Cable Cars Guide

San Francisco cable car on Powell Street

San Francisco’s cable cars are an iconic symbol of the city and a must-see attraction for any tourist. While they may seem like a novelty, they are still a functioning mode of transportation that locals use every day. Here’s a tourist’s introduction to using San Francisco cable cars:

  1. Understanding the Routes: San Francisco’s cable car system consists of three routes: Powell-Mason, Powell-Hyde, and California Street. Each route has its own unique sights and landmarks, so it’s essential to research the routes beforehand to determine which one is best for your itinerary.
  2. Payment Method: Payment for a cable car ride is cash-only, and exact change is required. As of 2021, the cost for a single ride on a cable car is $8.00 per person. Alternatively, you can purchase a MuniMobile app ticket, which allows for unlimited rides on cable cars, buses, and light rail trains for a specified time.
  3. San Francisco cable car

  4. Boarding and Exiting: When boarding a cable car, wait for the cable car to come to a complete stop, and then board from the rear of the car. You’ll need to hold on to the outside of the car or stand on the running boards. When you reach your destination, pull the cord to signal the operator that you want to exit. Be sure to exit from the front of the car.
  5. Wait Times: Wait times for cable cars can vary depending on the time of day and the season. During peak tourist season, the lines can be long, so it’s best to plan your itinerary accordingly. You can check estimated wait times using the MuniMobile app or by checking the signs at the cable car stops.
  6. Safety Tips: When riding a cable car, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and hold on tightly to the car’s exterior. Keep your arms and legs inside the car, and be aware of any protruding objects or low-hanging tree branches.

In conclusion, riding a San Francisco cable car is an iconic and unforgettable experience for any tourist. With a little planning and knowledge of the routes, payment methods, and safety tips, you can enjoy a smooth and exciting ride on one of San Francisco’s most beloved attractions.

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