"How to catch a ride on a cable car" Cable Cars Tip by goingsolo

Cable Cars, San Francisco: 120 reviews and 143 photos

  San Francisco
by goingsolo

Riding a cable car is one of the things to do while in SF. Because of this, nearly every tourist does so, or attempts to do so. The result is extremely long lines at cable car turnarounds where people wait as much as an hour for a ride & clusters of tourists assembling a cable car stop ready to resort to aggressive measures to board. Often they are pushed back by the crowd on the car with claims that there is no room for additional passengers. Its quite a frenzied sight which, fortunately, doesn't often result in violence.

All kidding aside, riding a cable car is probably something you'll want to do while visiting. You can wait an hour to board the slow moving car & then take about another hour to reach your destination. Cable cars move at a speed of about 9 miles per hour, when they are not stopping. Not an efficient form of transportation by any means.

If your goal is simply to ride a cable car, here are a few suggestions. One is to walk several blocks away from the cable car turnaround, cross the street, & ride the car a few blocks back to the turnaround. The obvious drawback to this is that you don't really get anywhere, but, then again, if you're riding the cable car, efficient forward progress is clearly not your goal. There are buses for people who actually want to get from one destination to another. The advantage of this strategy is that you'll probably get to ride for free. I did.

Another way to catch a ride is to follow a car as it proceeds up and down the street in the hopes that passengers will exit & you can just hop on. This one take quite a bit of energy as the cable cars are hard to keep up with when you're on foot. But, since they stop a great deal, you can probably maintain pace with them if you hustle. This method wasn't particularly successful, but, then again, I didn't employ it enough times to make an accurate determination. The advantage of this strategy is that you can follow the cable car back to your destination & not get lost in the Tenderloin District. Its quite a workout too.

Address: 1201 Mason St. at Washington
Directions: There are 4 cable car lines (Hyde, California, Mason and Powell).
Phone: 311
Website: http://www.sfcablecar.com

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 7, 2005
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