Friday, November 06, 2009

The art of riding the cable car

So you are in San Francisco and want to go for a ride on the cable car, but you take one look at the lines at the terminus and decide you don't want to wait around that along. What to do?

The secret is knowing that most of the people who get on here will take a seat and others behind them in the line will pass on a spot on the foot board and wait for the next cable car.

If you think you can hang on, and dont mind hanging out the side, then the answer is to walk to the next stop and jump on the foot board of the next car. While I expect it is different in the middle of vacation time there are usually spots on the foot board available.

But if you do wan t a seat people do get on and off along the route so if you are waiting at an intermediate stop you are likely to find a seat. The conductor will usually shout what's available when the car comes to a stop.

Either way riding the cable cars are fun.

This advice mostly applies to the Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason lines. When I was in San Francisco the California line was much more lightly loaded, and in a way I found it a more interesting ride.

As for fares, a one way trip on the cable car is $5. However you can buy a muni pass. These are available for 1 day, 3 day, and 7 day periods from Muni ticket booths. Prices range from $6 to $21, and allow travel on any muni operated service, be it muni metro, buses, the F Line and of course the cable car. Interestingly they use a scratch off system like the infamous Met "scratchie" tickets in Melbourne.

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