Buy a Cable Car Ticket in San Francisco

The San Francisco Cable Car system has been ferrying people across San Francisco's hills since 1873. It has even been designated a National Historic Landmark. When visiting San Francisco, consider taking a ride on any of the 3 lines: the California line, the Powell-Hyde line or the Powell-Mason line. There are a number of ways to ride the San Francisco's cable cars and many ways to buy your tickets. This article will tell you how to buy a cable car ticket in San Francisco depending upon the duration of your stay.


For 1 to 3 Days

  1. Buy a single ticket from a cable car conductor. Each single ride costs $7 (3.5 Euros, 3 pounds). Tickets can also be purchased at ticket booths near the cable car lines. Visit the booth at Hyde and Beach streets, near Fisherman's Wharf, or at Market and Powell streets, near Union Square. They are also available at San Francisco Visitor's Bureaus near the Westfield shopping center.
    • During the cable car ride, a conductor will go through the car with a blue ticket book. Those who do not show an already purchased ticket or pass will pay him the $5 fare. The conductors are able to make change for up to $20 bills.
  2. Buy a Passport Pass for a 1 or 3 day duration.
    • A San Francisco Passport Pass for 1 day costs $13 (9 Euros, 8 pounds) and a Passport Pass for 3 days costs $20 (14 Euros, 13.3 pounds). These passes afford you unlimited rides on cable cars for the duration and are also accepted on historic streetcars, buses and trolley buses. Conductors can issue a 1-day Passport Pass. Passports are not available online.

For a week

  1. Buy a 7-day passport pass from a San Francisco Municipal Transit Kiosk at Market and Powell streets or at Hyde and Beach streets. They cost $26 (18.4 Euros, 16 pounds) and include unlimited rides on cable cars, streetcars and buses.
    • 7-day Passport Passes are also available at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), in their Customer Service Center near the UN Plaza, or buy them after you get off the plane at an informational booth at the San Francisco Airport.
  2. Buy a CityPass online if you also plan to sight see and visit San Francisco's museums. The San Francisco CityPass includes a 7-day Passport Pass and includes entrances into the San Francisco MOMA, the deYoung Museum, the California Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Bay Aquarium. It also includes a bay cruise. The tickets cost between $60 and $130 (42 to 92 Euros, 37 to 80 pounds).

For a Month

  1. Buy a 1-month Pass for San Francisco transit. Passes are good for 1 calendar month.
    • San Francisco provides a number of different passes to its frequent travelers. You can buy an Adult "A" Fast Pass that is good for all transit, including BART within the city, for $70 (49 Euros, 43 pounds). You can buy an Adult "M" Fast Pass that is good for all transit, except BART, for $60 (42 Euros, 37 pounds). You can also buy discounted Senior and Youth passes.
    • These passes are available online, when loaded onto a Clipper Card. Visit the website to choose the pass you would like. Pay by credit card and the blue Clipper Card with the pass will be loaded onto your card and shipped to you.
    • Clipper Cards can also be purchased at local Walgreen's in San Francisco.


  • San Francisco's municipal transit system is also called "Muni."
  • Passports are not valid on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
  • On July 1, 2011 there will be a $1 rise in single-ride tickets and all Passports. Monthly passes will also rise.
  • Limited edition/souvenir cable car tickets are available at ticket kiosks near Fisherman's Wharf at the intersection of Beach and Hyde streets and near Union Square and near Market and Powell streets.

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