Cable cars operate seven days a week from 6:30 am until 12:30 am. The fare is $5 (no transfers issued or accepted) or use your MUNI Passport. Purchase your ticket from the conductor on board where exact change is required. The cable car was introduced to San Francisco on August 2, 1873. Wire-cable manufacturer Andrew Hallidie conceived the idea after witnessing an accident in which a horse-drawn carriage faltered and rolled backward downhill dragging the horses behind it. The first cable car to descend down Clay Street on Nob Hill was an immediate success. Besides creating a vital link in San Francisco's public transportation system, the cable car opened the door for building on steep hills which until this time was thought to be impossible. Throughout the 1890s, eight transit companies operated 600 cars which covered 21 cable car routes and a total of 52.8 miles. Cable cars remained the primary mode of transportation until the 1906 earthquake.
The quake and the fires that followed destroyed most of the cable car system, and as the City rebuilt, few lines were restored. A municipal railway replaced most lines. In 1982 the City began a major two-year restoration project which shut down the system. San Francisco's beloved cable cars are the only vehicles of their kind still in operation and designated National Landmarks. Muni operates 37 cars on three lines; route names appear on the front, back and roof of each car. The Powell-Mason line runs from Powell/ Market streets, over Nob Hill and down to Bay Street at Fisherman's Wharf. The Powell-Hyde line begins at Powell/ Market streets and runs over Nob and Russian Hills before ending at Victorian Park in Fisherman's Wharf. The California Street line runs from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue. Tips for first-time riders:
Maroon and white signs mark stops. If there is no sign, a yellow band is painted between the rails. Observe the Do Not Board in This Area signs.
Wait on the sidewalk and wave to alert gripman to stop.
Board on either side when the car has stopped.
When you wish to exit wait for the car to stop.
If you miss your stop, wait for the next; cable cars stop at almost every corner on their route.
Remember, you can board a cable car at any stop if space permits. It's not necessary to wait in line at the beginning of the route. Walk a few blocks to the next stop where there's likely to be less of a wait.
Note: Transfers from Muni buses and Metro Lines are not accepted on the cable cars. For more information call: 673-6864