Mayor London Breed And The Sfmta Announce Updated Timeline For The Return Of Cable Cars
The SFMTA will run mock service starting in August and will solicit the public’s help and feedback ahead of the return to revenue service
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today announced that cable cars will once again be resuming service in San Francisco as downtown economic activity returns. SFMTA staff will begin mechanical inspections of the cable cars in mid-July, and by the first week of August, will invite the public onboard free of charge to help provide feedback on customer experience ahead of a fall restart of revenue service.
“San Francisco just isn’t San Francisco without the cable cars running, and this is just the latest sign that City is recovering and bouncing back,” said Mayor Breed. “Today, San Francisco is reopening, which is a testament to all of the sacrifices that our residents and businesses have made over the past year and the fact that we have the highest vaccination rate of any major city in the country. People are ready to once again visit San Francisco and experience everything we have to offer, and we know that riding the cable cars is always high on the list of things that people want to do. I want to thank the SFMTA for all of their work during the pandemic to keep our transit system running under the most challenging of circumstances 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, residents, visitors, and tourists will once again be able to experience the cable cars and hear the iconic bells chiming from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, and all of the iconic backdrops in between.
Leading up to the return, the SFMTA will continue recertifying operators, hiring line inspectors, and preparing infrastructure to accommodate service. In August, members of the public will be able to board the lines when cable car conductors are making stops and ride during this period before fare service resumes. This mock service will run at similar levels to regular service and riders will not need to pay as the SFMTA works out the kinks in the system.
By early September, cable cars will resume revenue service, first to the Powell-Hyde line, and with the Powell-Mason and California lines following shortly thereafter. Service is planned to run from 7 a.m. until about 10 p.m., though cars returning to the cable car barn after 10 p.m. will continue to take riders to Chinatown.
“Our cable cars are a symbol of San Francisco and central to the city’s economic recovery,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “We’re grateful for the public’s help in service testing and operator training as we work to bring transit back better than before.”
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