Cable car and vintage streetcar services to be restored in San Francisco

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Cable Car 3 Testing on Powell Hyde Line with New Camera System | April 28, 2020
SFMTA

SFMTA announced yesterday that service will be restored to the cable car and streetcar lines over the next couple of years, with two lines back in service in 2021.

One year ago, San Francisco suspended cable car service and F Line vintage streetcar service due to the spread of Covid-19. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) cable car and streetcar serve as both historic attractions and forms of urban transportation that are collectively under ten miles in length. There are three cable car lines in the system—the Powell/Mason line, Powell/Hyde, and California. The F Market & Wharves vintage streetcar line will also return to service.

Here are route maps of each one line, and a press release from SFMTA about the return to service follows the maps.

The California Line (courtesy of SFMTA)

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The Powell-Mason and Powell Hyde Lines (courtesy of SFMTA)

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F Market & Wharves Line (courtesy of SFMTA)

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SFMTA press release on the return of cable cars and vintage streetcars:

“Unbeatable views. Unforgettable trips. No experience is more uniquely San Francisco than a ride on a cable car. Cable cars have come to symbolize our great city.

“Last March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily halted cable car service as part of the city’s emergency response. This decision was made to best protect our operators and the public. Muni resources were then shifted to a core network to serve our essential workers and accommodate physical distancing on our most utilized lines and to retain access for transit dependent neighborhoods.  

“We’re excited to announce that we have a timeline to phase in cable car service, as well as bring back service on our historic F Line fleet. Thanks to the acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccine and a more optimistic outlook for federal funding for public transit, we can craft a path forward. Our plan is to resume F Line service this May, seven days a week. Cable car service will return on the Powell-Hyde line, between Market Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, first this fall — ahead of the holiday season. The cable cars run through the heart of the city and will play a fundamental role in helping the city’s economy recover. What we know is tourism is the main driver of city business, and cable cars are a huge draw to San Francisco. 

“In the meantime, we have a lot of work ahead of us before service returns: retraining operators, hiring line inspectors, and preparing our infrastructure to accommodate daily ridership again.   

“We are committed to restarting cable car service and are well aware of the tremendous value they have for San Francisco’s history and economy. Please subscribe to our text or e-mail updates for more information on their triumphant return to San Francisco’s hilly streets and most iconic backdrops.” 

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