Phil Matier: Opposition Mounting To Price Hike For San Francisco’s Historic Streetcars
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A proposal by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to triple the cost to $6 to ride the city’s historic streetcars is being meet with opposition from a volunteer group that helps preserve the line cars along commuters, merchants and tourism officials.
While the proposal has natives and visitors peeved, it’s a potential gold mine for cash-strapped Muni. After all, the agency is trying balance its budget, pay for maintenance costs and meet the demands by the Board Of Supervisors that they give away free rides to kids—the money has got to come from somewhere.
So now they’ve turned to F-Market line which began out as a practical commuting option but has now turned into one of the hottest tourist attractions in the city.
The F-Market line’s route that runs from the Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf serves an area that wasn’t before but the route parallels the Muni Metro that travel underground along Market Street—that may seem redundant.
Those tracks on the streets, however, have been there a long time—even before the Metro.
After the Embarcadero Freeway was torn down and they put the line in, Muni collected historical streetcars from all over the world and restored them. It started out as adjunct but it became more popular with downtown commuters from the Castro District.
But it was even a bigger hit with tourists. Just take a look at any streetcar along the Embarcadero and you can see them packed in there like sardines traveling from Fisherman’s Wharf to the hotels on Market Street and then further up to the Castro.