IMPORTANT NOTICE: SAN FRANCISCO’S HISTORIC STREETCARS AND CABLE CARS ARE OFF THE STREETS FOR THE DURATION OF CALIFORNIA’S SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDER DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.
The F-Market & Wharves historic streetcar line and the city’s three cable car lines are owned and operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), a service of SFMTA. Market Street Railway provides this information for your convenience only. The latest official route and fare information can be found on Muni’s website.
F-line, E-line and Cable Car Route Map
Click on the map thumbnail at left to view Market Street Railway’s map of San Francisco’s historic rail lines, the F-Market & Wharves and E-Embarcadero streetcar lines and the world-famous cable car lines: the Powell-Hyde line, the Powell-Mason line, and the California Street line. (Note: the map is currently being updated to reflect regular service now in effect on the E-line)
Also included is Muni’s 39-Coit Tower motor coach line, which connects with the F-line (transfers accepted) and runs between Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf and Coit Tower at the top of Telegraph Hill.
E-Embarcadero and F-Market & Wharves Historic Streetcar Lines
The F-line runs along Market Street, San Francisco’s main street, from the Castro District past Civic Center, and through the shopping and financial districts to the famous Ferry Building, where it turns north along The Embarcadero and runs to the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. The F-line runs 365 days a year from before 6:00 a.m. until after 1 a.m. Streetcars are scheduled to run as frequently as every six minutes during daylight hours and 10-15 minutes early morning and late evening.
The E-line shares the F-line tracks and stops between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building, then continues south on The Embarcadero to the Giants’ ballpark and the Caltrain Peninsula trains at Fourth and King Streets. The E-line runs daily from 10 a.m until 6 p.m.
Please have your exact cash fare or valid ticket/pass/transfer ready before boarding. (Muni streetcar and bus operators carry no change.) Deposit cash fares into the farebox near the boarding door. Show transfers and passes to the operator. Transfers are issued only when boarding, good for 90 minutes. Transfers may not be used on cable cars, but may be used on Muni Metro and bus lines.
Adult streetcar fare
Youth/Disabled/Senior streetcar fare (ages 5-18 and 65+, valid ID required)
Children under 5 years of age ride free
About 20 different streetcars from Muni’s vintage fleet operate each day. The specific streetcars on the street at a given time varies according to maintenance requirements and weather. You can see which exact cars are on the E- and F-lines right now on this map. In general, the PCC streetcars run at all hours of service; the Milan trams until around 9 p.m., and the oldest, one-of-a-kind streetcars on special occasions only (although our non-profit is working to change that.
Cable Car lines
The cable car lines operate 365 days a year from 6:30 a.m. until just after midnight. Cable cars are scheduled to operate every 6-15 minutes, depending on the time of day.
Cable car tickets and one-day Cable Car Passes are sold on board cable cars by the conductors. Conductors can make change for up to $20. No transfers are accepted or issued on cable cars.
Basic cable car fare for all riders
$7.00 each way (After 9 pm and before 7 am, disabled and 65+ can ride for $3.00)
Children under 5 ride free
If you plan to make an intermediate stop, or ride round-trip, the one-day Cable Car Pass is a good choice in comparison to a single-ride fare. However, a Muni Passport may be a better deal than the one-day Cable Car Pass if you also plan to ride other Muni vehicles, such as the F-line historic streetcars, bus and Muni Metro lines.
Single and Multi-day Passes
Muni offers a choice of passports good for unlimited rides on cable cars, historic streetcars, and all other Muni services (including the Muni Metro subway under Market Street and all bus lines except for special event service). One-day passes may be purchased on board cable cars (but not streetcars). Current prices: 1-Day, $21; 3-day, $32; 7-day, $42. These may not be your best value unless you are planning multiple cable car rides during the given period.
You can purchase these passes at our San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street, between Market and Mission (at the F-line Steuart Street stop), Tuesday-Sunday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For more sales locations and additional information on Muni passes, go to Muni sales information and locations on the website of Muni’s parent, SFMTA.
Muni Information: (415) 701-2311
CityPass offers the same benefits as a 7-day Muni passport, plus admission tickets to several major San Francisco attractions including the Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), California Academy of Science and deYoung Museum.
We have compiled all the best rider tips and information about San Francisco’s historic streetcars and cable cars in our pocket-sized book, ON TRACK, available at our San Francisco Railway Museum or here in our online store.
In summary, the best advice we can give visitors wishing to ride the cable cars or streetcars is this: timing is everything.
The earlier in the morning you can get to the cable car terminals, the faster you’ll get aboard. If you’re staying in the Union Square or general downtown area, try to get to Powell and Market Streets no later than 8:30 a.m. for a ride to the Wharf. When you arrive at the Wharf, stop for a cup of coffee or a quiet walk along the water if the attractions you want to visit aren’t open yet. Same concept in reverse if you’re staying near the Wharf.
During peak periods, including most summer days between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., you can often wait an hour or longer in line at the turntables for a ride on the Powell Street lines. And while there is a cable car stop at virtually every corner along the route, during peak periods, the Powell lines are usually filled to capacity or very close to it as they leave the terminal, which means they are forced to pass up riders waiting at stops along the way.
Another alternative, especially for those without kids in tow, is riding after 8 or 9 p.m. Lines are often non-existent at this hour and you can get right on board.
One more cable car alternative: if the passenger queues at the Powell terminals are hopelessly long, and you don’t care about the cable car’s destination, take an F-line streetcar to the Drumm Street stop. (Ask the operator for the stop for the California Street cable car.) The cable car terminal is right there, and there are hardly ever crowds. You won’t go around curves on the California line, but you’ll get a nice ride without a long wait.
Remember, the cable car lines do not issue or accept transfers, so if you get off a cable car along the route, you will have to pay a second fare to continue your journey. (By contrast, the F-line vintage streetcars, besides having a much lower fare, issue and accept transfers, so you can hop on and off anywhere during the 90-minute validity period of the transfer. In particular, we invite you to take a break at the halfway point of the F-line and visit our free San Francisco Railway Museum at the Steuart Street stop, across The Embarcadero from the Ferry Building.)
The F-line streetcars rarely have long lines at the terminals. However, because the F-line is used by thousands of residents and workers as well as visitors, hopping on and off all along the six-mile route, the vintage streetcars can get crowded at any hour of the day or night at certain points along the line, especially near Pier 39 headed toward downtown, and near the Ferry Building.
To get the most enjoyment out of your F-line streetcar ride, especially in June, July, and August, pick one of the least crowded times to ride, generally right after morning rush hour (8:30 to 9:30 a.m.), mid afternoons (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.), or early evenings (7 p.m to 9 p.m.). The E-Embarcadero is rarely crowded, except around game time at the Giants’ ballpark, and you get a very pleasant ride the length of the waterfront.
One more tip: since both the Powell cable lines and the F-line link the Union Square area to Fisherman’s Wharf, take the cable car in one direction and the F-line in the other. You’ll see more of the city, avoid another wait at the turntable, and (if you’re paying cash fares) save a few bucks, too.
Oh, and though it pains us to say it, San Francisco, like any big city, has pickpockets. If you’re on a crowded streetcar or cable car, keep a close watch on your valuables.
Lost & Found
Leave something behind? If you think you left something on a Muni vehicle, call Muni Lost & Found by calling (415) 701-2311. Market Street Railway does not operate the cable cars or streetcars and cannot offer assistance with lost items.