Friday, April 4, 2008
The Only Moving National Historic Landmark
This week, I actually managed to do something I hadn't done before -- I rode a cable car! It's funny... I've lived in the SF Bay Area for most of my life, but that was one thing I just hadn't gotten the chance to do yet until now.
My work sent me to the city for a few days to attend a conference, and I knew I did not want to drive in, so public transportation was the alternative option. After taking our subway/metro system, I caught the California/Van Ness cable car line to the hotel.
I didn't realize that it took 2 people to operate it, with each car propelled by a continuously moving cable running at a constant speed underneath. Each car can be stopped and started by releasing and gripping the cable. One of the drivers mentioned that they had to change the cables every 100 days. You can read more about cable cars and a bit of their history here.
It was a fun commute over these last three days - but a ride on a cable car is way expensive -- $5 one way! That's a high price to pay for something that's kind of old, and goes pretty slow over a relatively short route. I mean, riding the MUNI metro is only $1.50. So the cable cars are more for the tourists than for most regular commuters. I would have tried to walk on other days, but the streets are really steep and the MUNI couldn't take me directly to the conference site the way the cable car could (yeah I know I'm SO lazy). Anyway, it was a fun experience nonetheless.