Mayor London Breed and SFMTA Welcome Cable Cars Back to San Francisco


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Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today welcomed back cable car service to San Francisco streets. Following the successful completion of operator training and mechanical inspections, the public is invited onboard to provide feedback on vehicle headways and customer experience during the month of August. Cable car revenue service will resume in September.

“I am so excited to announce that cable car service is starting back up today,” said Mayor Breed. “Our cable cars are part of what makes San Francisco a world-class destination, and their return is just the latest sign that our city is bouncing back. I want to thank everyone at the SFMTA for their work during the pandemic to keep our transit system running and for everything they’ve done to bring back service in the City.”

Last March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SFMTA temporarily halted cable car service as part of the City’s emergency response. This decision was made to best protect operators and the public. Muni resources were then shifted to a core network to serve essential workers and accommodate physical distancing on San Francisco’s most utilized lines. The result was the longest cable car shutdown in the system since the full system reconstruction in the 1980s, requiring significant work to reboot the system and bring it back better. Now, as the City shifts its focus to supporting economic recovery, locals, regional visitors, and tourists will see the triumphant homecoming of the cable cars and hear the iconic bells chiming from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf—and all of the backdrops in between.

Starting today, SFMTA will ask the public to help the agency roll out a soft launch of the system by riding the lines when cable car conductors are making stops and inviting passengers aboard for the duration of “mock service.” This mock service will be irregular, not following a particular schedule as the SFMTA works out the official rollout of the system. The SFMTA will not be collecting fares for cable car rides during the month of August in exchange for the public’s help riding the system.

“Our cable cars are a symbol of San Francisco and central to the city’s economic recovery,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “It’s a treat to work with the public during our mock service as we gear up to officially welcome back cable cars this fall.”

By early September, all three cable cars will resume revenue service: the Powell-Hyde, the Powell-Mason and the California lines. Service is planned to run from 7:00 a.m. until about 10:00 p.m., though cars returning to the cable car barn after 10:00 p.m. will continue to take riders to Chinatown.

Anyone interested in cable car service updates is encouraged to subscribe to text or e-mail updates for more information.


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