SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The clang of a bell Monday welcomed the return of San Francisco’s world famous Cable Car system — another sign that the city’s recovery from more than a year of COVID financial woes and shutdown was well underway.

Mayor London Breed was among those who gathered to mark the return.

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“I am so excited to announce that cable car service is starting back up today,” Breed said in a news release. “Our cable cars are part of what makes San Francisco a world-class destination, and their return is just the latest sign that our city is bouncing back.”

August will serve as a time for operators shake off the rust collected during the shutdown which began in March 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

Rides will be free for the entire month, schedules will be irregular and officials were encouraging feedback from riders. In September, regularly scheduled fare will once again be collected.

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During the COVID shutdown, Muni resources were shifted to a core network to serve essential workers and accommodate physical distancing on San Francisco’s most utilized lines.

As a result, the cable car system shutdown was the longest since the full system reconstruction in the 1980s.

“Our cable cars are a symbol of San Francisco and central to the city’s economic recovery,” said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “It’s a treat to work with the public during our mock service as we gear up to officially welcome back cable cars this fall.”

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By early September, all three cable car lines will resume revenue service: the Powell-Hyde, the Powell-Mason and the California lines. Service is planned to run from 7:00 a.m. until about 10:00 p.m., though cars returning to the cable car barn after 10:00 p.m. will continue to take riders to Chinatown.