Nostalgic people, take note: Soon that (somewhat arbitrarily) torn Muni transfer for cash fares will disappear, to be replaced by a computer-printed slip.
According to the Chron, the current cash fare boxes Muni uses are so out-of-date that parts for them aren't being made anymore. So now the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency must solicit bids for new fare boxes — and part of contemporary fare box technology, it appears, is the ability to "spit out printed transfers — tickers that include the precise time the transfer expires, 90 minutes from the time the fare was paid."
As anyone who's ridden Muni knows, the current cash transfer system can be, uh, idiosyncratic. When someone drops their cash fare into the box, the driver is supposed to tear the transfer at the 90 minute mark from when the fare was paid. It's an imprecise system, as anyone who's been handed a full transfer (or, even worse, a too-short one) can attest.
The current system also creates opportunities for larceny, as I'm sure you know. There are the folks who hop onto the bus, grab the transfers, and run, only to offer them for sale on the street, of course. There are also more complicated scams, like this one involving a Muni employee. The automatically printed transfer system is expected to quash crimes like these.
Of course, like any change, this won't happen overnight. According to the Chron, it was only last week that the SFMTA Board authorized replacement of the old fare boxes fare boxes, and the bid-seeking process was ordered at that time.
So, if you're the kind of person who mourns the passing of SF eccentricities, you have time to ditch your Clipper and start collecting cash transfers: the SFMTA says the earliest they'll be able to eradicate the current transfers is "early 2016," giving you plenty of time to build up a more-than-respectable classic transfer hoard.