Monday, July 4, 2011

US Summer 2011: Enjoying Cable Cars in San Francisco, California

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

When: June 30, 2011
Where:San Francisco, California

I just got here in San Francisco at 9:22 in the morning and it felt so good to be back. This is my sixth time and my second summer vacation here, the last summer visit being exactly nine (9) years ago. So on my first day, I just stayed home and got over jet lag!

That is a lie of course! I don't have a jetlag ( thanks to my coping strategy of getting some sleep on the plane when I know I will be arriving in the morning). Besides, it isn't me at all to waste a single day sleeping, knowing that this city, seated on a hilly peninsula overlooking the shores of ocean and bay, has plethora of sights and activities to see and do!

Topping my must-do list is to ride one of San Francisco's indelible icon - the world famous historic Cable Cars! Not that I haven't ridden one before, but just because I have no digital photos of my prior cable car experience which is one of the "2001 Things To Do Before You Die"!

San Francisco cable cars are the only vehicles of their kind ( a tramway whose cars are pulled along by cables embedded in the street) still in operation in the world today and the only transportation system listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was introduced to San Francisco on August 2, 1873 by wire - cable manufacturer Andrew Hallidie who conceived the idea after witnessing an accident involving a horse-drawn carriage faltered and rolled backward downhill dragging the horses behind it.


Cable cars operate on three routes - the Powell-Mason, Powell- Hyde and the California Street lines.

Both the Powell-Mason and Powell- Hyde lines begin at the Powell and Market streets cable car turntable.

The Powell-Mason line begins at the Powell/ Market turntable, and the line runs from there up and over Nob Hill and down to Bay Street at Fisherman's Wharf.

The Powell-Hyde line also begins at the Powell Market turntable and runs over Nob and Russian hills before ending at Aquatic Park near Ghiradelli Square. Both these lines end near Fisherman's Wharf, but at different areas, and the routes are significantly different.

The California Street line runs East-West from the Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue.

Fares: You can pay cash or purchase tickets or passes at turnarounds or from the conductor as you board. It cost $5.00 each way for all riders except for senior (ages 65+) & disabled $1.00 only from 9pm-7am.

There are different passes which allow riding not only on cable cars but also on streetcars and buses. One Day: $13.00./ Three Days: $20.00. / Seven Days: $26.00.

Monthly Passes allow unlimited riding for cable cars, streetcars and buses within San Francisco only: Adult (ages 18-64): $60.00 / Youth (ages 5-17) and Senior (ages 65+ and Disabled: $15.00 while children 4 and under can ride free.

My bestfriend Dearie has two monthly passes so I was able to ride all the three routes for free!

Schedules and Stops:

Cable cars run seven days a week with special schedules on weekends.

Riders can board at any cable car turntable (the beginning/end of each route) or anywhere this brown and white stop sign is posted. These signs contain information such as: the name of the cable car route, routes direction: to Downtown, Fisherman's Wharf, etc., the routes final destination: Powell & Market, Bay & Taylor, etc, hours of operation and telephone number if you have questions about the routes, times, etc.

Riders' Etiquette:

1. Wait on the sidewalk (not in the middle of the tracks!) and wave to alert the gripman to stop.

2.Do not board the car while it is moving, wait for it to come to a complete stop.

3. You can enter on either side of the car.

4.You can board as long as there are sufficient space inside and outside. You can "hang on" to the special poles provided on the outside of the car.

All Aboard!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pemnsylvania, and Indiana)

Four Countries In One Day

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  1. I was not able to try this! Hope I could when we head back to America soon. These cable cars make SanFran so picturesque!

  2. Looks like quite an experience, huh! I just wish I could go to the US! :-D

  3. yea Gay you and Luna will love cable cars and the different views along the three routes! You should really try this when you get back to US soon. Ding, I'm sure you would be able to see the US. good luck with the visa.


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