the 20th century, ferrying riders all over town and competing against Muni.

The jitneys seem particularly relevant this week as commuters faced with the sickout by Muni drivers look for other transportation options. The city once had one—the jitneys—and some of their history is right on 24th Street.

Unlike the tech buses, they weren’t free, but they were private, for-profit services run by independent operators including the Di Pilla family, today the owners of the gift shop.

At their peak in 1950, some 7,000 passengers a day paid 10 cents a ride to take the private jitneys, according to Paratransit in the San Francisco Bay Area, a study by the University of California Transportation Center. The jitneys were seen as private vehicles competing well against Muni, and the city began to legislate against them.

Read more at Mission Local.

  • dickclark

    I remember taking jitneys in the early
    1980s, so they last longer than the article says.

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