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San Francisco’s cable cars coming back this summer with free rides

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

After being out of service for nearly a year and a half, San Francisco’s fleet of iconic cable cars will be returning to service this August — and best of all, all rides for that month will be free.

San Francisco Cable Cars
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

The city’s famous cable cars, part of a tramway system where the cars are pulled by cables embedded in the street, were named a national historic landmark in 1964, making San Francisco, Calif. one of the few places in the world where people can actually ride on a national historic landmark.

Refurbished and equipped with new tracks, cables, turnarounds, and cable propulsion machinery, the world’s last manually-operated cable car system runs the same way it did when Andrew S. Hallidie guided the first car down the Clay Street grade on Aug. 2, 1873.

San Francisco Cable Cars
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Travel

Once, cable car lines serviced the entire city, but today, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) runs three cable car lines that take visitors to some of San Francisco’s most popular neighborhoods, including North Beach, Union Square, Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Embarcadero.

Photo by Samantha Davis-Friedman
  • Powell-Hyde – Running from Hallidie Plaza to Fisherman’s Wharf via Powell and Hyde Streets
  • Powell-Mason – Running from Hallidie Plaza to Fisherman’s Wharf via Powell and Mason Streets
  • California Street – Running from Market Street to Van Ness Avenue via California Street

Service will begin along the Powell-Hyde line, with the Powell-Mason and California lines to follow. Expected operating hours upon reopening will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Beginning in September, single-ride tickets cost $8, regardless of age or time of day. Tickets can be purchased using the MuniMobile app or from the conductor (exact change is required on board the cable cars). SFMTA visitor passports can be purchased for one, three, or seven consecutive days of unlimited rides.

Click here for more information.

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