Craigslist Dude Is a Transit Nerd, Too

Craig Newmark signs up for the latest in public-transportation technology

By Owen Thomas
|  Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009  |  Updated 8:00 PM CDT
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Craigslist Dude Is a Transit Nerd, Too

Owen Thomas

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark signs up for a TransLink smart card at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.

Craig Newmark is a smart guy. So how does the Craigslist founder get around San Francisco? A smart card.

In the middle of Wednesday's afternoon commute, an unassuming guy with a goatee and a beret popped up at downtown San Francisco's Embarcadero Station: Newmark, the purportedly saintly millionaire founder of community listings site Craigslist.

Despite starring on the cover of this month's Wired, Newmark went unrecognized by the Muni-riding masses. He pulled out a Muni Fast Pass, entered the fare gates, and headed to a table where transit employees were signing up riders for TransLink, a new smart card for Bay Area transit systems.

Newmark explained to a staffer that he "basically rides the N-Judah." Newmark lives in Cole Valley and takes the Muni light-rail line to Craigslist's small office in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, far from the hip startup neighborhoods of South Park and the Financial District.

"I never take BART or the cable car," he added. While BART and Muni's buses and trains accept TransLink for payment, the city's cable cars aren't yet equipped.

They soon will be. Starting next year, Muni is changing its faregates to be TransLink-only -- hence the push to sign up commuters like Newmark.

If city transit officials had any sense, they'd sign up Newmark as a spokesman. If, that is, anyone even recognized the early-adopter millionaire on the Muni.

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