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Old 07-08-2012, 11:50 PM   #1
ruadisneyfan2
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Where are the "real" cable cars?

I've been looking at what seems like 100 tour companies offering cable car tours of SF. Many of them are motorized. Does only the city offer cable car transportation along the designated routes? We'd still like to do a tour, but I'm thinking the hop on, hop off type isn't the genuine cable cars we see in pictures with people standing on the edges & the driver pulling on the brake lever.
Where do we find that?
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:47 AM   #2
tiffjoy
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Here you go.

http://www.sfcablecar.com/

Just know that you will probably wait a long time to ride the cars that start in Ghiradelli Square. The best thing to do is board a little bit down at one if the later stops.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:23 AM   #3
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There are no tours on the real cable cars. You just get on and ride, like a bus. It's just another form of transportation.

You can get on in Union Square, at the Wharf, or at any stop along the way, assuming there is space. The line that runs along California Street is a nice semi-hilly one. No good views of the Bay, but much less crowded!

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Old 07-09-2012, 05:29 AM   #4
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Thanks! That's what I was thinking. So this is SF's public transportation. Are these the same cars that it's either $5 per ride or $13 for a daily passport? How do we buy one if we hop on it on a corner?
We don't mind walking a bit to catch one less crowded. Our hotel is near the airport but offers free rides to pier 39. Where should we go from there to catch one less crowded? Is there such a thing?

We'll be there on a Saturday, if that makes a difference.

Sorry, I feel so clueless.

ETA: ok, I found a map. Is there a way to buy a 1 day passport online?
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2 View Post
Thanks! That's what I was thinking. So this is SF's public transportation. Are these the same cars that it's either $5 per ride or $13 for a daily passport? How do we buy one if we hop on it on a corner?
We don't mind walking a bit to catch one less crowded. Our hotel is near the airport but offers free rides to pier 39. Where should we go from there to catch one less crowded? Is there such a thing?
Yep, it's one of the original forms of public transit in SF. I believe that if you hop on, the conductors can only sell you a single ride fare for $5. If you want to buy the daily passport, you have to go to one of the sales or vending locations. BTW, the one day pass is now $14 (or 3/7 days for $21/$27), according to this page:

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passports.htm

There's a link on that page to the "Where to Buy" page, here:

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfares/passvend.htm

Basically, the ends of the cable car lines have vending machines, and you can buy them there. (I'm not sure about for the California line, but I've definitely seen them on both ends of the Powell-Hyde line).

And no, there's no such thing as "not crowded". It's kinda like Disneyland. While you can sometimes hop on in the middle of the line, it's a hit-or-miss affair. To be sure to get on, you'll want to enter on one end or the other. And at all cable car terminus points, there are generally lines. I've seen people line up for 30 minutes or more to get onto the cable car. Especially on Saturdays (sorry). Think of it like you're waiting for TSMM or something No great queue features, but at the Aquatic Park end you get great views of the Bay, the GG Bridge, and Alcatraz.

HTH,
Bob

ETA - It appears I may be wrong. According to the first link I sent, it says "All day passport - these are only sold on cable cars." So it appears that you may be able to buy the pass on the cable car after all. Sorry, it's been many years since I lived in SF.
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Old 07-09-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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The Powell-Mason line turnaround down by the watrfront is the closest to Pier 39.It usually is less crowded then the Powell- Hyde.The tradeoff is the view is better on the PH line especially coming from downtown. The turnaround downtown is the same for both.
We had a shorter wait downtown because we were ok with the PM line (itwas closer to our hotel)
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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Thanks!!!

When we reach the turnaround, do we have to get off or can we stay on and ride it back to where we got on?

My friend was there a few years ago and said when they were there, SF had a free transportation day. Does that ever happen?
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:00 PM   #8
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You have to get off at the turnarounds. Not sure about the free day - I can't recall one in recent memory.

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Old 07-10-2012, 02:56 PM   #9
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Free transportation is on spare the air days if we have not run out already. They allot so many free transit days per year, and we usually use them all up pretty early. We have been having STA days and no free transit, so I assume they are all done for the year.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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Also understand, that if you are not using a 1,3,or 7 day Muni pass, the fare is $6 per ride. So if you take the California line to Nob Hill and want to change to one of the FW cars, or head towards Union Square, the total fare will be $12/person, and $12 back.

The Muni Pass/Passport allows you to ride not only the cable cars, but also the F-line trolley, Muni buses, and Muni subway....not BART though.

Last edited by Zerosinthecloset; 07-10-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerosinthecloset View Post
Also understand, that if you are not using a 1,3,or 7 day Muni pass, the fare is $6 per ride. So if you take the California line to Nob Hill and want to change to one of the FW cars, or head towards Union Square, the total fare will be $12/person, and $12 back.

The Muni Pass/Passport allows you to ride not only the cable cars, but also the F-line trolley, Muni buses, and Muni subway....not BART though.
The F-line trolley is great.We used it to/from Fishermans Wharf area to downtown when we didn't take the cable car.It was a better choice if you are going to/from the Ferry Building.
The trolley cars are refurb. from other cities.
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