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Thu Feb 18, 2021, 02:03 PM

San Franscisco: Bringing back cable cars would be a 'heavy lift'

Bringing back cable cars would be a ‘heavy lift’

SFMTA officials respond to pressure to bring back iconic vintage transit vehicles

CARLY GRAF / Feb. 18, 2021 1:30 a.m. / NEWS / NEWSLETTER / THE CITY

Conceiving of a San Francisco without cable cars is like imagining New York City without Broadway, Los Angeles without Hollywood or Chicago without the Cubs.

The 150-year-old transit vehicles don’t simply serve to line The City’s pockets with fares from tourists willing to pay steep prices for a unique experience.

Rather, these relics of a time past are integral to the very fabric of San Francisco and the popular lore it embraces about itself as a richly historic destination filled with promise and opportunity.

Suspended in March 2020 as part of systemwide Muni cuts, the historic cable cars might be some of the hardest lines on The City’s public transportation network to bring back as San Francisco emerges from the pandemic.

“I can tell you that it will be a very big lift,” Julie Kirschbaum, director of transit for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, told the SFTMA board on Tuesday.

Kirshbaum’s comments came in response to members of both the public and the board, chief among them Board member Steve Heminger, calling for the swift and prioritized return of the vintage transit vehicles.

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