San Francisco’s cable cars are symbolic of the charm and distinct flavor of the city. In no other place can you ride a moving national historic monument.
Fisherman’s Wharf is served by two cable car lines: the Powell-Hyde line on Hyde and Beach Streets (Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square), and the Powell-Mason line on Taylor and Bay Streets (middle of Fisherman's Wharf area, a few blocks from Pier 45 at Taylor and Bay Street).
Both lines run between Fisherman's Wharf and Powell and Market Streets in Union Square. You can view a detailed route map of the Powell-Hyde cable car line here; the Powell-Mason cable car route map can be viewed here.
Cable Car Fares:
- Adult and youth, ages 5 to 17: $6 each ride, a single ride on a single cable car vehicle.
- Senior, ages 65 or older; disabled; Medicare card holder: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.: $6 each ride. Before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.: $3 each ride, cash or ticket only. Valid ID required.
- No transfers/fare receipts are accepted.
- Fare receipts are issued; one-ride-only receipts are not valid as transfers.
An All-Day Passport is sold for $14 by the conductors on the cable cars. This passport is equivalent to a 1-Day Passport only on the day sold. You may want to purchase this if you will be riding more than one cable car vehicle, e.g., transferring between a Powell line and the California Line, as well as riding other Muni vehicles.
Clipper cards containing Muni monthly passes or cash value are accepted. Show card to Cable Car conductor.
The conductors can make change for up to $20.
Single ride cable car tickets are available at ticket booths located at Powell and Market or Hyde and Beach.
History of the Cable Car
The inventor of the cable car was Andrew Hallidie, a Scottish engineer and wire rope manufacturer. Hallidie's inspiration came after observing a team of four horses struggling to haul a public conveyance up a steep San Francisco hill. The cobblestone street was slick from the fog, and when one horse slipped, the car rolled backwards, dragging all four horses with it. Hallidie then designed a cable railway system, and at 5:00 a.m. on August 2, 1873, Hallidie guided the first cable car down Clay Street.
Today, San Francisco has 38 cable cars in its fleet. For more information on cable car history, you can visit the Cable Car Museum, located at 1201 Mason Street at Washington Street (on the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines).